Bad Manners in the Workplace Hurt Productivity

June 15, 2001 ( - Employees are trapped between a rock and a hard place when it comes to dealing with rude behavior. Complaints may trigger retaliation, but keeping quiet leads to anxiety and depression, according to a study.

The study, conducted by the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, found that incidents of uncivil behavior translated to less job satisfaction and lower productivity.

The survey comprised input from 1,100 employees of a federal court system, including mailroom clerks, secretaries, librarians, computer analysts, managers and lawyers.

Results of the study show that in the past five years, some 71% of the sample had experienced condescending or outright rude behavior on the job. Twenty-five percent of these either confronted the offender, reported the incident to superiors or complained to co-workers.

Of those who took action, two-thirds drew retaliation. Some were given less favorable duties and denied advancement, while others experienced social ostracism. However, findings also show that those who remained silent about these incidents displayed symptoms of anxiety and depression.