Are you a maximizer or satisficer?


Think back to your last job search. Did you apply for dozens of jobs in search of the ideal position? Or did you send out a few applications and accept the first offer you received?

If you relate to the former, you’re a “maximizer,” according to research by Columbia Business School professor Sheena Iyengar. You take your time making decisions in hopes of homing in on the very best option. If you recognize yourself in the latter, you’re a “satisficer.” You end your search after finding a result that meets your basic requirements.

Iyengar’s research on a group of job-hunting seniors at 11 U.S. colleges and universities found that maximizers received more offers and had higher starting salaries. They were less satisfied with their jobs, however, and more likely to seek another job within a year.

So who’s better off, maximizers or satisficers?

“That brings up an ethical question,” Iyengar said in the “Columbia Ideas at Work.”

“What should we seek to maximize — people’s material welfare or their psychological welfare?”

Related Links:

1. Ideas at Work : “Doing Better But Feeling Worse: Looking for the ‘Best’ Job Undermines Satisfaction”

2. Ideas at Work : “Positive Illusions of Preference Consistency: When Remaining Eluded by One’s Preferences Yields Greater Subjective Well-Being and Decision Outcomes”

3. Quiz – Find out: Are You a Maximizer or a Satisficer?

4. Why More Options Make us Less Happy

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