Abused Workers Fight Back by Slacking Off

Can’t say that I am surprised by any of this. That last line kills me.

Employees toiling under an abusive supervisor often rebel quietly and indirectly by slacking off on the job and handing in sloppy work.

Researchers at Florida State University surveyed more than 180 employees from a wide variety of professions, asking whether they had endured a history of abuse from their bosses, then asking a slew of workplace performance questions.

Employees with difficult bosses checked out in the following ways:

  • 30 percent slowed down or purposely made errors, compared with 6 percent of those not reporting abuse.
  • 27 percent purposely hid from the boss, compared with 4 percent of those not abused.
  • 33 percent confessed to not putting in maximum effort, compared with 9 percent of those not abused.
  • 29 percent took sick time off even when not ill, compared with 4 percent of those not abused.
  • 25 percent took more or longer breaks, compared with 7 percent of those not abused.

Whether the abusive boss causes apathetic employees or vice versa is not known.