Office Intimidators Aren't Always Honest About Conflict Resolution

May 23, 2005 ( - Office bullies may be increasingly common in the workplace, but they apparently aren't terribly honest about (or aware of) their behavior.

A new survey from employee assistance provider ComPysch Corporation found that a scant 3% of employees confessed that they resolve office conflicts by being an “intimidator”, admitting that they “browbeat a person until they back down.” However, according to a ComPsych news release, the company has seen a 200% increase in anger management referrals and that most of those were in the “intimidator” model.

When asked for their conflict-resolution secrets, employee responses also included:

  • 34% said “I’m a negotiator – I seek common ground between different parties”
  • 27% said “I’m a communicator – I confront a person directly”
  • 22% said “I’m an avoider – I steer clear of conflict at all costs”
  • 11% said “I’m a procrastinator – I might wait and e-mail my thoughts later”
  • 3% said “None of the above”

“Intimidators are more prone to impulsive, aggressive behavior and often lack the self-censoring mechanism of most employees,” said Richard Chaifetz, chairman and CEO of ComPsych. “For this reason, they are highly more inclined to outbursts, verbal threats and other inappropriate conduct, landing them in the therapist’s chair for anger management issues. This 3% of the employee population accounts for roughly 90% of the thousands of anger management referrals we receive each year.”

The survey was conducted from March 23 to April 21, 2005 and included more than 1,000 client companies nationwide.