NEW YORK - While treatment from managers and bosses can commonly affect how employees feel about their workplace, new research from Columbia Business School, conducted by Joel Brockner, the Phillip Hettleman Professor of Business, finds that the way co-workers treat each other - and the workplace culture it creates – also influences employees’ attitudes towards their employers. According to the research, employees are much less likely to remain committed to their organization or perform well if their peers behave disrespectfully toward them.
The study, co-written with UCLA Anderson School of Management Professor, Corinne Bendersky, recruited 302 individuals for an experiment where participants were placed in a mock work setting and then exposed to negative, neutral, and positive interpersonal treatment from their peers. Researchers found that employee attitudes toward their organization worsened when they received rude comments from their peers about their performance. When employees received positive treatment from their peers, their perceptions about the organization were more favorable and actually reduced negative reactions engendered by mistreatment they may have experienced from their boss.
In a new labor market where employees are making their career decisions on more than title, pay, and benefits, employers are reassessing the need to develop a positive workplace culture and promote organizational wellness. When managers seek to increase employee retention and improve company loyalty, it is not enough for them to treat their employees in a dignified fashion. They also need to create conditions in which employees are more likely to treat one another with civility and respect.
The study, Mistreatment from Peers Can Reduce the Effects of Respectful Treatment from Bosses, and Respectful Peers Can Offset Mistreatment from Bosses can be found here.
To learn more about the cutting-edge research being conducted at Columbia Business School, please visit www.gsb.columbia.edu.
About the researcher
Within the broader field of organizational behavior, Professor Brockner is well known for his work in several areas, including the effects of organizational downsizing...Read more.