Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Making the Best of a Bad Job

  • Charlyn Partridge
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2696-1



Individuals that are less favored may use alternative reproductive tactics that minimize their disadvantage (Dawkins 1980).


The “making the best of a bad job” scenario was derived as a way of explaining how some reproductive tactics are maintained in a population even when those behaviors result in lower fitness compared to dominant/territorial tactics. For example, small individuals may not fair well in direct competitions with dominant males. Rather than competing, small males may find alternative means (i.e., sneak copulations) that downplay their disadvantage to gain some reproductive success. Accordingly, the “best of a bad job” tactic can have lower reproductive fitness than the dominant tactic.

Something Is Better than Nothing

One of the major questions in evolutionary biology is how phenotypic variation is maintained within a population. This is particularly true for...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State UniversityMusekgonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Russell Jackson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IdahoMoscowUSA