Hedonic treadmills and client or employee satisfaction

Daniel Kahneman, a Princeton professor of psychology and Nobel Laureate, makes the point that reported levels of happiness do not rise with increases in income. Instead, like people on a treadmill who walk faster but go nowhere, having more money does not boost satisfaction.

Analogously, as law departments perform better, client satisfaction scores may not increase. On the hedonic treadmill of client perceptions and evaluations, which may move faster, satisfaction – now at a higher level – may stay in the same place as far as scores go.

To the same effect, all efforts to improve the working lives of in-house counsel may get soaked up, absorbed, without showing correspondingly higher scores on employee satisfaction surveys.

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