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Rude behavior at work is increasing and affects the bottom line

Date:
January 30, 2013
Source:
Thunderbird School of Global Management
Summary:
Research shows rudeness at work is rampant, and it’s on the rise. In 2011, half of the workers surveyed said they were treated rudely at least once a week - up from a quarter in 1998. New research shows the tangible cost of this bad behavior.

Rudeness at work is rampant, and it's on the rise. In 2011, half of the workers surveyed by Professors Christine Porath of Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and Christine Pearson of Thunderbird School of Global Management said they were treated rudely at least once a week -- up from a quarter in 1998. New research from Porath and Pearson shows the tangible cost of this bad behavior.

Through a poll of 800 managers and employees in 17 industries, Porath and Pearson discovered just how people's reactions play out. Among workers who've been on the receiving end of incivility:

• 48% intentionally decreased their work effort • 47% intentionally decreased the time spent at work • 38% intentionally decreased the quality of their work • 80% lost work time worrying about the incident • 63% lost work time avoiding the offender • 66% said that their performance declined • 78% said that their commitment to the organization declined • 12% said that they left their job because of the uncivil treatment • 25% admitted to taking their frustration out on customers

Experiments and other reports offer additional insights about the effects of incivility. Here are some examples of what can happen.

1) Creativity suffers -- In an experiment conducted with Amir Erez, a professor of management at the University of Florida, participants who were treated rudely by other subjects were 30% less creative than others in the study.

2) Performance and team spirit deteriorate -- Survey results and interviews indicate that simply witnessing incivility has negative consequences. In one experiment, witnesses to incivility were less likely than others to help out, even when the person they'd be helping had no apparent connection to the uncivil person.

3) Customers turn away -- According to a survey of 244 consumers, disrespectful behavior by employees makes people uncomfortable, and they're quick to walk out without making a purchase.

4) Managing incidents is expensive -- According to a study conducted by Accountemps and reported in Fortune, managers and executives at Fortune 1,000 firms spend 13% percent of their work time -- the equivalent of seven weeks a year -- mending employee relationships and otherwise dealing with the aftermath of incivility.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Thunderbird School of Global Management. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. by Christine Porath and Christine Pearson. The Price of Incivility. Harvard Business Review, 2013 [link]

Cite This Page:

Thunderbird School of Global Management. "Rude behavior at work is increasing and affects the bottom line." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130184048.htm>.
Thunderbird School of Global Management. (2013, January 30). Rude behavior at work is increasing and affects the bottom line. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130184048.htm
Thunderbird School of Global Management. "Rude behavior at work is increasing and affects the bottom line." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130184048.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

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