Employees with a sense of unjustified entitlement are more likely to claim their bosses are abusive and mistreat them compared with the less entitlement-minded coworkers, according to a recently published study.
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire queried 396 full-time employees who had been with their company for an average of 7 years in a survey about workplace abuse. In a second survey, the researchers asked the same questions as the first survey, but included additional questions for a coworker of each respondent, resulting in data on 81 pairs of employees and coworkers who had the same supervisors and who worked together for an average of 21 hours per week.
According to the results, employees who had higher levels of entitlement were more likely to claim their managers were abusive. When researchers compared the responses of employees supervised by the same managers, they found entitled employees were more likely to report high levels of abuse from their managers even when less-entitled coworkers did not.
“The adage ‘perception is reality’ may apply in that entitled employees who believe they are abused by supervisors, accurately or inaccurately, will likely respond in negative psychological and behavioral ways,” Paul Harvey, associate professor of organizational behavior at the University of New Hampshire, stated. “For this reason, eliminating abusive behaviors by supervisors might not completely eliminate the perception of abuse or the associated emotions and stress that can motivate retaliation by employees.”
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Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.