Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Why Is Bad Apple Behavior Tolerated?

There can be several reasons why organizations tolerate Bad Apples and their bad behavior:
ß They do not know the real costs to the organization of Bad Apple behaviors.
ß Incivility and bullying occur in all levels of organizations, including the top; thus, they can become part of the organizational culture.
ß Bad behavior is often excused or ignored by the people who should be addressing the issue.
ß Some Bad Apples are protected by relationships, status as key producers, or position in the organization
ß Frequently, bad behavior is misinterpreted, for example, “It’s just a personality conflict.”
ß Bullies are adept at operating within the guidelines and policies of an organization making discipline or dismissal difficult.
ß Although other employees might be aware of Bad Apples, they often fly under the radar of their superiors and escape admonishment if not reported.
ß Targets do not report the abusive behavior they endure.

As targets of Bad Apples, we tend to tolerate their behaviors despite the pain they inflict and do not speak up in our own defense. Sometimes it is out of shame. Targets often think they did something wrong. Maybe if we work harder, better, smarter, it will end. Sometimes, inability to speak out is due to fear of retaliation. Whatever the reasons for not speaking out, continued tolerance perpetuates Bad Apple behaviors.

1 comment:

Bad Apple Polisher said...

Bad Apples exhibit a wide range of behaviors—from simple rudeness to all out bullying aimed at sabotaging the target’s reputation or career. I see Bad Apple Drivers on the highway everyday, cutting people off, making rude gestures, trying to intimidate other drivers by riding their bumpers.

These people’s behaviors don’t suddenly improve when they get to work. They are likely to be just as rude and intimidating close up and in your face.

In a 2007 nationwide poll, 45% of American workers said they have worked for a supervisor or employer whom they consider abusive.

The poll also found that more than half of American workers have been the victim of or heard about supervisors or employers behaving abusively--making sarcastic jokes or teasing remarks, rudely interrupting, publicly criticizing, giving dirty looks to or yelling at subordinates, or ignoring them as if they were invisible.

Because these behaviors have become so commonplace, many people do not consider them to be problematic, but they are, especially when directed at a specific target over long periods of time.