Manuela Priesemuth has summarized research she's done regarding abuse in the workplace and ways to prevent it. They define abuse as either physical violence or psychological aggression where the latter is used to create fear, anxiety, or other psychological harm. Some examples include "being shouted at, insulted, or threatened."

What we found was that supervisors experience a loss in social worth after abusing subordinates, which means that they generally feel less valued and appreciated at work. — Manuela Priesemuth

This led to reduced productivity for both manager and employee. Managers would empathize and self correct their bad behavior 90% of the time. Additionally, some colleagues would speak up to defend targets of bad behavior and this most commonly occurred in organizations that were perceived as fair.

This means that companies can prevent abusive behavior by:

  • Educating managers as part of training that there are negative consequences to this type of abuse (personal and company-wide).
  • Create ways for employees to anonymously report abuse.
  • Ensure that ethical practices are common throughout the organization because defense of abused employees stems from this fairness.

Have you experienced this type of toxicity in the workplace?

Join our discussion on LinkedIn.

Time’s Up for Toxic Workplaces
Three ways to create an environment that doesn’t tolerate abuse.

Image rights.