As companies grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to foster a sense of togetherness. One of the examples of negative behavior in the workplace include employees sabotaging the company’s wellbeing — either unintentionally or otherwise.
Researchers from the Universities of Glasgow and Coventry conducted a study to examine employees who become “insider threats”.
They identified four kinds of employees who carry out counterproductive work behaviours and examples of negative behavior in the workplace:
You know that employee who hardly gets anything done unless someone stays on their case to remind them?
They might be breaking the rules unintentionally, but if they often engage in this kind of behaviour, managers need to step in and correct these behaviours before they do any damage.
According to the researchers, these are the employees who sometimes engage in counterproductive work behaviour. For example, they might sometimes be rude to others or take home “on-site only documents”.
Retaliators are employees who intentionally do things to harm the company. If nobody takes action to correct their behaviour, they could cause problems for their co-workers and put their employers in danger.
4. Serial Transgressors
These employees, as their name suggests, engage in a wide range of counterproductive behaviour which undermines their employers’ authority and compromises their coworkers.
What causes these behaviours?
The researchers found that these kinds of behaviours often spring up during or after organisational changes, which might cause employees to be distrustful of their managers. This reduces people’s loyalty to their companies and makes them more likely to engage in counterproductive behaviours.
“We found examples of team and managerial distrust that led to employees withdrawing their effort from organisations and in some cases even bred revenge behaviour,” says Dr. Charis Rice from Coventry University.
“Critically, our results showed that such outcomes were often an unforeseen consequence of an existing ‘ need to know’ security culture,” said researcher Professor Rosalind Searle of the University of Glasgow. She went on to say that the perceived heavy-handedness of HR and security teams might make employees reluctant to share their concerns.
What can managers do to reduce these behaviours?
The good news is, managers can do something to reduce these behaviours, namely:
- Being fair and consistent with during times of change.
- Creating an organisational citizenship system where reporting counterproductive working behaviour is considered a protective measure rather than a punishment.
- Open communication, or being transparent, consistent, regular, and collaborative with matters of organisational change.
- Listening to assessments of individual, team, and organisations vulnerability, and responding by adapting change initiatives according to these.
- Having managers lead by example.
Basically, managers should take care to treat their employees with respect and honesty. If you make your employees feel like they don’t matter, then how can you expect them to stay loyal to you?
Make your employees feel valued and you’ll end up with valuable employees.
What do you think of this article on examples of negative behavior in the workplace? Do you recognise this happening in your organisation?
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