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February 14, 2018 Wednesday 02:25:15 PM IST

Abusive supervision lowers productivity

Leadership Instincts

13th February, 2018: In a study published online in the Journal of Business Ethics, researchers of University of Texas at Dallas has found that abusive supervision lowers productivity in the short and long run and advises the leaders to shun abusive supervision.

Abusive supervision refers to subordinates’ perceptions of supervisors engaging in the sustained hostile verbal and nonverbal behaviors, excluding physical contact. It is found to affect employees’ well-being, health and work performance, leading to absenteeism, health care costs and consequently lost productivity.

Abusive supervision in the workplace is quite a prevalent phenomenon. “Our study shows that there are certain costs associated with abusive supervisors and even the leaders who engage in abusive supervision do not benefit from it,” said Dr. Junfeng Wu, assistant professor of Organizations, Strategy and International Management at University of Texas at Dallas.

“We want to convey this important message to organization leaders in order to have them stop these kinds of behaviors.”


Even though the immediate source of injustice is the supervisor, abused employees perceive injustice from both their supervisor and organization so extend their scope of retaliation to both.

“It will cause problems for the managers who engage in abusive supervision and, overall, it will threaten the well-being of the organization because the employees will engage in organizational deviance, such as arriving to work late or having low productivity,” Wu said.


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