Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Coping with abuse in the work place

Date:
January 5, 2012
Source:
University of Haifa
Summary:
A new study assessed the tools employees are using to cope with the stress of abusive treatment from a supervisor and how effective those tools are in terms of employee well-being.

Confronting an abusive boss is easier said than done: employees coping with the stress of abusive treatment prefer to avoid direct communication even though it would be the most effective tactic in terms of emotional well-being. This has been shown in a new study from the University of Haifa, published in the International Journal of Stress Management (American Psychological Association).

“Abusive supervision is highly distressing for employees. Our study shows that the strategies being used by employees to cope with the stress caused by such behavior do not lead to the most positive outcomes,” said Prof. Dana Yagil, who headed the study.

Earlier studies have examined the effect of abusive supervision on employee performance, but the new study set out to determine the effect of the different coping strategies on employee wellbeing. The study, which Prof. Yagil conducted with Prof. Hasida Ben-Zur and Inbal Tamir, of the University of Haifa’s Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, examined five types of strategies used for coping with the stress factor of abusive treatment: directly communicating with the abusive supervisor to discuss the problems; using forms of ingratiation – i.e., doing favors, using flattery and compliance; seeking support from others; avoiding contact with the supervisor; and what is known as “reframing” – mentally restructuring the abuse in a way that decreases its threat.

Participating in the study were 300 employees who were asked to rate the frequency of experiencing abusive behavior by a supervisor, such as ridicule, invasion of privacy, rudeness and lying. The participants were also asked to rate the frequency of engaging in each of 25 strategies that belong to the five categories. For example: “I tell the supervisor directly that he/she must not treat me like that” (direct communication category) ; “I support the supervisor in matters that are important to him/her, so that he/she will see I am on his/her side” (ingratiation); “I try to have the least possible contact with the supervisor (avoidance of contact); “I relieve myself by talking to other people about the supervisor’s behavior” (support-seeking); and “I remind myself that there are more important matters in my life” (reframing).

The study found that abusive treatment from a superior was most strongly associated with avoiding contact – disengaging from the supervisor as much as possible and to seeking social support. Abusive supervision was least strongly associated with the strategy of direct communication. However, avoidance and seeking support resulted in the employees’ experiencing negative emotions, while communication with the supervisor – which employees do less - was the strategy most strongly related to employees’ positive emotions. “It is understandable that employees wish to reduce their contact with an abusive boss to a minimum,” says Dr. Yagil. “However, this strategy further increases the employee's stress because it is associated with a sense of weakness and perpetuates their fear of the supervisor."

The study shows that managers should be alert to signs of employee detachment - as it might indicate that their own behavior is being considered offensive by those employees.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Haifa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Haifa. "Coping with abuse in the work place." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120105143846.htm>.
University of Haifa. (2012, January 5). Coping with abuse in the work place. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120105143846.htm
University of Haifa. "Coping with abuse in the work place." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120105143846.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bank of America's $17 Bln Settlement

Bank of America's $17 Bln Settlement

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 21, 2014) Bank of America's settlement is by far the largest amount paid by big banks facing mortgage securities probes. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) In the wake of a high-profile harassment case, Twitter says family members can ask for photos of dying or dead relatives to be taken down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A CDC report says birth rates among teenagers have been declining for decades, reaching a new low in 2013. We look at several popular explanations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins