Aug 30, 2019
Bully’ bosses pose safety risks, study finds
Administrators who bully the workers that are underneath their supervision pose a safety culture risk, a new study decided. There was a distinct correlation between abusive management among administrators and supervisors and worsened safety performance and poor safety issues among operators, a Portland State University (PSU) researcher discovered.
Bullying bosses not only pose a safety leadership menace to employees’ confidence and their feeling of well-being but also are bad for workplace safety culture.
Liu-Qin Yang, an educator of industrial-organizational psychology at PSU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and her coauthors examined 468 construction safety workers and 589 airline pilots. The researchers found definite signs that abusive direction adversely influenced safety performance.
Yang and her coauthors set out to investigate how and when higher abusive management led to a failure in safety practices and worsened safety performance. This lack of safety leadership effectively destroys any safety culture present in the company.
The survey of construction workers and manufacturing professionals observed that a sense of relating among some construction mechanics helped curb the negative consequences of abusive supervision on workers’ safety performance.
The more distinguished social status of airline pilots strengthened their safety behavior, the researchers reasoned. Abusive supervision and lack of safety leadership amongst these managers had less of an influence on safety results where workers had more important social standing.
Supervisors’ safety leadership behaviors can either strengthen or weaken employees’ standing between their coworkers, increasing or minimizing employees’ feeling of belonging, Yang said in a PSU comment.
Yang advised that poor handling from the administrator can make employees feel they aren’t appreciated in the workgroup, which can:
“When people are less sure about their strengths and weaknesses and their status within a group, they become more sensitive,” Yang said.
“They're more likely to respond negatively to their boss’ bullying behaviors.”
Organizations need to curb frontline executives’ bad safety habits, which has negative safety consequences for clients and workers, the study resolved. To create positive team dynamics in the workplace, it’s critical for employers to manage leaders’ behavior and support employees who may feel victimized, Yang and her coauthors said in their report.
The study’s recommendations included:
Bullying bosses not only pose a threat to employees’ morale and their sense of well-being but also are bad for workplace safety.
Liu-Qin Yang, an associate professor of industrial-organizational psychology at PSU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and her coauthors surveyed 468 manufacturing technicians and 589 airline pilots. The researchers found clear signs that abusive supervision adversely affected safety.
Yang and her coauthors set out to study how and when higher abusive supervision led to a lapse in safety behaviors and worsened safety performance. The survey of manufacturing technicians found that a sense of belonging among some workers helped limit the negative consequences of abusive supervision on workers’ safety behavior.