Dark Sides of Organizational Life: Hostility, Rivalry, Gossip, Envy and other Difficult Behaviors 2022055084, 9781032454290, 9781032454337, 9781003376972

Exploring the darkest side of organizations may have a potential to change our previous assumptions about business life.

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Dark Sides of Organizational Life: Hostility, Rivalry, Gossip, Envy and other Difficult Behaviors
 2022055084, 9781032454290, 9781032454337, 9781003376972

Table of contents :
Half Title
Series Information
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
1 Nepotism
Individual Factors in Nepotism
Experience and Education
Cultural Values
Personal Objectives
Familial Factors in Nepotism
Position in Organization
Positive/negative Situations
Family Goals and Values
Finances and Socioeconomic Status
Generational Status
Degree of Kinship
Organizational Factors in Nepotism
Positive/negative Situations
Company Goals and Values
HR Selection Policies
Available Opportunities
Company Size
Company Age
Applicant Pool
Family-owned Versus Nonfamily-Owned Businesses
Concluding Remarks
2 Mobbing
Basic Concepts
Mobbing and Violence
Mobbing and Bullying
Mobbing and Conflict
Mobbing and Sexual Harassment
Process of Mobbing
Causes of Mobbing
Characteristics of Mobbers
Causes Associated With Victim’s Personality Traits
Causes Associated With Organizational Culture and Structure
Consequences of Mobbing
Effects of Mobbing On the Victim
Effects of Mobbing On the Organization
Effects of Mobbing at Societal and National Level
Coping With Mobbing
Coping as an Individual
Coping as an Organization
3 Dysfunctional Conflict: Antecedents and Outcomes
When Does Conflict Become Dysfunctional?
Minimizing Dysfunctional Outcomes
4 Burnout Syndrome
Defining Burnout Syndrome
Theoretical Bases of Burnout Syndrome
Conservation of Resources Theory
Job Demands–resources Theory
Six Areas of Work-Life Theory
Cherniss’ Theory of Burnout
Golembiewski’s Theory of Burnout
Leiter’s Process Theory of Burnout
Perspectives of Burnout Syndrome
Individual Perspective
Contextual/organizational Perspective
Regulatory Perspective
How to Effectively Deal With Burnout Syndrome?
5 Psychological Harassment at Work
Definition of Psychological Harassment
Causes of Psychological Harassment
Personal Factors
Work Environment
Organizational Structure
Organizational Culture, Organizational Climate, and Psychological Harassment
Social Values, Norms, and Modernization
Modernization and Change in Working Life
People Involved in Psychological Harassment
Models of Psychological Harassment
Comparing Psychological Harassment With Similar Concepts
Bullying Vs. Harassment
Sexual Harassment at Work
Stalking (Abusive Behavior)
Cyber Harassment
Impact of Psychological Harassment On Organizations
Organizational Responses to Psychological Harassment
Legislation On Psychological Harassment
6 The Glass Ceiling
Concept of the “Glass Ceiling”
Current Global Perceptions of the Glass Ceiling
Glass Ceiling Barriers
Societal Barriers
Organizational Barriers
Personal/individual Barriers
How the Glass Ceiling Works
Glass Ceiling in the 21st Century
How to Shatter the Glass Ceiling
Corporate Culture
Balancing Multiple Roles
Leadership Development
Government Practices
Political Changes
7 Organizational Silence
Concept of Organizational Silence
Evolution of Organizational Silence: Research and Theory
Types of Organizational Silence
Deviant Silence
Relational Silence
Defensive Silence
Diffident Silence
Ineffectual Silence
Disengaged Silence
Antecedents of Organizational Silence
Consequences of Organizational Silence
Future Research On Organizational Silence
8 Understanding Alienation
History and Evolution of “Alienation”
Operationalization of the Concept
Related Concepts
Studies On the Relationship of Alienation With Other Organizational Behavior Variables
Work Alienation
The Causes of Work Alienation
The Effects of Work Alienation
Work Alienation Scales
Organizational Alienation
Occupational Alienation
9 Counterproductive Aspects of Teamwork
Social Comparison Theory
Leader–member Exchange Theory
Social Loafing
Groupthink Theory
Antecedent Conditions
Type A Antecedents: Decision Makers Constitute a Cohesive Group
Type B1 Antecedents: Structural Faults of the Organization
Type B2 Antecedents: Provocative Situational Context
Symptoms of Groupthink
Type 1 Symptoms: Overestimation of Group
Type 2 Symptoms
Type 3 Symptoms
Moderator Variables
Social Identity Maintenance Approach to Groupthink
How to Prevent Groupthink
Empirical and Experimental Research On Groupthink
Concluding Remarks

Citation preview


Dark Sides of Organizational Life

Exploring the darkest side of organizations may have a potential to change our previous assumptions about business life. Scholars both in management and organizational research fields have shown interest in the “bright” side of behavioral life and have looked for the ways to create a positive organizational climate and assumed a positive relation between happiness of employees and productivity. These main assumptions of the Human Relations School have dominated the scientific inquiry on organizational behavior. However, “the dark side of organizational life” may have more explanatory power than “the bright side”. Hostility, jealousy, envy, rivalry, gossip, problematic personalities, dislike, revenge and social exclusion are the realities of business life. A manager may devote most of their time to cope with conflicts, deviant behaviors, ambitious individuals, gossips and dysfunctional rivalry among employees. It is evident that negative events and interactions among employees cost more time and energy for a manager than the positive side of organizational life. This edited collection specifically focuses on these issues and will be of interest to researchers, academics and advanced students in the fields of management, organizational studies and behavior, sociology, social psychology and human resource management. H. Cenk Sözen, Ph.D., is Professor of Management at Başkent University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Management, Ankara, Turkey. H. Nejat Basım, Ph.D., is Professor of Management at Başkent University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Management, Ankara, Turkey.


Routledge Studies in Management, Organizations and Society

This series presents innovative work grounded in new realities, addressing issues crucial to an understanding of the contemporary world. This is the world of organized societies, where boundaries between formal and informal, public and private, local and global organizations have been displaced or have vanished, along with other nineteenth century dichotomies and oppositions. Management, apart from becoming a specialized profession for a growing number of people, is an everyday activity for most members of modern societies. Similarly, at the level of enquiry, culture and technology, and literature and economics, can no longer be conceived as isolated intellectual fields; conventional canons and established mainstreams are contested. Management, Organizations and Society addresses these contemporary dynamics of transformation in a manner that transcends disciplinary boundaries, with books that will appeal to researchers, students and practitioners alike. Recent titles in this series include: Knowledge Communication in Global Organisations Making Sense of Virtual Teams Nils Braad Petersen Proximity and the Cluster Organization Anna Maria Lis and Adrian Lis Dark Sides of Organizational Life Hostility, Rivalry, Gossip, Envy and other Difficult Behaviors Edited by H. Cenk Sözen and H. Nejat Basım Leadership and Organizational Sustainability The Knowledge Management Approach Edited by Elia Socorro Díaz Nieto, David Israel Contreras Medina and Roberto Tuda Rivas


Dark Sides of Organizational Life Hostility, Rivalry, Gossip, Envy and other Difficult Behaviors Edited by H. Cenk Sözen and H. Nejat Basım


First published 2023 by Routledge 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158 and by Routledge 4 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2023 selection and editorial matter, H. Cenk Sözen and H. Nejat Basım; individual chapters, the contributors The right of H. Cenk Sözen and H. Nejat Basım to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-​in-​Publication Data Names: Sözen, H. Cenk, editor. | Basım, H. Nejat, editor. Title: Dark sides of organizational life : hostility, rivalry, gossip, envy and other difficult behaviors / edited by H. Cenk Sözen and H. Nejat Basım. Description: 1 Edition. | New York : Routledge, 2023. | Series: Routledge studies in management, organizations and society | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2022055084 | ISBN 9781032454290 (hardback) | ISBN 9781032454337 (paperback) | ISBN 9781003376972 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Business ethics. | Organizational behavior. | Nepotism. | Interpersonal relations. | Work environment. Classification: LCC HF5387 .D277 2023 | DDC 174/.4–dc23/eng/20230123 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2022055084 ISBN: 978-​1-​032-​45429-​0 (hbk) ISBN: 978-​1-​032-​45433-​7 (pbk) ISBN: 978-​1-​003-​37697-​2 (ebk) DOI: 10.4324/​9781003376972 Typeset in Bembo by Newgen Publishing UK



Preface Biographies

vii ix

1 Nepotism



2 Mobbing



3 Dysfunctional conflict: Antecedents and outcomes



4 Burnout syndrome



5 Psychological harassment at work



6 The glass ceiling



7 Organizational silence



8 Understanding alienation M E RAL KI ZRAK , HAK AN TURGUT, AND I ̇ SMAIL TOKM A K



vi Contents

9 Counterproductive aspects of teamwork







“There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told.” Edgar Allan Poe

In our previous book entitled The Dark Side of Organizational Behavior, we tried to emphasize that the literature on organizational studies has mostly focused on examining the positive aspects of business life. This has been a significant trend since the initial steps of Human Relations Movement 100 years ago. However, the realities surrounding modern day managers are quite different from what has been assumed. Organizational participants do not only bring their helpful, cooperative, polite, enthusiastic and idealistic features but also their ambitions, desires, hostile feelings, biases and internal conflicts into the organizations. Managers must cope preferably with the negative aspects of human behavior to benefit from the positive sides of organizational actors. We attempted to discuss main negative behavioral outcomes such as emotions, cynicism, discrimination, toxic leadership, pragmatic usage of power, deviant behaviors and negative interactions in our previous book. There are also other individual or group level issues that refer to extreme negative cases in organizations. In this book our aim is to examine more undesirable aspects of organizational life. Therefore, we have decided to explore all kinds of problematic behaviors and searched the relevant literature to publish a book entitled The Dark Side of Organizational Behavior. Human Relations School emerged as an anti-​unionist approach that had extensively sought ways to help managers socialize with the employees. The founders and intellectual descendants of this school of thought have tried to develop behavioral tools that may help the modern managerial elite. This attempt can be considered as an effective mechanism to reduce the impact of unions on the workers, but the current conditions in business life is quite different, and require much effort of managers to deal with multiple facets of behavioral life in organizations. Social media applications and the abilities of the workers to use that technology have exponentially increased their influential capacity regardless of their educational levels. Anybody can easily address various problems in a workplace via social media platforms. It is possible to state that the representational role of unions is currently open


viii Preface to debate. These contemporary developments may require a postmodern “Human Relations Movement”, which aims at providing advanced tools for today’s managers to cope with negative behavioral outputs of the workers. This book may become one of the academic sources that can contribute to achieve such an aim. The chapters of the book will present negative issues such as nepotism, mobbing, dysfunctional conflict, burnout syndrome, glass ceiling, organizational silence, alienation and counterproductive teamwork. We hope the book will open new insights for academics as well as practitioners. H. Cenk Sözen, H. Nejat Basım Book Editors



Editors H. Cenk Sözen, Ph.D., is Professor of Management at Başkent University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Management, Ankara, Turkey. His interests and research areas include organization theory, organizational change, social networks, social capital, complex systems, strategic HRM and knowledge management. He lectures on organizational behavior, organization theory, human resource management and strategic management. He has worked as a reviewer and published articles in the journals such as Journal of Management Inquiry, Personnel Review, European Management Review, Property Management and International Journal of Human Resource Management. He is a member of EURAM (European Academy of Management) and AOM (Academy of Management). H. Nejat Basım, Ph.D., is Professor of Management at Başkent University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Management, Ankara, Turkey. His interest areas are organizational behavior, strategic management and human resource management. He has impressive research papers on organizational citizenship, organizational learning, resilience, positive psychology and conflict resolution.

