Behind The Boasting Conversation


Dr. Kavita R. Shanmughan
Ex. Lecturer
Saintgits Institute of Management

Is all boasting wrong? No. It depends on what you are boasting in. All of us need to have something we boast in; it makes us confident. Your thirst drives you to find something in which you can boast. But, people are different. We boast in different ways. For some boasting is loud and overt. For others, boasting is inside to ourselves and very quiet. Some boast with words. Others boast without words, only feelings inside. Even so, all of us still do boasting.  It's a human tendency to boast ourselves in front of others and it is more when one feels superior to others.  The question then arises to what extent boasting is beneficial. Lets us examine boasting through a situational study.  In the particular scenario there are three members from an emerging consulting firm who had fixed up an appointment with Dr. Hariharan, the HOD of department of psychology in Maharaja University. 

Mr. Rajendran, the head of the software division, was a man who was highly ambitious, very much business oriented, result oriented, talented, future oriented, and humorous enough to make the conversation lively, headed towards the Dept of Psychology  with two of his associates Dr. Snehal and Mr. Ramchandran.  Dr. Snehal is a psychologist and thinks that she is tough enough to accept others views easily but would make a point that her presence is being felt and Mr. Ramachandran was a person who with his lively nature makes other people laugh.  All the three went to meet the Prof and the Head of Dept of Psychology, Dr. Hariharan to get an idea about the students who can be used up in their project dealing with the preparation of vedic psychometric tools.  Mr. Rajendran for the business purpose is looking out for a psychologist who can help preparing the psychometric tool which is related to vedic concepts. He had a very limited knowledge about the psychometric assessments and hence was trying to explore as much as possible through talks with the experts in the field.  All the three were welcome by the HOD and Mr. Rajendran started with his introduction and thereby introducing his associates.  The talk started with general topic. None of us was very clear about how to carry out the conversation based on the purpose of the meeting.  Mr. Hariharan started saying that he was quite interested in the area of tool development and he started telling about why psychometric tool was not that popular in India.  He says that there are many psychologists who with the limited knowledge prepare the tool in such a manner that it is not in the useable form at the end.  While preparing the tool they just forget about the basic concept of tool development that is about the reliability and validity of the tool. Mr. Rajendran was very happy indeed to know about the subject and very frankly admitted to the Prof that he is little weak on this particular area.  Prof. got a chance to describe his knowledge on the subject to the person sitting in front of him.  It is believed that once the lecturer starts the classes then one has to remind them to stop or it just goes on.  He shows in developing atleast three valid tool in his career in the name of the University.  He then starts relating the tools development with the vedas.  Further he talks about the importance of rich Indian philosophy when compared to the western philosophy.  Dr. Snehal did not understand why Prof. has different attitude towards the two associates.  He kept on saying that may be these two people can't understand what I am saying.   Dr. Snehal silently was listening to the conversation going on and at the same time was thinking of what she has learnt in her PG.  Professor continued his influence through his talks in the subject knowledge.  He believes that India has great scope of developing tools based on our philosophy and that can indeed be the business turnaround.  For nearly around half an hour it was like a monologue and shifting from one area to the other.  Rajendran was happy that he didn't had to manage the conversation to be carried on. And  managed to tell that Snehal has doctorate in psychology.  Dr. Snehal really found a change in the attitude of the Prof. but his ego was so high that he kept on saying things but avoiding the eye sight from snehal.  Ultimately Rajendran came to the point of business and talked about the purpose, the talk was fruitful and they all dispersed.

After coming back to the office Snehal was thinking about the conversation.  She was thinking what made her disturbed in the conversation.  She revert the conversation again and again in the mind and found that she was trying to find ego in the Prof but what about her.  Is it not ego in her that disturbed her and swayed her from the conversation?  Through this conversion she realized that she too is egoistic.  She found that whatever Prof talked was about the subject and he has shown his expertise in the area.  There is nothing wrong until it gives meaning to the people at other hand.  But to what extent Prof should have highlighted his knowledge?  Can we say that Prof was boasting? Yes, may be because he got the chance to exhibit his ideas. Or some other reasons.  Snehal comes out with her own interpretations where she attempts to relate boasting to the management concepts:

Thinking in the broader perspective:

One of the benefit of boasting is enhanced level of thinking.  Boasting requires matters to boast and hence a broader perspective of thinking.  Thinking can be logical or irrational to the situation.  In the particular case everything was logical and no much pressure has to be exerted on the brains on any of the character as they were experts in their own field.  The only thinking was how to go on adding up so that the ideas are has tremendous impact on the minds of others.

Confirming to the beliefs:

Belief is a hypothesis concerning the nature of objects, more particularly concerning one's judgment of the probability regarding their nature.  In the sense, it is the cognitive aspect of attitude reflecting the manner in which the object is perceived.  As per the case is concerned it can be seen that Prof. felt that he is superior to the consulting firm employees and hence was explaining things in-depth may be more than required because there was never a point being mentioned by him about how the purpose will be met by the students of that institute.  It was more of explaining the concepts as if patting oneself for being the expertise.

Self concept:

Self concept is the way individual define themselves as to who they are and derive their sense of identity and self esteem denotes the extent to which they consistently regard themselves as a capable, successful, important and worthy individuals.  Boasting sometimes reflect self concept that is defining of oneself which can be very well seen in the conversation of Mr. Rajendran and the Prof.  It is not always necessary that boasting is done through words some does it with their expression which can in seen in the character of Dr. Snehal.

Motivation for others:

Very contradicting concept as motivation through boasting can be harmful as well as beneficial.  It is seen that when one starts boasting the other resigns and some joins the conversation.  If one joins it happens that there is a brainstorming of the ideas and eventually can come out with new ideas.  Not all inventions come from silent research especially true in the case of marketing management.


One can influence others through one's viewpoint and if they see the other hand influenced they go ahead with boasting.  Indeed one can create one's own personality through boasting.  It may be either good or bad.

In short, what Dr. Snehal has to point out is boasting is something that mostly people use up in daily life.  There is nothing wrong in it if it is not annoying for others.  It can also be seen in some organization.  During selection candidates just boast about them but when it comes to performance it comes down.  Such people go on boasting about the things that mesmerizes others to the point that they are recruited for the work they are boasting for. To a great extent this factor is detected in interview but still then there are certain situations left where detection becomes difficult and later on landing to the problem of hiring the wrong person. Thus, one should not boast about what they can't and what they don't know but boast what they can and know about.


1. How can management thought be linked with the beneficiaries of boasting?

2. Explain how often people miss to see their strengths and go searching for it outside? 

3. Explain the essence of the particular case and its scope on research?

Dr. Kavita R. Shanmughan
Ex. Lecturer
Saintgits Institute of Management

Source: E-mail December 4, 2006


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