Researchers Document Effects of Seven Deadly Business Sins

In recent years, the American workplace has been infused with unprecedented levels of hostility —largely due to the deterioration of supervisor-subordinate trust, according to Florida State University researchers.

To better understand this deteriorating relationship, Wayne Hochwarter, the Jim Moran professor of business administration in Florida State’s College of Business, and research associate Christian Ponder asked more than 750 mid-level employees to report how often they personally experienced their direct supervisor’s “Seven Deadly Sins” — wrath/anger, greed, laziness/sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony — at work.

“We choose these particular behaviors because they have an established history, are familiar to people in both religious and secular settings, and are documented to strain interpersonal relationships at work,” Hochwarter stated in a press release.

Results from their survey include:

  • 26% of employees said their boss frequently has trouble managing his or her anger (wrath);
  • 27% of employees said their boss vigorously pursues undeserved rewards (greed);
  • 41% of employees said their boss habitually pushes work on to others rather than doing it himself or herself (laziness);
  • 31% of employees said their boss regularly seeks undeserved admiration from others at work (pride);
  • 33% of employees said their boss makes sure that others stroke his or her ego on a daily basis (lust);
  • 19% of employees said their boss can be counted on to act enviously toward others who experience good things (jealous); and
  • 23% of employees said that their boss purposefully hoards resources that could be useful to others at work (gluttony).

Results indicated a variety of negative employee outcomes associated with supervisors’ aberrant behavior, including impaired work productivity and poorer heath.

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