Authors Meral Kızrak, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Management and Organization at Başkent University, Ankara, Turkey, where she received her Ph.D. in 2019. She teaches Developing Managerial Skills, Contemporary Management, Organization Development and International Management in the Business Administration program. Besides her academic career, Kızrak is serving as a Vice-​Director of the School of Foreign Languages at Başkent University, and as a Quality Advisor to an international education company. Mehmet Ali Ekemen, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Management and Vice-​Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at European University of Lefke, Northern Cyprus, where he has been working


x Biographies since 2014. From 2015 to 2019, he served as the Faculty Coordinator. During 2000–​2013, he was a faculty member at American University of Girne, Faculty of Business and Economics, Northern Cyprus. His areas of research interests include strategic management theory across different contexts, SME institutionalization and growth, business model innovation, corporate performance, strategic, organizational and technological change, ICT integration. He teaches Introduction to Business, Principles of Management, Small Business Management, Management and Organizations, Data Analysis for Business and Advanced Strategic Management at undergraduate and graduate levels. Tahir Yeşilada, Ph.D., is a full-​ time faculty member at European University of Lefke, Northern Cyprus. He completed his Ph.D. in Business Administration. His main research interests include leadership, organizational power, business and social entrepreneurship, and innovation among others. His teaching background blends Human Resource Management, Crisis Management, Strategic Management, International Business and Business Communication both at undergraduate and graduate levels. Hakan Karabacak, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor at Social Sciences University, Audit and Risk Management Department, Ankara, Turkey. His main research interests involve particularly game theory, strategy, negotiation, communication, family business, risk management, conflict management. He teaches Game Theory and Risk Management, Strategic Decisions, Effective Communication Skills, Negotiation Methods and Techniques at graduate levels. Ünsal Sığrı, Ph.D., is Professor of Management at Ostim Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. He teaches Management, Leadership, Group Dynamics, Social Psychology, Organization Development and Change, Cross Cultural Management, Conflict Resolution, Negotiation and military sociology at undergraduate and graduate levels. Abülkadir Varoğlu, Ph.D., is Professor of Management at Başkent University, Department of Management, Ankara, Turkey. His key interest areas are strategic management, human resource management, organizational behavior and military sociology. He has research papers on leadership, employee motivation, personality, organizational culture and conflict management. Ufuk Başar, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of management and organization at Istanbul Aydin University, Turkey. His area of research focuses on organizational behavior. His studies cover such topics as leadership, burnout, organizational politics, emotional labor and personality. He gives lectures on organizational behavior, organizational theory and modern management approaches.


Biographies xi Harun Şeşen, Ph.D., is Professor at European University of Lefke, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Northern Cyprus. He completed his Ph.D. on Defense Management. His main research interests include such topics as entrepreneurship, leadership, negative behaviors in organizations, overqualification and positive psychological capital. He teaches Organizational Behavior, Theories of Organizations, Business Ethics and Human Resource Management at undergraduate and graduate levels. Ahmet Maşlakçi, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at Bahçeşehir Cyprus University, Lefkoşa, Northern Cyprus. He completed his Ph.D. on Business Administration. His main research interests are positive psychological capital, multiculturalism and entrepreneurial intentions. He is a senior manager in the private sector. He teaches business administration and organizational behavior at undergraduate and graduate levels. Lütfi Sürücü, Ph.D., is a guest lecturer at European Leadership University, Gazimagusa, Northern Cyprus. He completed his Ph.D. on Business Administration. His main research interests are leadership, organizational behavior, positive psychological capital. He is a manager at a public institution. Gözde İnal-​Cavlan, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at European University of Lefke, Department of Business Administration, Gemikonagi, Northern Cyprus. Her research interests include mainstream, ethnic minority and women entrepreneurship, career choice and work–​life balance. She teaches Organizational Behavior, Management Theory and Practice, International Business and Human Resource Management at undergraduate and graduate levels. She has published several book chapters on entrepreneurship topics in international books and papers in journals including Journal of Management Development, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Journal and Career Development International Journal. Şenay Sahil Ertan, Ph.D., is working as a lecturer at European Leadership University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Business Administration, Gazimagusa, Northern Cyprus. She completed her Ph.D. on Human Resource Management. Her recent research interests include human resource management practices, gender and self-​ employed women. Murat Güler, Ph.D., is a researcher and Assistant Professor in management at Ömer Halisdemir University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Niğde, Turkey. His main research interests are organizational behavior, organizational cognition, organizational silence, job engagement, well-​being and stress. He teaches business management sciences. Metin Ocak, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor at Toros University, Faculty of Economics, Administrative and Social Sciences, Department of Business



xii Biographies Administration, Mersin, Turkey. He completed his Ph.D. on Defense Management. His main research interests lie particularly in management and strategy, including such topics as positive organizational psychology, transformative leadership, strategic management in organizations, corporate entrepreneurship and crisis management. He teaches Organizational Behavior, Contemporary Approaches in Management, Global Business, Strategic Management and Human Resource Management at undergraduate and graduate levels. İsmail Tokmak, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at Başkent University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Design and Architecture. He completed his Ph.D. on Management and Organization. His main research areas are leadership theories, psychological capital, human resource management practices, work alienation and innovation in organizations. He teaches Organizational Behavior, Management and Organization, Conflict Management and Negotiation Techniques, and Organizational Communication at undergraduate and graduate levels. Hakan Turgut, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at Başkent University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Design and Architecture, Ankara, Turkey. He completed his Ph.D. on Management and Organization. He works in the fields of human resource management and organizational behavior. Organizational behavior, organizational identification, work alienation and psychological capital stand out among his research interests. He teaches Contemporary Management, Management and Organization, Global Business and Human Resource Management at undergraduate and graduate levels. Alperen Öztürk is currently a Lecturer of Management and Organization at Başkent University, where he received her Ph.D. in 2018. His thesis title was “The Directing Role of Institutional Logics, Social Skills and Social Learning in the Relationship Between Traditionality-​Modernity and Professionalism Level”. So far, he has taught Organization Theory, Strategic Management, Organizational Behavior, Social Psychology and Case Analysis. Besides his academic career, Alperen is serving as Erasmus Coordinator and Online Education Support Advisor at The Başkent University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Business Administration.


1 Nepotism Mehmet Ali Ekemen

Introduction In a workplace setting, nepotism is traditionally considered to occur once it is one’s duty to take on family business, and when that person chooses or, as often happens, is expected to do so (Bellow, 2003). Nepotism is usually conceived in an adverse favoritism framework where spouses and family members are employed in the same business (Laker and Williams, 2003). The employment of close friends sometimes falls in this concept, as favoritism among peers and friends is often assumed in a way that resembles their existence inside family lines (Ford and McLaughlin, 1986).The discussion of nepotism in this chapter does not involve family friends though they may be rationally incorporated into the concept. Domestic partners of same or opposite sex couples are also considered relevant to nepotism as long as they are in a lawfully specified partnership. Domestic partners are regarded equally to traditional married people in institutional environments (Reed and Friedman, 2005). For instance, domestic partners in many institutions may qualify for the same advantages as married people, and be subject to the same regulations. Domestic partners have become increasingly widespread and supported by a large number of persons in organizations. The concept of nepotism relates to a recruitment or promotion approach that takes place in an institutional framework among family members. Notwithstanding the adverse implications and focus on its adverse effects in the literature, nepotism itself is supposed to be neutral, that is, neither positive nor negative. Somehow, nepotism determines its good or bad features through its practice (Schulze et al., 2001). Nepotism often involves preferential treatment that entails unfair benefits, more opportunities for discrimination and inevitable threat of lawsuits among families, married couples or domestic partners (Laker and Williams, 2003). In the 1980s, strategies that sought to prevent disputes gave rise to negative effects on married partners and women (Ford and McLaughlin, 1986; Reed, 1988; Wexler, 1982). Acknowledging the moral and legal implications of nepotism, most businesses started implementing anti-​nepotism measures in the 1950s (Wexler, 1982). As a result, an intense DOI: 10.4324/9781003376972-1


2  Mehmet Ali Ekemen debate concerning measures against nepotism started in the 1980s that flourished the literature. In the 1990s however, research on the issue seemed to slow down. Then, a book by Bellow (2003) sparked a discussion about whether nepotism was really an inappropriate recruitment exercise, or a mindset that favored businesses and mankind as a whole and could add to their very existence. Conway (2004) highlights the ability of nepotism to benefit businesses strongly. The key assumption is that nepotism is a technique that provides institutions with a competitive edge for those that engage and encourage people with personal understanding of a specific company due to their history and blood ties. Endorsing the opportunities of an unethical act such as nepotism is a concept that many people do not readily accept, yet it fascinates several who have ideas about exorbitant company advantages arising from a placement method (Dyer, 2006). The immediate benefits of nepotism have been dynastic in scale, leading to family and corporate dynasties that have encompassed society over the years and will continue in the future (e.g., the Rockefeller, Ford and Kennedy families). It is thus rational to comprehend why individuals and organizations both would like to benefit from such action as nepotism if it is indeed a method capable of offering such important benefits. It is therefore only rational to scientifically examine any possible benefits before implementing anti-​nepotism policies in the light of the potentially significant drawbacks combined with nepotism (e.g., discrimination, lawsuits and strong adverse effects). In general, some factors play a key role in the choice of exercising or participating in nepotism in an organization. Nepotism may include any action from recruitment to advancement, from output assessments to supervisory procedures. Although many of the previous discussions rather focused on recruitment or promotional methods, nepotism is still thought to be any type of favorable care given to family members and not anyone else in the same organization. The extension and acceptance of a nepotism offer is based on the three groups of factors outlined below; namely, individual, familial and organizational factors. For example, the nepotee’s current state of affairs will influence whether the contract is made because a family member, the entire family or the company may agree to extend the nepotism offer only if the prospective nepotee has the appropriate training, job experience or motivation for the job. Likewise, as mentioned below, if a nepotee lacks some of these features, s/​he may decide not to accept the deal of nepotism.

Individual factors in nepotism Experience and education The concept of nepotism has evolved in time from traditional forms of nepotism into new forms of nepotism, or the so-​called contemporary nepotism. The main difference between the two is the decision. This distinction


Nepotism 3 supports the significance of the individual’s job experience and training as a variable that will affect whether nepotism occurs or not. The concepts that have traditionally been associated with the word nepotism describe old nepotism; the concept that fathers are recruiting or finding employment for their children, often pushing them into family business irrespective of experience or employment skills (Bloom and Van Reenen, 2007). Contemporary nepotism happens when children want to continue in the footsteps of their fathers, instead of fathers recruiting or receiving employment for their children that must be seen as opportunism by skilled children (Naldi et al., 2013). Albeit skeptical about the values of contemporary nepotism, some fresh concepts are offered that the earlier concepts lacked. Traditional nepotism encourages dynastic values. In other words, traditional nepotism is based more on family ties rather than a person’s accomplishments or qualifications (Cruz et al., 2010). The new nepotism is meritocratic, because nepotees are exposed to elevated levels comparable to other employed people and, if they fail, the community tends to punish them more severely nepotees than non-​nepotees in failure.The nepotee’s previous job and training are two significant variables in contemporary nepotism cases. The reason is that nepotees are often considered to be incompetent or inexperienced merely because they are recruited with family relationships in mind as is the bias observed in the positive response literature. However, this is usually not the outcome. Nepotees appear to have a good deal of understanding and money because they are usually grown in and around the company. Furthermore, with regard to modern nepotism, in the face of failure, a potential nepotee will not take a job for which s/​he is far unqualified. Bellow (2003) suggests that job experience and training are considered to be the attributes of nepotism that should and, in many instances, influence whether or not nepotism occurs. Personality The second component of contemporary nepotism is opportunism, linked to character and motivation. Contemporary nepotism is opportunistic, which means that children must only be encouraged to use their family title and privileged childhood.The readiness to use a scenario like nepotism was linked to a motivating need called self-​determination (Stout, 2006). The ideas of Deci and Ryan on intrinsic and extrinsic incentive form the basis for self-​ determination (Deci and Ryan, 1985, 2000; Gagne and Deci, 2005; Ryan and Deci, 2000). In short, principle of self-​determination espouses that people are inspired when behavior is voluntarily selected and reflects individual decisions and principles (Gagne and Deci, 2005). In other terms, individuals have an inherent willingness to see themselves as creators of their own behaviors, and are intrinsically motivated to follow the mission or the required behavior when offered the chance for self-​determination (Deci and Ryan, 1985). By taking contemporary nepotism and opportunism, Stout (2006) distinguishes between self-​ determined nepotism and coercive nepotism.


