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Study: Lone wolf employees more likely to lash out

Posted on November 9th, 2011 Read time: 1 minutes

According to a study from various U.S. and Canadian universities soon to be published in the Academy of Management Journal, disconnected employees are more likely to commit workplace sabotage, HREOnline reports.

Researchers conducted two separate field studies for the report. They hypothesized that the more disconnected a worker is from his or her organization, the more likely the person is to undermine his or her peers or company.

"At first, I thought being engaged with the group would make you more comfortable hurting others," Michelle Duffy, a professor at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and lead author of the report, told the news source. "But what emerged was that people engaged with the group have humanized these people so they would be less likely to hurt them."

She added that when someone identifies as a "lone wolf," they become less inhibited and are more likely to take drastic action.

Duffy believes that in order to prevent these situations, HR administration should enforce climates of respect and find the "sweet spot" that combines healthy, productive competition with unity.

A 2009 Weber Shandwick and Economist Intelligence Unit study revealed that 66 percent of global executives are unaware employees are badmouthing their companies via the internet, notes MarketingCharts. 

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