We know that change in the workplace causes stress for employees, which can manifest itself in destructive behaviours like ‘go slows’, long lunches, and stealing office supplies. All of these things cost the business in terms of both finances and productivity. Typically advice to managers is to weather the initial storm and things will then settle down.
It seems that advice is wrong. The latest research by Kevin Eschleman, Nathan Bowling and David LaHuis (read more here >>) have found these destructive behaviours can be felt weeks and months later than expected. It seems that people who appeared to have initial good coping mechanisms respond destructively later on. And surprisingly, those workers seen as being more “agreeable” to the change are at least – or more often more likely – to engage in destructive behaviours, just later on and not initially.
Businesses can limit the potential for these destructive behaviours by being aware of the potential and ensuring employees have multiple options available to them to cope with workplace stress. Different workers cope with stress differently. Also, management cannot assume that just because the initial storm associated with change appears to be over, that it is indeed all over, as this research proves that is not the case.
The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.
P: 02 4980 2168
“The moderating effects of personality on the relationship between change in work stressors and change in counterproductive work behaviors” by Kevin J. Eschleman, Nathan A. Bowling and David LaHuis was published online Oct. 3 in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology and can be read at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/joop.12090/abstract