4  Mehmet Ali Ekemen Self-​determined nepotism happens when a person chooses to give up a position in a family company only if s/​he believes that a job is a personal decision and a required professional route. On the other side, coercive nepotism takes place once the nepotee takes a job with a sense of coercion, as s/​he is compelled by a member of the family to take the job. The notion of traditional nepotism is most strongly expressed by coercive nepotism but not self-​determined. Stout (2006) also describes a third form of nepotism, opportunistic nepotism that implies that the person may receive a position from the family only because the position is easy to obtain and the advantage is considered. Opportunistic nepotism should be seen as a midway point in the continuum of coercive and self-​determined nepotism. It is not all about being compelled to work or selecting a job as it may fall into the professional route you want. Opportunistic nepotism happens when a position is taken merely because it opens the way at the correct moment and a task is effortlessly accomplished. Cultural values Culture is seen as an individual-​level factor that emphasizes its role in deciding if and how nepotism is considered. Collectivism and individualism were first popularized by Hofstede in 1980 as a group-​level concept. Collectivism has a focus on the well-​being of the entire group or family. In comparison, individualism is distinguished by a focus on the individual and the freedom of a person (Hofstede, 1980). Since the culture is becoming more multicultural, examining elements of cultural identification regarding nepotism is possible to provide a good understanding of how and when nepotism is taking place in a nation and around the globe. As nepotism is in the interests of our families, collectivists may have more favorable feelings and behaviors toward nepotism than individualists. In collectivist societies, nepotism may be more prevalent compared to individualistic societies. This may make collectivists more easily embrace nepotism and/​or have more positive responses to nepotism in contrast to individualistic societies. Even though culture was initially modelled as group-​ level variable (Hofstede, 1980), culture may be considered as a person’s willingness to behave in a number of respects; an approach relying on how the person was brought up and the kind of cultural context (Robert and Wasti, 2002; Triandis, 1996; Triandis et al., 1995; Triandis et al., 1985). Intentions Scholars have highlighted the function of expectations as a strong determinant of actual conduct over years. A series of designs and studies have revealed that turnover intentions not only mediate the connection between job and real turnover, but also generally represent one of the strongest


Nepotism 5 determinants of turnover (Griffeth et al., 2000; Tett and Meyer, 1993). In the framework of nepotism, intentions will also serve a vital part in determining whether or not nepotism occurs. Welle (2004) asserts that prospective nepotee’s motives to seek the benefit of a recruitment scenario may influence whether an order is created or received, as well as nepotee’s views of honesty and eventual expectations. Sometimes a nepotee tries to disguise his/​her identity by applying to an organization or for a particular job to make sure the choice is based on performance alone. When a position is provided without a family relationship recognized by the organization, the prospective nepotee may acknowledge this deal more often, especially if the person is self-​determined. On other occasions, nepotees may unequivocally recognize their family link with the company and their willingness to use it to assist them to reach the expected status. In this scenario, the nepotee will most probably embrace the deal as soon as it is offered, given that the use of the family link provides an expected benefit for ensuring a position deal, with all other variables constant. While Welle’s (2004) view was on the effects of a nepotee hiding or asserting a family’s links in an institutional placement scenario, it was clear how the deliberate motive of a nepotee to use the family ties might have a strong impact on whether or not an allocation was created. References are among the strongest methods of obtaining employment (Rynes, 1991). In addition, choosing people proposed from within the organization has proved to be high-​value hiring strategies that result in lower turnovers and superior job performance than choosing externally (Zottoli and Wanous, 2000). Personal objectives Besides robust qualities such as self-​determination and work-​related and non-​ work-​ related dispositions, a prospective nepotee’s non-​ disposition variables should not be overlooked and may include elements such as personal objectives, mission and financial condition. In her family business choice model, Parker (2004) encompasses these elements under the current family and business situations. These elements are expanded to cover the objectives, missions and finances of the nepotee according to the framework. The personal goals and tasks of a specific person will be to determine if they reap the benefits of an opportunity available and what type of opportunity they may be prepared to take or pursue. The existing financial status of the prospective nepotee will also be another significant, non-​dispositional factor whether an individual decides to take benefit of a nepotism scenario. If the probable nepotee is socially successful and does not need a status, then s/​ he may refuse a nepotism scenario, even if it prevents feasible adverse and sometimes embarrassing effects many people often link with nepotism. Even so, if the nepotee needs a status and/​or is trying a paid position greater than presently owned, this may be a justification for nepotism if the chance arises. The socioeconomic status is closely linked to one’s economic position.


6  Mehmet Ali Ekemen Gender Over the course of time, passing the family property usually involved putting the family business and all related elements of the company in the possession of the firstborn son, also known as primogeniture (Flandrin, 1979). Bellow (2003) describes a number of instances where the firstborn son receives all or most family privileges, including biblical and colonial advantages. For instance, the English primogeniture system was the one where sons were kept for work and, afterward, the legacy of the property. But on the other side, daughters were preserved for marriage with nearby families and generally did not have rights on family property or business. During the 19th and 20th centuries, women’s movement and interest on women’s freedoms and equality in the labor force in particular led to a less frequent and less favorable use of primogeniture (Friedan, 1963, 1981). It is now shown that parents more frequently endorse the concept of fair legacy or that family resources are split fairly between all siblings including girls (Gilding, 2005). Despite the absence of empirical proof and significant historical part played by gender in nepotism, gender may still be regarded as a criterion in decision-​making. Furthermore, the existence of gender and wage inequality in contemporary organizations (Ferraro, 1984; Figart, 2000; Gibelman, 2003; Levin, 1986) reflects the reality that gender remains a significant factor in several organizational actions such as promotional and pay options.

Familial factors in nepotism Expectations Similar to the expectations of the nepotee, the attitudes, objectives and perceptions of a family will impact whether a grant of nepotism is accorded to a nepotee and whether it is approved. A theoretical basis for this suggested relation lies in Schneider’s (1987) attraction-​selection-​attrition (ASA) approach. As shown in the ASA framework, the concordance between the principles, expectations, opinions and/​or wants of an organization improves the possibility of people drawn to a company. In turn, the organization is more likely to pick a person who is closely related to the company in terms of culture, objective, strategy and wants. The principle is that interrelation between beliefs and objectives impacts turnover so that persons will stay in the company more probably once they are chosen when their interrelation is large. Those with incongruous beliefs and objectives strive to quit either willingly or unintentionally, leading to a rise in the company’s sameness over life. The ASA framework is well suited to the suggested model of nepotism. For instance, a family may only give an offer of nepotism to a family member if his/​her potential beliefs and objectives are consistent with the company


Nepotism 7 and the family. Similarly, a prospective nepotee will only accept an offer of nepotism from the family if the beliefs and objectives of the family suit the nepotee’s. The perceptions of the family may be simply differentiated in terms of beliefs and objectives. If the family does not think that the nepotee meets the standards, the possibility of nepotism will be reduced. Likewise, if the requirements of the family are impossibly high from the nepotee’s point of view, the possibility of the nepotee accepting the proposal will be low. The bilateral aspect of this connection extends to the beliefs, objectives and responsibilities of the family and company. Position in organization The status of the family in a company may affect who and what work is chosen. On the one side, if the family maintains a strong role in the company, claims top leadership, the possibility of a contract being transferred to a family affiliate may be higher than when the family kept a job that is weaker, depending solely on authority. The family holding a strong managerial role may only require the employee to be recruited. Moreover, the level of authority of the family in the company may also influence the possibility of nepotism. For instance, if the family maintains a strong status, the company’s rules and methods may be established or even changed as needed. Then the company will render its anti-​nepotism strategies under the control of the family if rigid strategies currently occur in the company. A strong leader can have the power to guarantee that nepotism in an organization can happen more explicitly. On the other side of the mirror, a powerful position can deter nepotism from occurring for a family member. An incident of nepotism will be more noticeable in powerful roles than a nepotee employed by the manager at relatively low level in the company. Evidence supports the concept that the company is eventually liable for the negative results of the decision, even if a nepotee plans to use family relationships in the recruitment method (Welle, 2004). If so, a company may be highly reluctant to permit top-​ranking family employees to operate in the company and may introduce a ban. From the manager’s standpoint, overseeing a family affiliate of a lower-​level staff may be easier and less complicated in comparison to managing a relative of someone at a higher position in the company (Ford and McLaughlin, 1986). This offers another justification for an organization to discourage nepotism from the top levels of corporate hierarchy. In another respect, perhaps lower-​ ranked family members are more likely to offer their child or other family member for lower jobs than higher-​ranked family members. Higher-​level family members may or may not allow family affiliates to work in a company based on a variety of considerations including the beliefs of family members and even the ideologies of family heritage. This alone may affect the possibility of nepotism merely because there may be more accessible roles at the lower ranks of a company than at higher ranks.


8  Mehmet Ali Ekemen Inheritance The number of family members with ability or readiness to benefit from a nepotism scenario has a significant effect on when, how and to whom the nepotism deal is given and taken. Gilding (2005) identified that family mindset of legacy, together with the amount of prospective nepotees, may influence a family judgment about whom nepotism rewards. If parents have a fair legacy approach, all children are given an equal split of the income and property of the family. In extending the principle of equality to the nepotism scenario, all children are expected to benefit from nepotism in the same way, whether these benefits are in the family-​owned business or just whether all children are regarded as equivalent as the power the family holds in the same company. This implies that the amount of family affiliates who try to bring benefit of a possibility of nepotism may also influence those who choose to benefit from it and who benefit from the family inheritance. For instance, when there are more family affiliates than options, other variables like marriage and individual skills may be taken into account to assist the family in deciding on their ultimate choice. Some grants may only be given to the eldest child, and some deals may only be adopted once all prospective nepotees have agreed to a compromise that may or may not consider life order or experience. Gilding (2005) discovered that almost all families share an identical heritage philosophy, which may actually render a choice very difficult about nepotism. If it is too difficult for family members to choose, the parents may decide not to exercise nepotism at that moment or for that specific chance. In accordance with Parker’s (2004) approach, the family position and family objectives will also serve their part in the ultimate choice to close a nepotism deal. Positive/​negative situations According to Parker’s (2004) family business decision model, the favorable or poor existing position of the family as well as the objectives or tasks of the family are affected by decision-​making, particularly in the family-​owned business. As mentioned, it is easy to extend the variables and implications of family-​owned business’ choices to any firm in which two or more family employees operate for the same organization. The existing position in the family may be favorable or poor and multiple instances may be taken to define each. The suggested nepotism model is a favorable scenario, whereas an adverse scenario involves a family scenario, which may prevent the child from taking part in nepotism. Besides the instances mentioned above by Parker (2004), the favorable scenario in the family may also mean a strong level of confidence between the family and the prospective nepotee. Maybe the potential nepotee has shown reliability and readiness to comply with family norms and tasks over time and across circumstances both of which will promote a nepotism choice. But maybe the prospective nepotees and family employees have had a complicated


