Bad Manners Cost Business

By Eileen Feretic  |  Posted Monday, July 06, 2009 21:07 PM

By Eileen Feretic

Ninety-five percent of Americans say they've experienced rudeness at work. I find that almost unbelievable and certainly disturbing. Yet, that's the statistic quoted by the authors of The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business & What to Do About It.

And here's another shocker from the authors: Christine Pearson, a professor of management at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and Christine Porath, an assistant professor of management at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, report that workplace incivility costs businesses billions of dollars every year.

I admit to being skeptical, but the authors back up their statement with the following statistics about how rudeness negatively affects workers' performance--and their companies' bottom line:

48% of surveyed employees decreased their work effort 47% decreased their time at work 38% decreased their work quality 66% said their performance declined 80% lost work time worrying about the incident 63% lost time avoiding the offender.

So, theoretically, if we all treated our co-workers and staff members more civilly, productivity--and company profits--would increase. Managers and supervisors bear the main responsibility here, as it falls on them to ensure that employees treat one another with respect and consideration.

It's certainly worth a try. And, while waiting for the productivity increases to strengthen the bottom line, we'll all benefit by working in a more pleasant, collegial environment. Sounds like a win-win to me.