The cost of bad behavior and workplace aggression


I declare that I have developed and written the enclosed critical and reflective review completely by myself, and have not used sources or means without declaration in the text. Any thoughts from others or literal quotations are clearly marked. The critical and reflective review was not used in the same or in a similar version to achieve an academic grading or is being published elsewhere.

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The Cost of Bad Behavior and Workplace Aggression


Workplace aggression can be defined as the behaviors that often cause individual to harm targets. The aggressors are often inclined not to avoid such behaviors. These can be termed as social undermining, workplace deviance and incivility. These workplace bad behaviors can be separated with one group studying the perpetrator’s perspective and another body looking at the victim’s perspective. Recent research on qualitative reviews has tried to separate the two. According to Fox and Specter (1999), there is much to be gained by looking at these two studies. According to these studies, their reciprocal kind of aggression in that the aggressor becomes the victim eventually making the terms actor and the victim meaningless. Incivility in the workplace is very important and should be studied separately without looking at the perpetrator and the victim but by looking at the act and what it can cost the company (Aguino 2000, 91-193)

According to studies, it has also been realized that when most managers are trying to get areas to cut their cost they often ignore the cost of incivility. Most studies agree that incivility is rampart in most industry and you will often realize that it is a both way thing. The cost of bad behavior and incivility is now considered among the contributors of losses in any kind of business draining a lot of income from them (Christine & Christine 2010, 67-71)

As most employees practice aggression toward one another productivity within the company goes down but is ironical that most managers never realize that, thinking that everything is normal.Incivilty leads to the lose of time, effort, energy focus, creativity, loyalty o individuals and concentration. In the article review we study and keenly analyze workplace aggression incivility included, what it cost the company and some recommendations for the companies (Greene 2000, pp 7-22).


While workplace aggression is a widely studied topic, these two papers contain new significant information. For example, Porath, &, Pearson, (2010, 64–71), argues that incivility has const implication to organizations as it results in loss of time, effort, energy, focus, creativity, loyalty and commitment. On the other hand, Hershcovit, &, Reich, (2013) argue that work place aggression has not be properly understood because people still do not understand the ambiguity involved. While these two take son different approaches, both indicate indoor to solve workplace aggression and bad behavior, organization need to put these two into proper perspective. For example, the two papers argue that most workplace aggression and bad behaviors case are ambiguous because the perpetrators and the victims are not clearly understood because the two terms are not theoretically meaningful. Therefore, the argument presented by these two papers is convincing and useful because both bad behaviors and incivility affect cost performance in many ways on both their perpetrators and the victims.

Relationship to literature

Studies have indicated that work place aggression can cause number of things for instance the relationship between the employees and the managers is most affected with the employees feeling the pinch. Most employees the moment they are treated in uncivil manner react in away that at times do not augur well with the management for instance some even loose their concentration in the wok place.

Aggression or incivility can take the form of passing blame on workmates for your mistakes, texting/emailing during the company meetings, talking down others, looking down upon others and at times using derogatory remarks on people (Anderson 1999, 451-471)

It is important to note that such kind on behavior cost the organization a lot in terms of loss of profit and in other instances employees exit. The most interesting fact is that most organization rarely realizes the root cause of the same. Blaming it in poor management or poor planning within the organization. Research has indicated that the employees of the company are often affected more by aggression/ uncivil behavior within the organization. Managers will always look elsewhere when it comes to cutting cost in the organization failing to check aggressive acts existing within their organization causing many losses.

Studies have shown that employees due to aggression have intentionally decreased work effort, decreased work time, decreased the quality of their work; spend a lot of time worrying about people causing them aggression leading to the loss of significant amount of time worrying about offenders (Goldsmith 2007).

The worrying trend in this study is that in the process most organizations were losing profit and in some instances employees. However, in all these the managers and the owners of the business remained oblivious about what caused these in their organization. Another aspect of bad treatment within the organization is that those who were not treated well could not be able to concentrate at work since most lost focus in what they are doing leading to a lot of loss in terms of production and eventually profit.

According to research, creativity was also hindered in the work place due to aggression. Studies have shown that for individuals to maximize the use of their creativity they need to be fully concentrating in what they are doing. When incivility exists in any individuals, the cognitive ability of that individual is stolen hence reducing his/her capability to think and be creative. The research further showed that incivility affects deeply the helpfulness attitude of any individual. In that, any person treated badly is more inclined to treat those whom he encountered badly whether in the work place or outside the work place.

The cost of incivility can be concluded to be more numerous than earlier thought. This can be explained that incivility also affects those who witnessed the behavior since they thought they are not affected firsthand the fact t hat they have seen the act being carried out made them to portray certain angry behaviors. Those who witness uncivil behavior lost interest at work and disrespected the organization believing that even them they are not safe from such behaviors. The incivility reduces their energy, at work diminishes their motivation and affects their enthuasizm to work for the company. They lose the entire moral they were having initially (Peddler & Abbort 2010)


The cross sectional survey is the most effective method used in this survey even though it has some of its limitations. It refers to the analysis of both the perpetrators and the victim removing all the blame from the perpetrators. Earlier on the study showed that if we take for instance the subordinate and the supervisor we will find that the super visor portrays depression attitude while the subordinates have got negative attitudes indicating that both of them have a likely hood of being aggressive.

What makes it an inappropriate method is that it causes a lot of confusion during the study since it becomes very difficult for them to answer both the causes and the direction of the study. These issues are common in the workplace aggression as they contribute to the artificial separation between the perpetrators and the respondents. This method does not also permit the researcher to asses whether the aggression is part of a circle of mistreatment.

The workplace aggression it has been noted has a positive correlation between the enacted and experienced aggression. To fully identify them both the perpetrators and the victims should be aware of the questions to be asked and how long it would take to answer them since these methods rarely address the relational or contextual factors.