Nepotism 9 background that effectively causes the family to choose not to expand an option of nepotism at that moment. The same ambiguous scenario may also prevent the nepotee from accepting an option of nepotism at that moment. Family goals and values Whether the family scenario is good or bad, the family’s objectives and task will eventually influence nepotism. Parker (2004) offers an illustration of one family’s objective of trying to maintain the person near together and value family time with each other. This family objective and value cannot extend or accept an award of nepotism if a family employee has to move abroad to operate in the company. Indeed, the family has a task to assist the needy always, in which instance it may be essential to go overseas to carry out its family task if it meets some unsatisfied needs in another country. This task will also be incorporated into the other objectives and principles of the family before deciding on nepotism in the company. Many other instances of family objectives, task and principles may be drawn up and implemented in this context. The argument is that the values and objectives of the family eventually influence their decision of proposing a chance of nepotism and also the nepotee’s own individual decision to take the chance. Finances and socioeconomic status Parker (2004) argues that in a family business framework, if the danger in a choice is too large financially to the family, the existing family scenario will be considered adverse and the practice of decision-​making will not go further. The same may apply to any institutional environment. For instance, a family member may try to convince a prospective nepotee to participate in an unconsolidated company that carries economic and job security threats. However, maybe the household will not consider the possible nepotism to assist the person or the family to attain certain economic objectives, and so the possibility is reduced until there is another chance. The level of financial threat and economic rewards and objectives associated with this chance will influence nepotism in a manner comparable to that affecting any person or relatives selected for any position. Socioeconomic status in a nepotism scenario, on the other hand, may be a variable that needs special attention. Assessing the social status of a person or family is barely straightforward that may be described as upper, middle and lower status. Methodological defects and conceptual problems are sources of ambiguity in social status determination (Ming Liu et al., 2004). There is still a need for consensus on the concept of social status itself. The social status is characterized for some by earnings, for others by training or profession, and still others by prosperity and assets. The social status may reflect one’s family assets and culture or characterize one’s personal position in life (Miller, 2007; Ross, 1995). In various fields of studies, social status is still commonly regarded, despite the


10  Mehmet Ali Ekemen issues associated with its concept, as a significant determinant of important results and as a major determinant for nepotism. The nepotism takes place on all levels of social structure and is not limited to a number of individuals. Bellow (2003) strongly argues that nepotism has actually been a common middle-​class practice, although it is more frequently regarded as a high-​class practice. In an earlier study, Harder (2006) noticed that upper-​class persons had more positive view of nepotism than people in the middle or low classes. She argued that individuals in the upper classes might have more positive attitudes of the principle because they may be more comfortable with and benefit from nepotism than those in lower classes. Bellow (2003) heavily disagrees with this finding in his book and gives an appealing reasoning against it. Harder (2006) identified this and gave a more realistic answer: Perhaps persons in the upper classes see nepotism more favorably because rewards might be better. In other words, as families ascend in social hierarchy, their children are likely to gain more from being chosen for a chance than families at lower levels. Generational status Numerous studies were conducted in the family-​owned business literature on generational status; therefore, the present debate will refer to nepotism in the scope of family-​owned businesses. Most of the small businesses have a short life span and unexpectedly limited proportions are transferred to family members of the second generation (Gilding, 2005). Gilding (2005) also discovered that a lower percentage of family-​owned businesses are in the third, fourth and fifth generations, despite the acceptance of limitations to this finding. This finding is integrated in the current model in two respects. First, the profile of the prospective nepotee may influence his/​her decision to enter or advance in the family company. Second, the maturity of family company may determine which person is suitable as a prospective employee in the company, or if s/​he accepts the offer. In relation to the first level, perhaps the prospective nepotee has observed a family member, like a parent or even a grandparent, managing the family company along with being witness to all of the stresses involved. Perhaps the prospective nepotee has even seen a family member fight in an organization as a result of issues resulting from accusations of nepotism. Taking note of stress and demands for work alone may convince a nepotee not to take the offer of nepotism and, if it is indeed bad, may even cause a family not to make an offer of nepotism available for the good of the nepotee. One may also see how one family member of the second or third generation may choose not to continue in the footsteps of his/​her relatives, but rather choose to pursue a career in a separate business or profession out of willingness to be unique or to create freedom from the family. In fact, it is not unusual for children in the same family to show a willingness for


Nepotism 11 independence and to ask about their professional decision choices (Eckrich and Loughead, 1996), and it is easy to see how this experience may extend over many centuries when a family company is the dominant occupational option in the family. Regardless of the particular reason, Gilding (2005) notes that the generational status of the nepotee and the generational age of the firm affects the possibility of a family business retained in family hands. Furthermore, Gilding (2005) discovered that most research respondents did not consider the family business to be given over to their children and were more worried about the protection of family wealth than that of family business. Therefore, generational status seems to serve a part in whether or not nepotism plays role in family-​owned businesses. Degree of kinship The degree of kinship is predicated on the principle of kin selection and refers to the level or degree of the relationship between two family members. The principle of kin selection was confirmed in major studies and affirms that kin relatives were preferentially treated by the degree of DNA connectivity (Hamilton, 1964; Smith, 1964). Genetic relationships and inclusive fitness are, according to this principle, strongly weighted as significant factors in determining one’s behavior. The concept of inclusive fitness (Hamilton, 1964) describes one’s preferential consideration for the children as a manner to support one’s genes through succeeding centuries by claiming an additive feature of the individual’s own breeding (direct fitness), plus its action on the reproductive success of the family (indirect fitness). In essence, people are engaged in activities such as nepotism to achieve inclusive fitness rather than personal fitness by enhancing effective descendant’s development through kin choice (Hamilton, 1964; Spranger, 2005). Applied to an institutional environment, a concept of kin selection will indicate that nepotism is less common as the grade of relation decreases. Spranger (2005) discovered for instance that members of the family in a family-​owned business expect certain advantages that are not received by others in the company. But from the point of view of the nepotee, perceptions of nepotism may decrease as the degree of kinship decreases. Therefore, it is rational to assume that the kinship may influence whether a prospective nepotee participates in or even tries to exercise nepotism. From the family view, the degree of kinship may also serve a part in determining whether a family member is ready to give a prospective nepotee the advantages of nepotism. Based on the principle of kin selection, a family member may be less willing to demonstrate favoritism for another family member as the degree of kinship decreases, especially if closer kin are an alternative to distant relatives. If a family has to choose between employing own son or cousin, for instance, the family will probably choose own son over cousin.


12  Mehmet Ali Ekemen

Organizational factors in nepotism Positive/​negative situations Parker’s (2004) multilevel decision-​making system also requires family firms to closely consider the current business setting they have defined either as positive or negative. This model extends a favorable or adverse scenario to include nonfamily-​owned businesses. Parker (2004) described a favorable or adverse business condition as regards cash flows, most probably by examining a firm’s income statement or balance sheets. If more money flows into the firm than it goes out, it will be considered a favorable business condition. Favorable business conditions may be a great moment to start making a choice that may be more volatile than standard. Some argue that nepotism is a dangerous company decision and may be less efficient than other non-​nepotist companies (Hayajenh et al., 1994). But others do not consider this to be so (Bellow, 2003). Risky or not, a favorable company condition also gives the organization extra possibilities and may open gates for nepotism to be used as a method of selection. Company goals and values Before having a choice in the family-​ owned business, Parker (2004) acknowledged the significance of understanding the business objectives, principles, task and approach. Again, Parker’s (2004) logic is expanded to include every business, not just family companies. In any company, therefore, the choice to participate in nepotism is a good choice only if it comes in line with the company’s objectives and policies as long as those objectives and tactics correspond to the family. The objectives and policy of a company may also determine the possibilities where nepotism may happen. Suppose a company is in the process of reorganization to save expenses.The possibility of appointments or new hires is usually reduced through this period, hence the possibility of nepotism. Nepotism, however, is not limited only to recruitment and advancement, but may also come in the form of family members not laid-​off or reassigned during restructuring. Therefore, it may be more suitable to consider the values and objectives of the company to determine the form in which nepotism may happen at any given stage. As often mentioned in the mission, a company’s principles also impact the possibility of nepotism. Some companies are proud to promote family standards and principles in a company environment. Some organizations are committed to creating a family culture that generates stability, confidence, management continuity, high dedication and encouragement (Kets de Vries, 1993). If the company appreciates being a family, it will be no surprise to discover that they support nepotism and participate more frequently than companies that do not support these values. Furthermore, a nepotee may be more drawn to an organization, and will more probably acknowledge


Nepotism 13 a nepotism deal in a company that publicly supports family members and family values than one that does not. Companies that aim to be like a family, as opposed to others, may also have increased levels of nepotism. HR selection policies How a company decides to hire and which techniques are used in the recruitment method anticipate multiple results including which candidates qualify, which candidates are recruited and even eventual performance and turnover (Hausknecht et al., 2004; Ryan et al., 2005; Rynes, 1991; Zottoli and Wanous, 2000). The selection of a nepotee for an appointment in a business may be as easy as who in a group of applicants is chosen and who in a screening procedure is comparable to the prospective nepotee. Like any other scenario, the prospective nepotee may not be chosen on the basis of this, when there are other, more skilled candidates. Nepotism means favorable care, so one would expect that the kinship at least keeps a person in the recruitment mechanism even when the ultimate result is not entirely accessible. Precisely how far kinship takes an individual in an institutional recruitment process is likely to depend on the organization’s selection procedures and nepotism culture. Anti-​ nepotism policies were widespread in the 1970s and 1980s as mentioned. Some of these policies prohibited nepotism of any kind, while others prohibited nepotism on the basis of relationship and placement in the company. Though exact numbers are unknown, today, policies tend to be less restrictive, while some even encourage nepotism as an efficient organizational selection technique. A company’s selection policies will affect to what, if any, extent nepotism is exercised in an organization. Moreover, even if the policies or procedures are informal, the norms under which a company usually operates will also have an effect on nepotism. In addition, a company’s history with this selection practice will also dictate how they choose to go forward with the practice. Available opportunities It is proposed that a potential nepotee chooses whether or not s/​he would like to take a position under the context of nepotism. Part of this individual’s decision will undoubtedly involve taking into consideration what type of opportunity or position is being offered. If a company is looking for a new CEO, this is a more lucrative offer than an entry-​level position involving much work before being moved up. As such, a more lucrative offer may be more difficult to pass up, from an individual standpoint. From the business standpoint, on the other hand, a lucrative offer such as a managerial-​or executive-​level position typically involves a stricter screening process and more individuals having a say in the final decision as compared to a lower-​level position or less lucrative opportunity. Consequently, as the type of opportunity or position has a higher potential for greater benefits, it


14  Mehmet Ali Ekemen also creates the potential for greater risk in the business.Therefore, a business may be more or less inclined to engage in nepotism if a position is vitally important to the company’s success, depending upon their views of the practice and perhaps their previous experience with it. Pérez-​González (2006) found that when a firm replaced the outgoing CEO with a family member of the departing CEO or a large shareholder, the firm tended to underperform in terms of operating profitability and market-​to-​book ratios relative to firms that promoted unrelated CEOs.This knowledge in and of itself may make an organization less willing to promote family members to the higher levels of an organization. Company size Gilding (2005) notes that a company has a tendency to get out of family hands when family-​owned businesses become bigger and more complex. This means that nepotism is less probable, especially in relation to CEO succession, as company size and complexity increase. Others have argued that, since large organizations do not promote this, the bigger the company is, the less the nepotism is (Barmash, 1986). Hayajenh et al. (1994), by contrast, found that big companies were more prone to nepotism than smaller companies. Hayajenh et al. (1994) reported this result in part because big companies had more jobs and opportunities than small and medium-​ sized companies. In comparison, De Paola and Scoppa (2003) showed that small companies were using informal references twice as often as others. Company age Gilding (2005) notes that the older a family-​owned business is, the less probable it will remain in family possession. Family ownership is particularly less common after the second generation. From the viewpoint of family-​owned business, nepotism is less possible as a business grows because leaders of the founding group do not choose to enjoy the benefits of nepotism. Applicant pool It is well documented that the final decision on the selection is influenced by the candidate pool of an organization (Boudreau and Rynes, 1985; Rynes, 1991; Zottoli and Wanous, 2000). In the case of a nepotism, the company may be more likely to choose the most qualified candidate and to ignore blood ties as competing with the candidate, reducing the risk of nepotism. On the other hand, organizations with limited options of candidates may pursue nepotism and allow family members to apply. The final decision will inevitably require a number of considerations such as those stated above. Besides, if one of the institution’s objectives is to have the most qualified candidate chosen, the choice decision will certainly consider other qualified


Nepotism 15 candidates. The number of candidates will thus affect the probability of nepotism, especially if the nepotee is underqualified. Family-​owned versus nonfamily-​owned businesses The family business literature is a convenient place to find links in a nepotism paradigm if nepotism has happened somehow in a family company. While a precise definition of family-​owned business is lacking (Spranger, 2005), Tagiuri and Davis (1996) makes a very plausible description of a family business, in which (a) governance is dominated by one family, (b) involves two family members but also nonfamily employees. Some descriptions of the family business may be rather complicated, covering the nature of what ownership is, how much control it must have, and whether it must be family-​owned and family-​governed in order for a company to be called a family business (Chua et al., 1999). Although the concept is questioned in the literature, nepotism is impossible to deny even in the multiple terminology of family-​owned business, rendering research and institutions useful in studying nepotism.

