Being Rude at Work Leads to WHAT?Have you ever been the target of rude behavior at work? Beware! When a coworker is rude to you, you are far more likely to lose your self-control and be rude to others in return, according to researchers from the University of Arkansas. Put more simply: Incivility begets incivility.
Rude behavior in the office is different from bullying. While bullying is openly hostile behavior that can include harassment and threats, rude or uncivil behavior includes put-downs, sarcasm and condescension. This is less serious but can have a profound psychological effect on employees.
Companies need to pay attention to this, if for no other reason than it can cost them a lot of money. "Estimates are that workplace incivility has doubled over the past two decades and on average costs companies about $14,000 per employee annually because of loss of production and work time," explains lead study author Chris Rosen, a professor of management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business.
The study: The Arkansas team surveyed 70 employees. Three times a day for 10 consecutive workdays, the employees answered questions and completed performance-based tasks that allowed the researchers to study how and why acts of incivility are contagious in business organizations.
The results: Experiencing rude behavior increased mental fatigue, which reduced employees' self-control and led them to act in a similar rude manner later in the day. These "incivility spirals" occurred unintentionally and predominantly in workplaces that were perceived as "political," which was defined as an environment where workers do what is best for them and not what is best for the organization.
What can managers do? To reduce perceptions of politics at work, the researchers suggested that managers provide clear feedback to employees regarding the types of behaviors that are desired. This practice can be accomplished informally, by enhancing the quality of feedback during day-to-day interactions, or formally through performance evaluations.
The study findings were published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
Just for Fun