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.