Concluding remarks The concept of nepotism is prevalent and occurs in any form of organization including nonfamilial organizations. The reasons behind nepotistic practices are little understood, and there are sometimes conflicting findings from limited studies in this field. Building on the theories and principles of social psychology, this chapter offers a systematic investigation of nepotism to look at the roles of individual, family and organizational factors that may contribute to a better understanding of nepotism. Evolutionary approaches are generally overlooked in the literature at individual-​level variables that may anticipate the endorsement of nepotism. Results of empirical studies show that individual factors such as education, experience, personality, cultural values, intentions, personal objectives and gender are important determinants for the concept of nepotism. There is evidence to suggest that in a collectivist culture, nepotism is more prevalent and strongly supported. Since collectivism and individualism form the prevailing principles that constitute social conditions for people, certain values or attitudes can affect the working life and actions of people at work, the decisions taken during recruitment and promotion and distribution of rewards to members of the community. Family connections are critical in determining the attitudes of people toward nepotism as such social connections create more reciprocal nepotism. Based on research on collectivism, the stronger the family relations, the more people appear to embrace nepotism. In less-​developed countries, smaller family-​owned firms are more likely to pursue nepotism in the early stages. This is because of factors like family


16  Mehmet Ali Ekemen loyalty, lower risk, lower turnover, family name and handover of human resources from generation to generation. Family-​ owned companies are not limited merely to developing countries but come in diverse types and sizes, from small corner shops to global multinationals. These family-​owned companies are more likely to promote nepotism because of the size, wealth, opportunity, economic turnover and type of culture.

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Nepotism 17 Ford, Robert, and McLaughlin, Frank. 1986. “Nepotism: Boon or bane”. Personnel Administrator 31, No. 11: 78–​89. Friedan, Betty. 1963. The feminine mystique. New York:W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Friedan, Betty. 1981. The second stage. New York: Summit Books. Gagne, Marylène, and Deci, Edward L. 2005. “Self-​determination theory and work motivation”. Journal of Organizational Behavior 26: 331–​ 362. https://​doi.org/​ 10.1002/​job.322 Gibelman, Margaret. 2003. “So how far have we come? Pestilent and persistent gender gap in pay”. Social Work 48: 22–​32. https://​doi.org/​10.1093/​sw/​48.1.22 Gilding, Michael. 2005. “Families and fortunes: Accumulation, management succession, and inheritance in wealthy families”. Journal of Sociology 41: 29–​45. https://​doi.org/​10.1177/​14407​8330​5050​962 Griffeth, Roger W., Hom, Peter W., and Gaertner, Stefan. 2000. “A meta-​analysis of antecedents and correlates of employee turnover: Update, moderator tests, and research implications for the next millennium”. Journal of Management 26: 463–​ 488. https://​doi.org/​10.1177/​014​9206​3000​2600​305 Hamilton,William D. 1964.“The genetic evolution of social behavior. I and II”. Journal of Theoretical Biology 7: 1–​52. https://​doi.org/​10.1016/​0022-​5193(64)90039-​6 Harder, Bridgette Kaye. 2006. “On Nepotism: An Examination of Kinship, Merit and Perceptions of Fairness”. Ph.D. diss., DePaul University. Hausknecht, John P., Day, David V., and Thomas, Scott C. 2004. “Applicant reactions to selection procedures:An updated model and meta-​analysis”. Personnel Psychology 57: 639–​683. https://​doi.org/​10.1111/​j.1744-​6570.2004.00003.x Hayajenh,Abdalla F., Maghrabi,Ahmed S., and Al-​Dabbagh,Taher H. 1994.“Research note: Assessing the effect of nepotism on human resource managers”. International Journal of Manpower 15: 60–​67. https://​doi.org/​10.1108/​eum00​0000​0003​933 He, Wan. 2005. “Introduction: Kinship and family in international context”. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 25: 1–​8. https://​doi.org/​10.1108/​ 014433​3051​0791​108 Hofstede, Geert. 1980. Culture’s consequences. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Kets de Vries, Manfred F. R. 1993. “Dynamics of family-​controlled firms: The good news and the bad news”. Organizational Dynamics 21: 59–​72. https://​doi.org/​ 10.1016/​0090-​2616(93)90071-​8 Laker, Dennis R., and Williams, Mary L. 2003. “Nepotism’s effect on employee satisfaction and organizational commitment: An empirical study”. International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management 3: 191–​202. https://​doi.org/​ 10.1504/​ijh​rdm.2003.003​660 Levin, M. 1986. “Comparable worth: The feminist road to socialism”. Commentary 74: 13–​19. Miller, T. 2007. “Can you go home again? The impact of social class mobility via graduate education on identity and family relationships”. Ph.D. diss., The City University of New York. Ming Liu,William, Rasheed Ali, Saba, Soleck, Geoff, Hopps, Joshua, Dunston, Kwesi, and Pickett, Theodore Jr. 2004. “Using social class in counseling psychology research”. Journal of Counseling Psychology 51: 3–​18. https://​doi.org/​10.1037/​ 0022-​0167.51.1.3 Naldi, Lucia, Cennamo, Carmelo, Corbetta, Guido, and Gomez–​Mejia, Luis. 2013. “Preserving socioemotional wealth in family firms: Asset or liability? The moderating role of business context”. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 37, No. 6: 1341–​1360. https://​doi.org/​10.1111/​etap.12069


18  Mehmet Ali Ekemen Parker, Tammy. 2004. “A multi-​level family business choice model: A dichotomous approach”. The Coastal Business Journal 3: 56–​60. Pérez-​González, Francisco. 2006. “Inherited control and firm performance”. The American Economic Review 96, No. 5: 1559–​ 1588. https://​doi.org/​10.1257/​ aer.96.5.1559 Reed, Christine M. 1988. “Anti-​nepotism rules and dual career couples: Policy questions for public personnel administrators”. Public Personnel Management 17: 223–​230. https://​doi.org/​10.1177/​009​1026​0880​1700​210 Reed, Lisa J., and Friedman, Barry A. 2005. “Employer recognition of same-​sex relationships in the United States: Legal and economic implications”. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal 17: 245–​ 260. https://​doi.org/​10.1007/​s10​ 672-​005-​9052-​x Robert, Christopher, and Wasti, S. Arzu. 2002. “Organizational individualism and collectivism:Theoretical development and an empirical test of a measure”. Journal of Management 28: 544–​566. https://​doi.org/​10.1177/​014​9206​3020​2800​404 Ross, Joellyn L. 1995. “Social class tensions within families”. The American Journal of Family Therapy 23: 338–​350. https://​doi.org/​10.1080/​019261​8950​8251​364 Ryan, Ann Marie, Horvath, Michael, and Kriska, S. David. 2005. “The role of recruiting source informativeness and organizational perceptions in decisions to apply”. International Journal of Selection and Assessment 13: 235–​249. https://​doi. org/​10.1111/​j.1468-​2389.2005.00321.x Ryan, Richard M., and Deci, Edward L. 2000. “Self-​determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-​being”. American Psychologist 55: 68–​78. https://​doi.org/​10.1037/​0003-​066x.55.1.68 Rynes, Sara. 1991. “Recruitment, job choice, and posthire consequences”. In Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, edited by Marvin D. Dunnette and Leaetta M. Hough, 399–​444. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press. Schneider, Benjamin. 1987. “The people make the place”. Personnel Psychology 40: 437–​453. https://​doi.org/​10.1111/​j.1744-​6570.1987.tb00​609.x Schulze, William S., Lubatkin, Michael H., Dino, Richrd N., and Buchholtz, Ann K. 2001. “Agency relationships in family firms: Theory and evidence”. Organization Science 12, No. 2: 99–​116. https://​doi.org/​10.1287/​orsc. Smith, J. Maynard. 1964. “Group selection and kin selection”. Nature 201: 1145–​ 1147. https://​doi.org/​10.1038/​201114​5a0 Spranger, Jennifer. 2005. “Genetic density as a predictor of nepotism in the family firm”. In 20th Annual Conference of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Los Angeles, CA. Stout, Tracy. 2006. “Occupational nepotism among law firms: A study of nepotism beyond anecdotal evidence”. Master’s Thesis, Missouri State University. Tagiuri, Renato, and Davis, John. 1996.“Bivalent attributes of the family firm”. Family Business Review 9: 199–​208. https://​doi.org/​10.1111/​j.1741-​6248.1996.00199.x Tett, Robert P., and Meyer, John P. 1993.“Job satisfaction, organizational commitment, turnover intention, and turnover: Path analyses based on meta-​analytic findings”. Personnel Psychology 46: 259–​ 293. https://​doi.org/​10.1111/​j.1744-​6570.1993. tb00​874.x Triandis, Harry C. 1996. “The psychological measurement of cultural syndromes”. American Psychologist 51: 407–​415. https://​doi.org/​10.1037/​0003-​066x.51.4.407 Triandis, Harry C., Chan, Darius K. S., Bhawuk, Dharm P. S., Iwao, Sumiko, and Sinha, Jai B. P. 1995. “Multimethod probes of allocentrism and idiocentrism”.


Nepotism 19 International Journal of Psychology 30: 461–​480. https://​doi.org/​10.1080/​002075​ 9950​8246​580 Triandis, Harry C., Leung, Kwok, Villareal, Marcelo, and Clack, Felicia I. 1985. “Allocentric vs. idiocentric tendencies: Convergent and discriminant validation”. Journal of Research in Personality 19: 395–​415. https://​doi.org/​10.1016/​ 0092-​6566(85)90008-​x Welle, Brian. 2004. “The price of privilege:The derogation of the work and personal characteristics of favored employees”. Ph.D. diss., New York University. Wexler, Joan G. 1982. “Husbands and wives: The uneasy case for anti-​nepotism rules”. Boston University Law Review 62: 75–​142. Zottoli, Michael A., and Wanous, John P. 2000.“Recruitment source research: Current status and future directions”. Human Resource Management Review 10: 353–​382. https://​doi.org/​10.1016/​s1053-​4822(00)00032-​2


2 Mobbing Tahir Yeşilada

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Albert Einstein

Introduction Mobbing is a concept that constitutes both physical and psychological attacks that take place among employees. It is a systematic process that may take place in stages and have negative physical and psychological effects on an individual’s health. In organizational settings, potential outcomes of mobbing may include a decrease in motivation, job satisfaction and performance as well as an increase in depression and psychosomatic disorders. In addition to individual employees as victims, mobbing also affects the organization (Polat, 2011). The concept of mobbing first appeared in the literature in the 1960s.The term “mobbing” was first used by Konrad Lorenz, an Austrian zoologist, ethologist and ornithologist, who described it as the attack by a group of small animals in response to a threat by a larger animal (Potegal, 2019). Later on, Heinemann conducted research on behavior that was classified as bullying and rowdyism among children (Davenport et al., 2003). Resulting from this research, he published a book titled Mobbing: Group violence among children in 1972 in Sweden. Leymann was the first scholar to use the concept of mobbing in the 1980s to describe a general hostile behavior by employees at work including the acts of psychological pressure, intimidation and violence. Through the research he conducted in Sweden and Germany, Leymann revealed that psychological pressure, intimidation and violence were rather common at work. According to Leymann, mobbing at work was described as the “psychological terror applied to a person by one or more people in a systematic way, by hostile and inappropriate communication” (Lee, 2000). Journalist Andrea Adams used the term “bullying” for the first time and founded an organization named the Andrea Adams Trust in 1992 to help mobbing victims –​ Bullying at Work was first published by Virago Press in 1992 and the book is DOI: 10.4324/9781003376972-2


