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Jerk-Infested Work Environments are Contagious

Jerk-Infested Work Environments are Contagious

If you thought contagious diseases were all you could catch from your coworkers, think again. Bob Sutton, the celebrated author from Stanford says exposure to toxic work environments can lead to terrible work behaviors.  I would very seriously reconsider working with any group of people with bad attitudes, mean-spirited work behaviors, poor ethical choices, or an all-around nasty and rude work temperament, regardless of the size of your paycheck.

The findings mentioned in Dr. Bob Sutton’s blog, “Work Matters,” further emphasizes, in my mind, the importance of selecting the right company culture, or departmental culture within a company before accepting a position, transfer or promotion.  Over time, we tend to mimic the behavior of those we spend time with at the office.

Bob Sutton states in his blog, “there are at least two reasons this happens.  The first is that a pile of studies show that emotions and behavior patterns are remarkably contagious — that without realizing it, we mimic the way that people around us act.  The second reason is self-preservation: If you work with a bunch of nasty creeps who put you down all the time, treat you as if you are invisible, bad-mouth you, and tease you in hostile ways, sometimes the only way to protect yourself (for better or worse) is to return fire.   These points are supported by academic research, especially the one about emotional contagion.”

For the CEO, a positive work environment is important because it leads to positive financial and customer service results. For the employee, a positive company culture means your life will be much more enjoyable, at work and at home.

Here is the link to Bob Sutton’s blog article, “His ARSE Score Dropped from 12 to 2: More Evidence that Asshole Poisoning is Contagious.”

Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees' desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.


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