The Cost of Bad Behavior : How Incivility is Damaging Your Business and What to Do About It.
The Cost of Bad Behavior : How Incivility is Damaging Your Business and What to Do About It by Christine Pearson and Cristine Porath began as a study to identify potential workplace violence issues, and evolved into the study of the cost to the average business of acts of incivility. It basically develops into three kinds of incivility, a hostile, and demeaning boss/or supervisor, ie, someone with authority over the “target”, peer to peer incivility, which manifests as not returning emails or phone calls, not providing vital information or leaving someone out of essential meetings, stealing credit for their work, or incivility from those with less authority, ie, those under you, which is usually more subtle, slowing down processes, working less hard, taking off more sick time.
The authors are both professors of management at different universities, and have conducted this study over the last decade. Lest you think this is an American phenomenon, the Canadian’s they interviewed had been the victims of much more workplace incivility than American workers by a factor of almost 25%.
Some examples of what the authors refer to as Incivility would be, 1). Taking credit for the work of others, 2) Passing blame for our own mistakes,3). Checking emails or texting messsages during a meeting or while talking to a co-worker face to face. 4). Sending bad news via email so we don’t have to face down the recipient. 5). Talking down to others, or screaming or yelling at subordinates, 6). Not listening when someone else is speaking to you, 7) Spreading rumors about colleagues 8). Setting others and/or co-workers up to fail, 9) Never saying please or thank you when someone has gone out of their way to do you a favor. 10). Showing up late for a meeting or leaving a meeting early without an explanation to the group.11). Belittling the efforts and opinions of others. 12). Leaving snippy emails or voicemails to co-workers or subordinates. 13). Forwarding the email from others in order to make them look bad, 14) @Withholding vital information from someone. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The only potential flaw in the research is that they have only been able to interview the “targets” or witnesses of the uncivil behavior. It would be impossible to talk to the “offender” without giving away the identity of the “target”.
Unsurprisingly, the targets choose to strike back in one of several ways, they either quit, they slow down or become less efficient at their jobs or the spend less time on the job. The authors even have provided a worksheet that an employer can use to see how much uncivil behavior is costing their business one way or another. They include case studies and anecdotes to prove the point that much time, money and productivity is lost to the fact that people cannot seem to treat their co-workers with respect.
In the last section, the authors list five businesses that have made it their policy to maintain civil behavior among employees and how it’s payed off.