Bosses who bully increase worker stress, study shows
Portland, OR — Employees who are bullied by their bosses are more likely to report work-related stress and feel less committed to their jobs, the results of a recent study show.
Researchers from Portland State University reviewed 427 studies on abusive supervisors to find out how and why bullying impacts workers. They found that being bullied by a boss may cause a worker to engage in negative behaviors, such as arriving late, sabotaging work, taking breaks that are longer than allowed, withholding effort and performing tasks incorrectly – all of which may, in turn, negatively affect co-workers and contribute to a stressful work environment.
“Stress is sometimes uncontrollable,” study co-author Liu-Qin Yang, an associate professor of industrial-organizational psychology at PSU, said in a March 6 press release. “You don’t sleep well, so you come in late or take a longer break, lash out at your co-workers or disobey instructions.”
Yang added that abusive supervision, along with its consequences, is becoming more common in workplaces. To help reduce and limit bullying behavior from bosses, researchers advise employers to:
- Conduct regular training programs that help supervisors learn and adopt better interpersonal and management skills.
- Implement policies and procedures to reduce employee perceptions of injustice.
- Ensure employees have necessary resources, such as stress management training, to do their jobs.
The study was published online Jan. 18 in the Journal of Management.
Post a comment to this article
Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)