It's not uncommon to want some oversight or even praise when undertaking a project at work. But when you're in the midst of an email chain with colleagues, don't CC your boss, unless it's absolutely necessary. Why? It'll likely make your fellow employees mistrust you, or worse -- think you're a conniving brown-noser.
A currently unpublished study conducted by Cambridge University researcher David De Cremer queried 600 participants in the United States and China, using a series of experiments and surveys. The bailiwick of the study hinged on a hypothetical situation. Participants were asked to imagine different instances in which a boss or supervisor was carbon copied onto an email always, sometimes or almost never. Ultimately, as the study found: "the more often you include a supervisor on emails to coworkers, the less trusted those coworkers feel," De Cremer writes in the Harvard Business Review.
An additional series of organizational surveys, querying 345 people, seemingly made matters worse, as the researcher explains: "My findings indicated that when the supervisor was copied in often, employees felt less trusted, and this feeling automatically led them to infer that the organizational culture must be low in trust overall, fostering a culture of fear and low psychological safety."
This isn't to say that the findings apply to everyone, of course. Your boss could be tyrannical and have a penchant for micromanagement. Your colleagues on the other hand, could be unnecessarily paranoid. Interestingly, though, the findings were pretty similar across Chinese and western workplaces, meaning that work culture doesn't really change that significantly across cultures.
Anyway, the next time you loop-in your boss, heed the warnings -- and know that it never hurts to convincingly play hooky.
[h/t Mental Floss]