Acting like a jerk at work is contagious

New research finds when a boss is rude, so are the employees

Published On: Feb 25 2013 03:42:04 AM EST
Generic office shot

We all know that colds and viruses spread through the office with ease. But the latest health studies show a new behavior that is also contagious, being a jerk.

According to the Harvard Business Review, when a boss is unkind at work, employees notice and tend to follow that lead. Their research found that when a boss is rude, about 1 in 4 employees is also rude.

WebMD also looked into this new phenomenon. Paul Harvey, an associate professor of organizational behavior at the University of New Hampshire, found that the entire work environment can be negatively impacted by this. He says, "When vicarious abusive supervision is present, employees realize that the organization is allowing this negative treatment to exist, even if they are not experiencing it directly."

The research encourages business leaders to be as positive as possible at work. Acting nasty at work can cause more harm than you might think.