Saturday, April 11, 2015

Should you yell back at an abusive boss?

A new study reported by the Harvard Business Review says that it will definitely make you feel better, enhance your psychological well-being and improve job satisfaction to return verbal abuse in kind. Or in the jargon of the study, returning "downward hostility" with "upward hostility" . . . "weakens the deleterious effects of downward hostility on the subordinate's job satisfaction" according to analysis of "2-wave data."

The Harvard Business Review blog was intrigued enough by the suggestion that yelling at the boss is a good thing that they reached out to one of the researchers to confirm that's the case before posting the story.  And it's a good thing they did because the researchers emphatically state that "no!" -  the study should not be interpreted as recommending employees yell back at an abusive boss.  Rather, the study stands for the very limited proposition that doing so will make you feel better before you're fired.  In other words, that "2-wave data" doesn't tell the whole story.

Check out the HBR post, What Research Shows About Talking Back to a Jerk Boss, here and access the study itself, On The Exchange of Hostility with Supervisors: An Examination of Self-Enhancing and Self-Defeating Perspectives - here.


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