Mobbing 21 still considered to be in the essential reading list on mobbing. The organization conducted a study on bullying and abusive e-​mails at work and identified “an explosion” of sexual and racial harassment, including electronic bullying and voice-​mails (Lee, 2000). In 1998, the International Labor Organization (ILO) published a report “Violence at Work” by Chappell and Di Martino (1998). In this report, mobbing was mentioned along with murder and other violent behaviors. In the 1999 ILO report, mobbing was treated in further detail and reported as one of the major problems at work. The ILO reports resulted in an international focus on the concept of mobbing (Mimaroğlu and Özgen, 2008). The word “mob” refers to an illegal, unruly crowd causing violence (Tutar, 2004). It is derived from the Latin phrase “mobile vulgus”, meaning the fickle crowd. The verb “to mob” means to disturb, attack or to crowd (Çobanoğlu, 2005). Leymann first described mobbing, as a type of act that creates workplace terror consisting of inappropriate and hostile acts directed to a person by one or more people in a systematic and continuous way (Leymann, 1996), usually leading to some level of ostracization of the (recipient) person (Davenport et al., 2014). Leymann’s research and views formed the basis of subsequent studies in this area. Mobbing may also be characterized as the psychological assault and lynch attempt carried against a person. It is also viewed as a reason behind reduced motivation and productivity in an organization. Mobbing targets the self-​esteem of employees, making them weak and unable to take initiative (Tutar, 2015). The World Health Organization (WHO) defined mobbing as the “attitude and behavior used to damage a person’s or group’s physical, moral and social development” (WHO, 2003). The definition of mobbing by various authors who have conducted several studies are presented in Table 2.1 (Einarsen, 1998). Leymann describes mobbing as 45 different actions categorized into 5 groups based on the type of behavior (Davenport et al., 2014). These groups are as follows: • • • • •

Attacks on self-​expression and the way communication takes place Attacks on social relations Attacks on reputation Attacks on the quality of one’s professional and life situation Direct attacks on a person’s health

Basic concepts Mobbing and violence The term “violence” needs to be clarified for a better understanding of mobbing, as the phrase “psychological violence” is frequently used as another way to describe mobbing. Violence is the application of physical force or power on a person or a group of people in such a way to cause disability, death, psychological


22  Tahir Yeşilada Table 2.1 Definition of mobbing by various researchers Author


Brodsky (1976)



Repeated and persistent attempts by someone to wear out, hinder, torture or get a reaction from someone else. These attempts may provoke, disturb, or cause pressure and fear on people. Matthiesen, Raknes Mobbing Negative behavior carried out and Rrökkum repeatedly by one or more (1989) people targeting one or more individuals from the same workplace. Thylefors (1987) Defamation /​Putting Negative behavior carried out for Someone Else’s a certain amount of time by Blame on Them one or more people targeting one or more people. Leymann (1990) Mobbing/​Psychological Unethical and hostile behavior Terror targeting an individual carried out by one or more people in a systematic way. Kile (1990) Leadership that Long-​lasting insulting behavior Endangers One’s carried out openly or subtly by Health a superior. Wilson (1991) Workplace Trauma Distracting behavior carried out by a supervisor in a continuous and deliberate way, resulting in damage in an employee’s personality. Adams (1992) Bullying Constant criticism and personal harassment that lead to humiliation and belittlement of a person in public or private sector. Vartia (1993) Harassment Negative behavior carried out by someone against someone else repeatedly and over a period. Björkqvist, Harassment at Work Repeated behavior targeting Österman and someone that cannot protect Helt-​Back (1992) him/​herself and causing mental or physical pain.

disorders or developmental problems (Barrios and Sleet, 2004: 112). It is important to take note of how violence is viewed in the society. If violence is viewed as part of life, it does not pose a problem in the society; on the contrary, it may be used as a solution to problems and receive approval (Ergil, 2001). Thus, the focus is on the perception of violence in the society. While


Mobbing 23 some organizations and societies may not view a specific act as violence, others may perceive the same act as violence. Therefore, the classification of an act as violence at work depends on the personality traits, values, beliefs and cultural background of employees (Tutar, 2004: 14). Violence may not only be categorized as physical or psychological, but also as moral, economic and legal violence in many cases.The most common type of violence in an organization is mobbing, also expressed as psychological violence (Shallcross, 2003). Mobbing, as nonphysical violence is more dangerous than physical violence. It may inflict permanent damage on the mental health of an individual. Below is a list of assault behaviors as classified by Tınaz (2011). • • • • • • • •

Holding grudge, Insulting behavior, Cruel and ruthless behavior, Making someone do something by yelling, Constantly criticizing others, Bothering someone with unnecessary questions, Not giving responsibility to someone because of a lack of trust, Insisting on one’s own opinion to be true.

These behaviors, when applied systematically, may result in a decrease in the general level of productivity of an organization and individuals may be affected negatively in terms of mental health that may even lead to a voluntary exit as a result of psychological violence. Therefore, mobbing is a type of violence, and the concepts of “mobbing” and “violence” are not separable from one another. Mobbing and bullying Mobbing and bullying are interrelated yet have different meanings and may sometimes be used interchangeably. The most evident difference between mobbing and bullying is that bullying includes acts of physical attack and threat. Usually, there is a power imbalance between the bully and the person being bullied. While bullying is defined as all types of rude words and behavior, mobbing may be defined as a humiliating and hurtful attitude and action (Caponecchia et al., 2020). In Leymann’s terminology, the concepts of “mobbing” and “bullying” need to be distinguished; thus the recommended uses are that “bullying” refers to physical violence among school children, and “mobbing” refers to hostile behavior among adults at a workplace (Tınaz, 2011). In conclusion, while bullying consists of physical violence, mobbing comprises malicious intentions, applying psychological pressure and isolation from social relations at work. In contrast to bullying directed to a single person, mobbing may involve multiple victims.


24  Tahir Yeşilada Mobbing and conflict Mobbing and conflict are also interrelated but different concepts. Although there is no universal definition for conflict, it may be defined as a disagreement based on intersocietal communication and relations. The parties involved may usually come to an agreement before a disagreement turns into violence (Karip, 1999). Conflict may be perceived as negative, but as long as it is under control and managed well, it may lead to an increase in the productivity of a person or an organization. In addition, an optimum level of conflict may even play an important role in sustaining high levels of employee performance at work. Apparently, such a potential benefit is nonexistent when it comes to mobbing. By its nature, mobbing may inflict major harm on an individual or group at work and negatively influence work performance and satisfaction both in the short and long term. In addition to poor communication and hostile behavior, an ambiguity of job tasks and responsibilities is also common when mobbing is widespread in a workplace. Mobbing and sexual harassment Sexual harassment is any type of unwanted sexual comment, nonverbal or physical behavior of sexual nature, which may create a hostile, humiliating, embarrassing and aggressive environment, with the aim of violating or resulting in violation of a person’s privacy (Özdemir, 2006). Sexual harassment may be perceived as an act similar to mobbing with respect to its definition, formation and effects. However, there are distinguishing characteristics between the two concepts. While there are two sides in sexual harassment, mobbing is the psychological violence inflicted by a group against a single person in a continuous and systematic way. Mobbing may be used as a means to a certain end, while the act of sexual harassment itself may be the end. Therefore, sexual harassment may constitute a narrow scoped and relatively short-​lived action, while mobbing may have a wider scope and a longer duration. In order to call an act “mobbing”, it is supposed to be happening once a week for at least six months (Leymann, 1993). Sexual harassment is noticed earlier than mobbing and a victim of sexual harassment recovers more quickly than a victim of mobbing. In addition, while preventive measures against sexual harassment are taken more easily, it is relatively difficult to take preventive measures against mobbing.

Process of mobbing A victim of mobbing becomes quickly isolated from work life and work-​ related social groups. People initiating this process may be the superiors,


Mobbing 25 colleagues or subordinates of a person. Though an individual initiates mobbing, it may become a collective act by the participation of other employees. In order to call a process mobbing, it should be taking place at least once a week for six months, and the victim should be having a difficult time coping with it (Solmuş, 2005). One of the main issues to focus on mobbing is that the process becomes more painful and disturbing for the victim over time. Mobbing starts subtly and gains momentum as time goes by. Leymann identified five stages of mobbing (Davenport et al., 2014): 1 Disagreement: Characterized by a critical moment of disagreement. Although it is not yet considered mobbing, it may evolve into mobbing behavior. 2 Aggression: Aggressive acts and psychological attacks point toward mobbing behavior. 3. Corporate power: If the management was not involved directly in the second stage, it gets involved in this negative cycle after a misjudgment of the situation. 4. Labeling: This is an important stage because the victims are labeled as “difficult or mentally ill”. This negative cycle is further accelerated by the misjudgment by the management and health providers. In most cases, this is followed by expulsion or forced resignation. 5. Expulsion:Termination of employment.This may lead to post-​traumatic stress disorder. After expulsion, psychological tension and psychosomatic disorders continue. There are five distinct characteristics of mobbing process (Tetik, 2010): Mobbing takes place by a systematic application of hostile behavior for a duration. This behavior usually involves not just the mobber but also the contribution of others near the conflict. There is a difference of power and authority between the mobber and the victim. This may be due to hierarchical position or due to conflicts among people. It occurs between two people, by one person or a group, to an individual or to another group. Negative behaviors are carried out on purpose in order to reach a certain goal. These actions negatively influence the victim’s performance. The process of mobbing does not include physical attacks. Leymann studied the actions of various stages of mobbing and found that the process was similar to that of bullying.This process entails five stages both for individuals and for workplaces, with increasing levels of severity in terms of outcomes.


26  Tahir Yeşilada

Causes of mobbing Characteristics of mobbers Most studies investigating the causes of mobbing focused on the psychological state and actions of the person mobbing (mobber). These studies showed that these people used mobbing to compensate for their own shortcomings (Leymann, 1993). 1. Leymann offered four main reasons for why people engaged in mobbing. The process may be initiated by supervisors, subordinates or colleagues (Davenport et al., 2003). 2. Forcing the individual to accept the group’s rules: In some groups, it is presumed that the established order may increase commitment and make the group stronger. Therefore, people working in these groups need to obey the organizational rules. If the targeted person does not obey these rules, s/​he may be forced to obey the rules or leave the organization. The colleagues of the victim also join this process. The main reason is that they will be also victims of mobbing if they do not join the process. 3. Enjoying animosity: Mobbers are individuals with increased feelings of hostility, have weak characters who require frequent compliments. These people choose a victim and do whatever they can to suppress and weaken that person. 4. Looking for pleasure: This happens in organizations where there is repetitive jobs and no fair work assignment. These mobbers may have sadistic tendencies and enjoy what they are doing. Their main goal may not be to get rid of someone. 5. Reinforcing prejudice: People may engage in mobbing against a person who may be a member of a specific social, racial or ethnic group. Studies investigating the reasons why people engage in mobbing show that they do it as a way to make up for their deficiencies (Leymann, 1993). People who engage in mobbing have the following specific characteristics and behaviors (Walter, 1993): 1 Individuals that pick the most aggressive option of behavior, 2 Individuals that do whatever they can to have the conflict continue during mobbing, 3 Individuals who are indifferent to the effects of mobbing on the target and accept them, 4 Individuals without a sense of guilt, 5 Individuals who not only believe that they are not guilty but also believe what they do is right, 6 Individuals who put the blame on others and argue that this is what they do in response to provocation.


