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Does Creativity Breed Entitlement?

When Lynn joined the administrative staff of a major symphony orchestra, she knew the job came with a terrific perk—free tickets to concerts by some of the world’s most talented musicians.

But there was a catch. Lynn soon realized she would be putting up with a lot from these performers. Take, for instance, the vocalist who—if his music stand was wobbly or someone nearby was wearing too much perfume—would throw tantrums so violent that a security guard sat in on rehearsals.

“There were times I would go to a concert, look at the personalities on stage, and think, ‘You’re a jerk. You never turn your paperwork in on time. You got in my face and yelled at me last week,’” says Lynn, who asked to use only her middle name.

Worse, Lynn says, such behavior towards her and every other non-performing employee—stagehands, electricians, ushers—was not only tolerated but accepted because of the performers’ talent.

If you said, ‘I don’t think this is right,’ or even just ‘Wow, I can’t believe that happened,’ you would hear, ‘Well, that’s who they are, and we have to put up with it,’” she says. “You started believing it yourself, too.”

Stories like this may seem to demonstrate the “typical” artist temperament. But according to new research from Maryam Kouchaki of the Kellogg School and Lynne Vincent of Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, acting entitled at work is not simply the result of having a creative identity.

Read more: Does Creativity Breed Entitlement? – Companies that put creative employees on a pedestal encourage bad behavior.

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