A player can engage in productive effort which adds value or in unproductive effort, buttering up the boss. There are two workers and one is more productive than the other: The marginal product of effort for worker A is bigger than the marginal product of effort for worker B. Productive effort is rewarded with monetary payment or career advancement and so is effort expended at buttering up the boss.
We get the following simple insight: The higher productivity worker faces a higher opportunity cost of buttering up the boss. He will spend less time on unproductive activity and more time on productive activity.
(Acknowledgement: Loosely based on a model presented by Stergios Skaperdas)