Mobbing 27 These people may appear perfect but no one may predict when they will change. People using mobbing also have narcissist personality (Kelly, 2005). They also tend to be vindictive, incompatible, overproud, sensitive, overjealous and suspicious (Öztürk, 2001). Causes associated with victim’s personality traits Mobbing may occur at any workplace, in any culture, regardless of age, gender and hierarchical disparities. Therefore, being a victim of mobbing is a potential concern for anyone having a role in any organizational setting. Leymann had several definitions on people that are subjected to mobbing. According to Leymann, victims are people that feel victimized (Leymann, 1990). Victims of mobbing are those that are loyal to an organization and work toward achieving the goals of an organization. Generally, they are idealistic, hardworking, honest people with high self-​esteem and questioning nature but they are not accusatory people (Tutar, 2015).These characteristics may bother their colleagues or people in the administrative staff, and may cause them to become targets (Cemaloğlu, 2007). Victims usually find themselves to be under constant and systematic threats. The attacks are repeated on an unpredictable schedule. If the victim cannot find support during this process, s/​he may not find a way to avoid mobbing (Leymann and Gustafsson, 1996). The victim cannot defend him/​ herself and will not know how to proceed. The following is a list of things that the victim experiences during the process (Walter, 1993): 1 The person becomes ill, stops coming to work and gets terminated from the job. 2 Psychosomatic symptoms appear following stress. 3 Severe depression may lead to thoughts of suicide.The person may even attempt suicide. 4 The person defines his/​her role as “they do not accept me”. 5 The person believes s/​he is not guilty. 6 On the other hand, s/​he believes s/​he is doing everything wrong. 7 Along with a lack of self-​confidence, there is also general indecisiveness. 8 The person refuses any responsibilities or feels responsible toward everything due to the situation s/​he is experiencing. Although there is no single personality type that is the main target of mobbing, four different personality styles may be identified as the targets of mobbing (Huber, 1994): 1 A lonely person: This may be a woman in male-​dominated workplace or a man in a female-​dominated workplace. 2 A strange person: This person is different from the other employees and is distant to others. This person may stand out based on style or may be a foreigner or someone with a disability.


28  Tahir Yeşilada 3 A successful person:A successful person, who is appreciated by supervisors and has received compliments from well-​respected costumers may be envied by colleagues. Circulating gossip about or doing inappropriate things to this person may prevent this person from working. 4 Newcomer: A new employee may be at higher risk for mobbing if the person s/​he replaced at work was well-​liked or if the new employee is more skilled compared to other employees. The person in this position may be younger or more beautiful. Causes associated with organizational culture and structure Mobbing may occur in any organization.According to a study in Scandinavia, mobbing is more common in nonprofit organizations and in the health sector than in larger companies (Davenport et al., 2003). Financial problems that may occur in small companies or nonprofit organizations where the management staff has minimal administrative experience, increase the likelihood of mobbing. According to Çobanoğlu (2005), the following are organizational issues that may result in mobbing. 1 Bad management: In 1976, Brodsky stated that mobbing was used to increase productivity, efficiency and to maintain discipline in an organization. 2 High-​stress work environment: Higher levels of mobbing are more likely to occur at high-​pressure workplaces where people may fail to perform at the expected level. Managerial staff may engage in mobbing their subordinates due to pressure from senior management or subordinates may join the mobbing process of their superior. 3 Monotony: At a workplace with monotonous jobs where there are no new ideas, mobbing may be used to bring excitement to the workplace. 4 Denial by the management: Denial of mobbing by the management is one of the main reasons why mobbing continues. Management does not know what steps to take as it is unaware of how prevalent mobbing is. 5 Inappropriate practices:The person becomes the target of mobbing after reporting inappropriate behavior to senior management. 6 Horizontal organization: People who want to advance in horizontal organizations may engage in mobbing to disturb others and rise to prominence. 7 Restructuring of an organization: Downsizing, restructuring and merging with other organizations may lead to elimination of certain departments and doing this without consideration may lead to mobbing.

Consequences of mobbing There are various negative effects of mobbing on employees and organizations. Mobbing may cause psychological and physical illnesses in


Mobbing 29 employees, decrease in motivation, and thus productivity of an organization, and may lead to employees quitting their jobs. Weakened team spirit may lead to incoordination in the organization. In conclusion, a combination of these may lead to damaging effects on the organization. Effects of mobbing on the victim In organizations, the person who is most affected by mobbing is the victim. Mobbing may have various effects on the victim. Systematic and intentional mobbing may affect the individual psychologically, economically and socially. The cost of treatment for psychological and physical ailments resulting from mobbing is a major part of the economic burden. Looking at social aspects, the individual’s image at work is damaged. The friends of the victim start to distance themselves from the person due to the person’s depressive behavior. The victim, who has experienced isolation and lost his/​her reputation at work, starts to experience problems at home as well (Tınaz, 2011). The effects of mobbing on individuals can be classified into three degrees, with incremental levels of physiological symptoms. Victims of mobbing have serious health problems due to excessive stress. According to a study by Namie (2003) of WBTI (Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute), 76% of mobbing targets had various anxiety disorders, 71% sleep problems, 71% attention deficit, 47% post-​traumatic stress disorder, 39% depression, and 32% panic attack syndromes. Effects of mobbing on the organization Mobbing results in financial and nonfinancial damages to an organization. It may affect every level of an organization, resulting in unrest and conflicts. Mobbing may also have negative effects on the morale, motivation and productivity of people working in an organization, thus costing the organizations in higher levels of turnover rates for example (Zafar et al., 2021) (see Table 2.2). Employees’ attention shifts away from their own responsibilities and organizational goals due to the psychological terror they have endured. Individuals try to find ways to survive the ordeal. In addition, group activities become more difficult as lack of trust becomes more common. Not only the victim, but also the people who have observed the process become less trusting of the organization due to the possibility of mobbing happening to them (Tınaz, 2011). There is an increase in organizational expenditures as a result of mobbing. Health costs and employee compensation claims increase. Major negative effects of mobbing on the organization include absenteeism, decrease in productivity, sabotage by employees, damage to organizational reputation and increase in legal expenses (see Table 2.2).




Psychological Cost


Stress Accidents Injuries Becoming isolated Separation pain Emotional ailments Separation/​ Divorce Effects on Children Disagreements Unhealthy work environment

Physical ailments Loss of professional identity Loss of friends Suicide or homicide

Unhappy individuals

Political apathy

Families Organization


Financial Cost

Pain of desperation Chaos and conflict Low morale Restricted creativity

Therapy Unemployment Looking for new employment Relocation Cost of accidents Outpatient medical treatment. Loss of family income Therapy Increase in number of sick leaves High turnover rate Low productivity Low job quality Loss of expertise Treatment fees Insurance fees Loss of taxes due to unemployment or working below capacity

Adapted from Mercanlıoğlu, Organizasyon ve Yönetim Bilimleri Dergisi, 2010.

Medical bills Insurance premiums Lawyer fees Working below capacity. Separation /​divorce fees Workers’ compensation Unemployment fees Legal fees Early Retirement Increased cost of worker management Increased demand for public assistance Increased demand for mental health programs Increased demand for retirement due to disability

30  Tahir Yeşilada

Table 2.2 Costs of mobbing


Mobbing 31 Effects of mobbing at societal and national level The direct cost of mobbing includes the loss of employment, security, as well as the cost paid by the employee in the form of emotional and physical health problems. The indirect cost of mobbing is reduced efficiency and productivity, decrease in product quality, damage of organizational reputation and reduction in customer base (Tınaz, 2011). It is difficult to analyze the effect of mobbing on the economy of certain countries because most studies on mobbing are relatively recent and data are not sufficiently available. However, according to a report by the National Safe Workplace Institute, the cost of mobbing to the employees was more than 4 billion US dollars in 1992. In Germany, the cost of mobbing to a business with 1,000 employees was 112,000 US dollars, with indirect cost being 56,000 US dollars (Chappell and Di Martino, 1998). It is therefore an important responsibility of the employer to provide a healthy and safe work environment to increase work quality of the employees (Şimşek, 1999).

Coping with mobbing Coping as an individual As a way to fight mobbing, the first thing to do is not to ignore it or try to adapt to it. The victim may initially not comprehend the reason behind this psychological terror and his/​her first reaction is sadness. In this situation, the victim looks for a mistake, questioning self. This is what the mobber wants. What the victim needs to do is to change his/​her approach to alleviate the isolation imposed upon by the mobber and try to find ways around mobbing and never fall into desperation (Tutar, 2015). There are three different types of responses available for the victims to mobbing. The first is to resign from the position to avoid the process, the second is to accept the process due to financial or other reasons and the third is to fight against the process by remaining at the position (Adams, 1992). Davenport et al. (2014) have the following recommendations to the victims of mobbing: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Do not isolate yourselves, Focus on anger, loss and betrayal, Improve your self-​confidence, Maintain a broad perspective, Spend time with people you love and on things you like to do, Do not forget that you have the power, Get rid of the victim psychology.


32  Tahir Yeşilada In addition, according to Tutar (2015), the following steps should be taken to cope with mobbing as an individual: 1 Improve self-​esteem: Every individual has a different way to fight based on own personality. Self-​consistency will improve the ability to resist mobbing. 2 Establish a safe zone: Mobbing affects the daily life and stability of the victim. Safe zone is a place where the victim feels safe and comfortable with no instability and insecurities. “Safe Zone” becomes an important way to cope with mobbing. 3 Improve occupational skills and qualifications: Another way to reduce the psychological tension created by mobbing is to carry out professional duties to the best of one’s ability and to improve one’s self. This will also improve self-​confidence. 4 Protect own mental health: Feeling psychologically strong will allow the person to avoid psychological pressuring. This will make the person stronger against mobbing. 5 Strengthen the cognitive strategies: All acts of mobbing affect the individual’s behavior. This process shows how resistant the person is against mobbing. Level of resistance on the part of the victim shows his/​ her ability to tolerate mobbing. 6 Explain values: When an individual is aware of his/​her thoughts, views and values, the person can move through life with confidence and this is an effective way of resisting mobbing. The victim should not forget that s/​he was victimized because of his/​her own values. Instead of giving up these values, the victim should know that the best defense against mobbing is remaining true to own values. Coping as an organization Preventive measures for mobbing need to be taken in order for organizations and the employees to work in a healthy environment.To minimize mobbing, the factors leading to mobbing need to be determined and removed, and the required improvements need to be carried out by the management. Ignoring mobbing is a mistake that may lead to the demise of an organization. Mobbing should not be allowed to become a part of the environment and culture of an organization. The most important thing to do in an organization is to raise awareness against mobbing. It is important to have a work environment where all employees respect one another and value each other’s opinions.This is how the possibility of mobbing may be minimized (Tınaz, 2011; Resch and Schubinski, 1996). There are also some preventive measures that should be taken against mobbing in an organization (Tutar, 2015): 1 Employees should be provided training to raise awareness on mobbing, 2 Legal measures need to be taken against mobbing by preparing circulars and directives, and determining deterrent disciplinary action,


Mobbing 33 3 Preventive measures need to be taken to protect everyone’s honor and sensibility, 4 With the participation of employees, a decision against mobbing in the organization should be taken, 5 Complaints should be investigated urgently without glossing over, and the issue should be brought to a conclusion, 6 In the organization, behaviors betraying trust and legal system should not be allowed, 7 Victims of mobbing should be provided physical and psychological support, 8 Preventive measures should be taken to improve organizational health, 9 Financial and nonfinancial damages to the victim should be determined and compensated, 10 Retaliation and revenge should not be allowed, and the sides should be informed that this may cause a new mobbing incident.

Conclusion In order to overcome mobbing, the first thing to do is to investigate the factors leading to mobbing, determine the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, and come up with methods to fix the weaknesses. It is important to determine the problems of an organization in a timely manner in order to prevent mobbing. Therefore, managers need to look out for signs of mobbing and take necessary measures (Özler and Mercan, 2009). In order to prevent mobbing in an organization, the vision and mission should be clearly laid out and embraced by everyone in the organization. Job descriptions and specifications must be made. Thus, the duties and responsibilities for each job should be defined clearly.The management should make employees feel valued and their participation in decision-​making should be encouraged to make them feel an integral part of the organization. New members of the organization should go through a comprehensive orientation process to allow a fast-​track adaptation to, and become a true member of, the organization. Thereby, potential disagreements, conflicts and incoordination can be averted. Areas of conflict such as salary, authority and promotion should be handled in a fair and transparent manner and required preventive measures should be taken on this issue.

