Washington: Abusive bosses do not only cause problems at work but can also wreck a marriage, a new study has revealed.
The study by Baylor University study found that stress and tension caused by an abusive boss have an impact on the employee’s partner, which affects the marital relationship and subsequently the employee’s entire family.
The study also found that more children at home meant greater family satisfaction for the employee, and the longer the partner’s relationship, the less impact the abusive boss had on the family.
“These findings have important implications for organizations and their managers.”
“The evidence highlights the need for organizations to send an unequivocal message to those in supervisory positions that these hostile and harmful behaviors will not be tolerated,” said Dawn Carlson, study author.
A supervisor’s abuse may include tantrums, rudeness, public criticism and inconsiderate action.
“It may be that as supervisor abuse heightens tension in the relationship, the employee is less motivated or able to engage in positive interactions with the partner and other family members,” said Merideth Ferguson, study co-author.
The study included 280 full-time employees and their partners.
Workers filled out an online survey. When their portion of the survey was complete, their partner completed a separate survey that was linked back to the workers’. The combined responses from the initial contact and the partner constituted one complete response in the study database.
Questions in the employee survey included; “How often does your supervisor use the following behaviors with you?” with example items being ‘Tells me my thoughts or feelings are stupid,’ ‘Expresses anger at me when he/she is mad for another reason,’ ‘Puts me down in front of others,’ and ‘Tells me I’m incompetent.’
Questions in the partner survey included; ‘During the past month, how often did you . . .’ feel irritated or resentful about things your (husband/wife/partner) did or didn’t do’ and ‘feel tense from fighting, arguing or disagreeing with your (husband/wife/partner).’
“Abusive supervision is a workplace reality and this research expands our understanding of how this stressor plays out in the employee’s life beyond the workplace, Carlson added.