Rude Behavior in Workplace Costs More Than Hurt Feelings

by Cathy Miller on February 5, 2013

in Health and Wellness

bigstock-Stressed-businesswoman-working-19469015Where’s Miss Manners when you need her?

If a report from Harvard Business Review typifies behavior in the workplace, perhaps the advice column should be required reading.

Rude behavior is the order of the day and it costs businesses big time.

For many workers, it’s the adult version of bullying. The report describes The Price of Incivility.

The High Cost of Rude Behavior

If misery loves company, then workers have many who feel their pain.

An astounding 98 percent of workers responding to Harvard Business Reviews’ polls experienced uncivil behavior in the workplace.

From bosses to coworkers, the nastiness is spreading faster than the latest flu strain.

The graphic below illustrates the impact of such behavior to a company’s bottom line.


Cost of Incivility

Total Health Plan

Human resource (HR) professionals know the secret to getting the attention of senior executives is money talk. Demonstrate initiatives that enhance the company’s financial outlook, and you will have the ear of the C-suite.

As a result, increased productivity is HR’s rallying cry for selling bosses on corporate wellness programs.

  • An unhealthy workforcce = decreased productivity
  • Increase productivity, improve the return on investment (ROI)
  • Improve employees’ health – increase productivity – improve ROI

Employee health goes beyond physical health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) expanded the definition of health.

A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity

When companies ignore the mental and social well-being of their employees, they risk more than lost productivity.

Beyond Rude

Do you ever wonder if our acceptance of rude behavior opens the door to more serious consequences?

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration reported nearly 2 million Americans have been victims of workplace violence. And that is only those who reported the violence.

Unchecked behavior has the potential for escalating way beyond rudeness.

The Price of Incivility offers insight to an all too common occurrence.  It’s an interesting read with stories and suggestions for creating an environment that refuses to accept rude behavior as the norm.

Now that’s enough to make Miss Manners smile.

What do you think?

Has rude behavior gotten worse in the workplace?


Helping you Keep it simple, clear & uniquely yours – contact me for help with your business writing needs. Visit my business blog, Simply stated business.


BigStock Photo Credit

BigStock Photo Credit (icons)


Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim Lemon February 5, 2013 at 9:04 am

This very problem has had a devastating effect on my workplace. Sessions with an employee relations mediator are currently being conducted. It has been a long journey and will probably continue throughout 2013. I hope things can change for the better…but I’m not so sure. So much damage has been done.
Thanks for posting this information, Cathy.


Cathy February 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

I am so sorry to hear that, Kim. I have been in similar situations in my corporate days, and the effects can be very devastating. I am glad to hear your employer has taken steps to help through an employee relations mediator. I wish you comfort and good health.

Thanks for sharing your story, Kim. It’s an important message to get out.


Anne Wayman February 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Ninety-eight percent? Doesn’t seem possible actually. Glad I left that particular zoo for ghostwriting books and other stuff long ago.
Anne Wayman´s last blog post ..Anne’s Writing Credits / ResumeMy Profile


Cathy February 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

It does seem high, Anne. And I am always skeptical about statistics; however, it all depends on how the responder defines uncivil behavior. If it’s ever experiencing a rude comment, I’m surprised it’s not 100%. ;-)


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: