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September 20, 2019 Friday 10:03:39 AM IST

Bullying bosses worsen safety

Teacher Insights

A new study by Portland State University suggests that bullying bosses aren't just bad for employee morale and well-being; they can also be bad for workplace safety.

Liu-Qin Yang, an associate professor of industrial-organizational psychology in PSU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and her co-authors surveyed airline pilots and manufacturing technicians and found that employees' safety behaviour can be worsened when they are treated in ways that detract from their bonds to a work group.

The study was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.


Yang said that bosses' behaviours can strengthen or weaken employees' sense of belonging to the work group by supporting or undermining their status within the group. Poor treatment from a boss can make employees feel that they're not valued by a group. As a result, they can become more self-centred, leading them to occasionally forget to comply with safety rules or overlook opportunities to promote a safer work environment.

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