סמינר בהתנהגות ארגונית
When small offenses have major negative consequences: Effects of rudeness on individuals and teams functioning
פרופ' אמיר ארז
Rude and disrespectful behaviors are very prevalent in organizations—and the situation is getting worse. One-fourth of employees polled in the US in 1998 said they were treated rudely once or more a week, by 2013 that number had risen to nearly half. But is rudeness a real problem? Can’t just people ignore rudeness or simply “get over it” and go about their daily tasks? For the past decade, along with multiple co-authors I have focused on learning more about some objective effects of rudeness. Overall, we found that rudeness directly affects cognition. Those who encounter rudeness cannot pay attention to information, don’t remember information, solve problems less well, and perform poorly on various tasks. In turn, in multiple studies we found that rudeness has devastating effects on individuals and groups performance. For example, in one study we found that relatively mild rude comments from an external source explained 47% of the variance in medical teams’ abilities to perform well tasks such as resuscitating, ventilating, treating shock, and ordering and mixing medications. In another study we found that exposure to rudeness caused both anesthesiology residents and medical students to be locked onto an erroneous first diagnosis. In another study we found that incidents of rudeness during surgeries had significant effect on adverse outcomes for patients. Overall, our studies show that many of these effects are immediate, devastating to individuals and teams performance, and they are not under the conscious control of individuals and therefore people cannot simply “get over it.” Thus, our findings suggest that rudeness can tarnish a culture and that it can take a toll on people and organizations in multiple ways.