Toxicity in the Workplace

3766 words 16 pages
The Toxic Workplace

Organizational Behaviour


The purpose of this paper is to examine the inter-relationship of incivility and toxicity, how bullies are able to become toxic managers, and how they are allowed to develop in a toxic organization. We also analyze the development of organizational pain and how toxin handlers deal it with. Finally, we hope to assess if there is any validity to claims that ‘Generation Z’ is responsible for the recent prevalence of workplace toxicity.

What is a toxic workplace?

Overview of Toxicity:

“Violence, aggression, bullying, tyranny, harassment, deviance, and injustice …” (Cortina 2001), the ‘magnificent seven’ anti-socialites comprising Workplace Toxicity.

A relatively new
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(Steinberg, 1996)

Due to the lack of laws regulating civility in the workplace, it is difficult to identify and indemnify incivility specifically; and, according to Pearson (2005), even when it is recognized, “managers ignore incivility … discount their importance as so-called personal matters … or even reward brutal confrontation among employees as a key to competitive advantage.”Frequently, this causes the targets of uncivil acts to resist reporting the deviant behavior, and instead seek retribution covertly (Samnani, 2012). If neither party recognizes the impact on their environment, observers will inevitably be drawn into the conflict, leading to escalating tension, increased social disobedience, and ultimately a loss of “productivity, performance, motivation, and creativity”.
The development of aggression, or increasing occurrences of incivility with a prominent intent to cause harm, can leave the target feeling vulnerable and defenseless. Usually, at this point it becomes bullying, as there is frequently an unequal disbursement of power and an abuse of such.

The Spiral of Toxin Inducing Behavior

(Andersson and Pearson, PG 456)
The Toxic Worker:

It wasn’t until 1992 that A. Adams and F. Bray first used the term “workplace bullying” and began research into this ‘new’ type of harassment (Saunders, 2007).
Workplace bullies are often motivated by personal gain (money, power, or acclaim). These employees are usually skilled, have


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