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Counterproductive Workplace Behaviors

by Laurie Reeves, studioD

Most people want to get along at work and be effective at their jobs. But there are those who purposely act in a counterproductive manner. Counterproductive workplace behaviors damage a company's culture and environment; they harm people and diminish the effectiveness of the organization that tolerates them.

Counterproductive Behavior

Industrial and organizational behavior professor Paul Spector from the University of South Florida divides employees into two categories: those who benefit an organization and those who hurt it. He further explains that those who hurt an organization do so with counterproductive behaviors such as sabotage, theft, violence, aggression, hostility and the withholding of output.

Misuse of Time and Materials

The misuse of time and materials is when a person misses a lot of work, deliberately shows up late or leaves early. This person also makes it a habit to work slowly and intentionally takes long lunches or break periods. People who take advantage of a company or organization may sabotage equipment, steal items from work or take kickbacks from outsiders. Reasons for this behavior could be personal stress at home or an attempt by an employee to "get even" for a withheld raise or other advantage.

Gossipers and Complainers

The person at work who undermines the authority of those above him is the one you'll find spreading rumors about company managers or co-workers. This type of person always complains about the company and finds ways to blame others, even when he makes the mistakes.

Personal Aggression

Verbal abusers, workplace bullies and people who are hostile with co-workers and managers are exhibiting personal aggression or violence in the workplace. These people exhibit inappropriate physical and verbal action toward those with whom they work. People in this category act without regard to their coworkers. They might show a lack of respect, be verbally insulting or even react to a perceived insult in a physically violent manner.

Anti-Social Behavior

The bottom line is that people who display counterproductive workplace behaviors are typically anti-social at work. They misuse information, practice unsafe behavior and misuse their work time and resources. Their work product is below acceptable levels, and they act inappropriately to almost everyone in the workplace.

About the Author

As a native Californian, artist, businessperson, contractor, journalist and published author, Laurie Reeves began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. In 2003, she and her husband moved into the home she designed, they built and decorated. Reeves graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.

Photo Credits

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