Watch for those excuses to increase

Employees may be more prone these days to blame others for problems they have caused themselves, said Paul Harvey, assistant professor of management at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

Harvey, who studies behavior in the workplace, said it is “a natural human tendency to want to deflect blame for negative outcomes (especially at work where your competency is always being evaluated), and so people often subconsciously look for other people to blame when problems arise.”

If the finger-pointer is the boss, the situation becomes even more complicated, he explained. “When that happens, people usually have to stand their ground and hope that, over time, the facts help to vindicate them.”

This version of blaming is a form of “abusive supervision” and includes “spreading rumors about employees, insulting them, withholding information, and pretty much everything short of actual physical abuse.”

Reference:

Watch for ‘Employee Scapegoating’ as Economic Troubles Continue. (2009, March). HR Focus, 86(3), 8-9.  Retrieved March 29, 2009, from Alumni – ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 1654950911).

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