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Wilfrid Laurier University Lazaridis School of Business & Economics
October 26, 2016
Canadian Excellence



Business: Organizational Behaviour/Human Resource Management (OB/HRM) Area

Research Tidbit: Abusive Boss? Not Only Are Employees Being Hurt But So Are Work Group Dynamics!

New Research from Dr. Manuela Priesemuth (OB/HRM)

Oct 21/13

Anyone who has experienced an abusive supervisor can appreciate the psychological and physical toll that can come with this type of treatment.

New research by Dr. Manuela Priesemuth (Wilfrid Laurier University) and her colleagues from the University of Central Florida, however, suggests that abusive supervisors not only negatively impact individual employees but they can also damage entire work groups.

Consider a supervisor who "motivates" employees by yelling at them and using derogatory language. This type of behavior can detract from the work groupís dynamics and morale. More specifically, supervisor abuse targeted toward work groups destroys social ties between the members and diminishes the group's confidence to perform well. As a result, group performance and cooperative behavior between group members can suffer.

Practically, this research highlights the importance of preventing abuse in the workplace. This includes training managers on how to effectively motivate their employees and having a zero-tolerance policy for abusive behaviors. Additionally, there are interventions that can be directed towards work teams that can help buffer the negative and residual effects of abuse.

 For more information about this research, please contact Dr. Manuela Priesemuth (


Priesemuth, M., Schminke, M., Ambrose, M. L., & Folger, R. (in press). Abusive supervision  climate: A multiple-mediation model of its impact on group outcomes. Academy of Management Journal.

Click here for link to abstract and full article.

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