From the study, Work place aggression and other bad behaviors have serious cost implication that can only be quantified in term of work hour’s loss, loss of efforts, los of energy, loss of costs, creativity, loyalty and organizational commitment. According to Porath & Pearson, (2010), work place aggression causes incivility and incivility has a bearing on number of parameters associated with employee output such as time, morale, commitment, creativity and energy. Therefore, the argument of Porath, &, Pearson, (2010), that one habitually offensive employee can cause a company millions in terms of loss of employee, lost customer as well as lost productivity. This means that incivility, and bad behaviors erode company’s revenue and productivity. The same sentiment is aired by Hershcovisd, &, Reich (2013) that unless actors and target literature on workplace aggression are integrated, solutions to workplace aggression cannot be found and this will only results in further loss. Any skewness is such research means that the balanced and objective view of the workplace aggression cannot be realized because workplace aggression mostly occur in an environment in which evolving and dynamic realizations exists. This means that perception may vary or change with time. Acknowledging complexities in any aggressive environment are therefore impact and this means understanding the antecedents and consequences of such bad behaviors at work.

Implications and significance of the work

The first implication of this study it was noted as its tendency to major on one type of aggression in that the individuals were only asked about one aspect for instance it is rude talking that is the only thing which was questioned neglecting all the others whether they were existing or not. Although most aggressive behaviors are different according to this study they are treated the same. The relationship between the perpetrator and the target group often cause them give different interpretation during the study (Walters 1991, 15-31)

Another implication is, it has been noted to not identify the target or the source of aggression. The only exception is the supervisor’s aggression in that the supervisor is identified as the perpetrator of the incivility. In simple terms, the researchers lack what they can be able to refer to in this process. Without this point of reference, the respondents may think about other forms references during the study making the study to be inaccurate. This lack of clear measurement leads to loss of information that can be used to explain significance variance on how individuals behave.

Quality of Communication

This method directed and controlled the questions that the respondents were asked. Another implication is that in this study method anchored responses using frequency count. Implying that when the frequency of the study is higher the aggression become worse. This type of analysis was found to be false since you cannot lump the findings in the same way all for example an individual abused verbally will not react in the same way as the one physically abused.

Finally the last implication of the study is that it can further aggression in that the when the management realize that the employees are being questioned they can feel disturbed This can be attributed to the period which the study is carried.Indivuals are bound to remember more serious aggression than the minor aggression affecting them. On a sad note, individuals can also inflate the memory of past minor aggression. The trend of measuring aggression based on what respondents can recall often limits the scope of questions that can be asked. Hence, it is advisable to do the study in real time frame to come up true and accurate facts about aggression, otherwise the research will be misleading to the people (Sandy and Tara, S26-S42)

Overall observation from these articles

Some key facts can be observed from these articles. Though the article on aggression is more general about it covering many things the second article comes out to be more specific dealing with only incivility, however, these are the things that can be deduced from both.

First, Workplace aggression can take place for long time causing the organization many losses without the owners/managers realizing what really caused the losses. It is something if not checked can even lead to the collapse of the organization. Secondly, both the perpetrators and the victims for instance the victims can react out of anger towards the perpetrator of the aggression can bring about aggression or incivility. Thirdly, Incivility causes problems not only to the aggressors or the victims but also to the person witnessing the aggression.

Fourthly, it can be a daunting task for the manager to handle aggression once it has entered the organization. Finally according to research when investigated, researchers should not rely on the past happenings, these can be misleading to them on the contrary they should rely on real time to come up with accurate information on aggression/ uncivil behavior.

What did I learn from this exercise?

Aggressive behavior should be controlled at all cost in any organization. The management should look at all the ways to unite the employees so that they are not involved in aggressive behavior but incase it exists then the leadership should set zero tolerance on aggression and incivility, weed out the aggressors, should check whether they are the causes of aggression, teach civility and train on signals of aggression.

From the two studies, it is clear that the fight against workplace aggression is not concluded because many researchers and literatures do not focus on the root cause of the problems. For example, many literatures only focus on how many the perpetrators or how much the victims have been affected by such behaviors. Based on the approach taken by Porath, &, Pearson (2010), workplace aggressing can only be understood better if any organization integrate both perpetrators and victims literature together. Integrating both actors in workplace aggression case is the most effective way of understanding what has for a long time been considered as workplace deviance, incivility and social undermining.

Additionally, I have come to realize how important it is to understand both the victim and the perpetrator in the event of workplace violence as argued by Hershcovisch, &, Reich (2013). On the other hand, the work of Porath & person (2010) has made a clears case of work place aggression because of the lack of studies on work place aggression involving the analysis of both the perpetrators and the target together.

Reflection on the two articles

While Porath &, Pearson (2010) based their research on their own studies, Hershcovis & Reich, (2013) proposed direction for future research on the topic basing their argument on the relationship and social content within any workplace where workplace aggression occurs. Considering the methodology adopted by Porath & Pearson (2010), it is clear that workplace aggression is an ongoing problem in many organizations because over 9000 people interviewed provided conclusive information about the prevalence of workplace aggressions. However, considering literature review on previous research, it is healthy to argue that workplace aggression has been an organizational behavior issues for a long time. Both Porath & Pearson (2010), and Hershcovis and Reich (2013) research results indicated that the cost of work place aggression can also be quantified and was shocked to realize that workplace aggression can sometime run into millions of shilling and also cost organizations their most productive employee or many employees.

Finally, the implication of these researches is that neatly all organization experience workplace violence and incivility and this is why employee should be trained on workplace aggression (Porath & Pearson, 2010). Additionally, further research should be done to improve understanding of workplace aggressions as the most effective way to improving workplace environments.


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