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34  Tahir Yeşilada Björkqvist, K., Österman, K., and Hjelt-​Bäck, M. 1992. “The Work Harassment Scale”,Vasa, Åbo Akademi University. Brodsky, C. M. 1976. The Harassed Worker, Lexington, MA: Lexington Books. Caponecchia, C., Branch, S., and Murray, J. 2020. “Development of a Taxonomy of Workplace Bullying Intervention Types: Informing Research Directions and Supporting Organizational Decision Making”, Group & Organizational Management, 45(1), 103–​133, http://​dx.doi.org/​10.11177/​10596​0111​8820​966 Cemaloğlu, N. 2007. “Örgütlerin Kaçınılmaz Sorunu; Yıldırma”, Bilig Dergisi, S.42, 111–​126. Chappell, D. and Di Martino,V. 1998. “Violence at Work”, ILO Report. Çobanoğlu, Ş. 2005. Mobbing, İşyerinde Duygusal Saldırı ve Mücadele Yöntemleri, Istanbul: Timaş Yayınları. Davenport, N., Schwartz, R. D., and Elliot, G. P. 2003. Mobbing, İsyerinde Duygusal Taciz, Istanbul: Sistem Yayıncılık. Davenport, N., Schwartz, R. D., and Elliot, G. P. 2014. Mobbing, İsyerinde Psikolojik Taciz, Istanbul: Ray Yayıncılık. Einarsen, S., Matthiesen, S. B., and Skogstad, A. 1998. “Bullying at Work, Bullying, Burn-​out and Well-​being among Assistant Nurses”, Journal of Occupational Health and Safety, 14(6), 563–​568. Elvira, K., Pavo, F., Muzinic, L., Matek, M., and Vandracek, S. 2003. “Mobbing”, Rid Sigur, 7, 1–​20. Ergil, D. 2001. "Şiddetin Kültürel Kökenleri", Bilim ve Teknik. sayı 399. Şubat. s.40–​ 41. Huber, B. 1994. Mobbing. Psychoterror am Arbeitsplatz, Niedernhausen, Falken, pp.2–​25. Karip, E. 1999. Çatışma Yönetimi, Ankara: Pagem Yayıncılık. Kelly D. J. 2005. “Reviewing Workplace Bullying: Strengthening Approaches to a Complex Phenomenon”, Journal of Occupational Health and Safety-​Australia and New Zealand, 21(6), December, 551–​564. Kile, S. M. 1990. Helsefarleg leierskap [Health Endangering Leadership], Bergen, Norway: Universitetet I Bergen. Lee, D. 2000. An analysis of workplace bullying in the UK. Personnel Review, 29 pp. 93–​610. Leymann, H. 1990. II Contenuto e lo Sviluppo del Mobbing sul Lavoro, Bologna: Pitagora Editrice, p.36. Leymann, H. 1993. Mobbing. Psychoterror am Arbeitzplatz und Wie Man Sich Dagagen Wehren Kann, Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH., p.28. Leymann, H. 1996. “The Content and Development of Mobbing at Work”, European Journal of Work and Organızational Psychology, 5(2), 165–​184. Leymann, H. and Gustafsson, A. 1996. “Mobbing at work and the development of post traumatic stress disorders”, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 5(2), 251–​275. Matthiesen, S. B., Raknes, B., and Rrökkum, O. 1989. “Bullying at Work”, Journal of the Norwegian Psychological Association, 26, 761–​774. Mercanlıoğlu, Ç. 2010. “Çalışma Hayatında Psikolojik Tacizin (Mobbing) Nedenleri, Sonuçları ve Türkiye’deki Hukuksal Gelişimi”, Organizasyon ve Yönetim Bilimleri Dergisi, C.2, S.2, ss.37–​46. Mimaroğlu, H. and Özgen, H. 2008. ‘Örgütlerde Güç Eşitsizlikleri ve Cinsel Taciz’, Çanakkale Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, Cilt: 17, Sayı: 1, Çanakkale, ss.321–​334.


Mobbing 35 Namie, G. 2003. “Workplace bullying: Escalated Incivility”, Ivey Business Journal, 68(2), 1–​6. Özdemir, E. 2006. “İşyerinde Cinsel Taciz”, Çalışma ve Toplum Dergisi, Sayı: 11, s.90–​91. Özler, D. E., and Mercan, N. 2009. Yönetsel ve Örgütsel Açıdan Psikolojik Terör, Ankara: Detay Yayıncılık. Öztürk, O. 2001. Ruh Sağlığı ve Bozuklukları, Ankara, Nobel Tıp Kitap Evleri. Polat, F. 2011. Çalışanların Psikolojik Taciz Algısının Örgütsel Bağlılıkla İlişkisi,Yayınlanmış Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Atatürk Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü İşletme Anabilim Dalı, Erzurum. Potegal, M. 2019. “What We Know About Aggression”, Peace Review, 31(1), 2–​13, https://​doi.org/​10.1080/​10402​659.2019.1613​590 Resch, M., and Schubinski, M. 1996. “Mobbing–​ Prevention and Management in Organizations”, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 5(2), 295–​307. Shallcross, L. 2003. “The Workplace Mobbing Syndrome, Response and Prevention in the Public Sector”, Workplace Mobbing Conference, 16–​17 October. Şimşek, B. 1999. “Yöneticilerin Çalışanlara Karşı Etik Sorumlulukları” Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, C.1, S.3, s.69–​86. Solmuş, T. 2005. “İş Yaşamında Travmalar: Cinsel Taciz ve Duygusal Zorbalık /​ Taciz (Mobbing)”, “İş Güç” Endüstri İlişkileri ve İnsan Kaynakları Dergisi, Cilt.7, Sayı.2, s.6. Tetik, S. 2010. “Mobbing Kavramı: Birey ve Örgütler Açısından Önemi”, KMÜ Sosyal ve Ekonomik Araştırmalar Dergisi, 12 (18), 81–​89. Thylefors, I. 1987. Syndabockar. Scapegoats.Exlusion and Bullying in Worklife, Stockholm: Naturoch Kultur. Tınaz, P. 2011. İşyerinde Psikolojik Taciz (Mobbing), Istanbul: Beta Yayıncılık, p.3. Baskı. Tutar, H. 2004. İşyerinde Psikolojik Şiddet Sarmalı: Nedenleri ve Sonuçları . Yönetim Bilimleri Dergisi, 2 (2), 85–​108. Tutar, H. 2015. Mobbing, Ankara: Detay Publishing. Vartia, M. 1993. The consequences of psychological harassment (mobbing) at work. Paper presented at the III European Congress of Psychology, July 4–​9, Tampere, Finland. Book of abstracts, p.139. Walter, H. 1993. Mobbing: Kleinkrieg am Arbeitplatz, Frankfurt ve New York: Campus, s.42. Wilson, C. B. 1991. “U.S. Businesses Suffer from Workplace Trauma”, Personnel Journal, July, 47–​50. World Health Organization (WHO). 2003. Occupational and Environmental Health Programme, Raising Awareness of Psychological Harassment at Work, Protecting Workers’ Health Series, No: 4, Geneva, s.15. Zafar, R., Abid, G., Rehmat, M., Ali, M., Hassan, Q., and Asif, M. F. 2021. “So Hard to Say Goodbye: Impact of Punitive Supervision on Turnover Intention”, Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, https://​doi.org/​10.1080/​14783​ 363.2021.1882​844


3 Dysfunctional conflict Antecedents and outcomes Hakan Karabacak, Ünsal Sığrı, and Abülkadir Varoğlu

Introduction Conflict is almost inevitable in organizations. As one of the prevalent interactions in organizations, the conflict has attracted the attention of many scholars and thus there is extensive literature.The definitions of conflict vary in the literature. It may be defined as an opposition process that can take several forms such as competition, rivalry, bargaining, sabotage, verbal abuse (Walton, 1966), or an interactive state in which the behaviors or goals of one actor are to some degree incompatible with the behaviors or goals of some others (Tedeschi, 1973). Conflict occurs when members engage in activities that are incompatible with those of colleagues within their network, members of other collectivities, or unaffiliated individuals who utilize the services or products of the organization (Roloff, 1987). According to Pondy (1967), the conflicted relationship is a dynamic process, which can be analyzed as a series of episodes. Each episode begins with conditions characterized by specific conflict potentials and leaves an aftermath that affects the course of subsequent episodes. Barki and Hartwick (2004) identify disagreement, negative emotions, and interference as three characteristics that are generally associated with conflicting situations and suggest that the presence of any is considered enough to identify a situation as conflict. Furthermore, conflict is a state of awareness and it is generally accepted that no conflict exists where no one is aware of it (Robbins et al., 2016). Given the several definitions of conflict, some commonalities are identified in the literature. Rahim (2001) draws attention to overlaps in definitions. Firstly, conflict includes opposing interests that must be recognized by the parties. Second, conflict involves the beliefs of each party that the other will hinder (or has already hindered its interests). Third, conflict is a dynamic process between individuals or groups. Conflict is based on existing relationships, or reflects the past relations of each side and, finally, the actions of the parties may lead to preventing the goals of the other. Similar to Rahim (2001), Thomas (1976) has noted that the definitions of conflict generally include three themes: some form of interaction, the interdependence of the parties, and the perceived incompatibility of interests. DOI: 10.4324/9781003376972-3


Dysfunctional conflict 37 Negative implications with the use of words such as hindering, compelling, injuring, or incompatible are associated with the term conflict (Andrade et al., 2008). There are two main schools of thought on conflict. The first of these, the traditional school (or classical view), considers conflict as a bad, harmful, or problematic situation for the organizations (Banner, 1995). The traditional point of view (e.g., Blake and Mouton, 1964; Brown, 1983; Roloff, 1987) suggests that conflict generates inefficiency, is destructive to organizational performance, and should be terminated, suppressed, or reduced to the greatest extent possible. The classical approach of organization theory argues that achieving organizational effectiveness requires the absence of conflict, thus the presence of cooperation and harmony between the parties (Rahim, 2001). The interactionist school (or modern view), on the other hand, considers the functional aspect of conflicts and advocates an effective conflict management approach (Banner, 1995). Also, Robbins et al. (2016) differentiate the traditional and interactionist periods depending on how they perceive conflict in terms of its functional and dysfunctional results on group achievement. According to the traditional view of the conflict that came to prevail especially in the mid-​20th century, conflict was dysfunctional originating from failures of communication and transparency or insufficient trust between parties, and the inadequacies of managers to meet the needs and requests of employees. On the other hand, the interactionist view does not suggest that all conflicts are good and encourages conflict to some extent. Conflict is constructive and qualified as functional if it supports group objectives and enhances performance; however, conflict is destructive and qualified as dysfunctional if it hinders group performance. Views on organizational conflict changed when the social-​open system theory emerged. Organizational conflict is now regarded as a legitimate and inevitable part of organizations (Chea, 2006). Conflict experts agree that while it is neither possible nor desirable to eliminate all workplace conflicts, the elimination and prevention of dysfunctional conflicts are essential for the healthy functioning of both employees and the entire organization (Mccorkle et al., 2018). Karabacak (2019) summarizes the literature on the theoretical distinction between classical and modern approaches addressing different types of conflicts including the functional ones. The present work focuses on dysfunctional conflict. In terms of organizational values, conflict is dysfunctional if it inhibits the organization’s productivity, stability, or adaptability (Pondy, 1967). If the conflict hinders organizational performance or people’s ability to attain goals or objectives, or when it leads to anxiety, inability to take action, and loss of purpose (Jehn and Mannix, 2001), or when it leads to poor communication, reduction in-​group cohesion and effectiveness (Robbins et al., 2016), then the conflict becomes dysfunctional. The contemporary approach places some value on the conflict because it can support organizational performance and produce positive results under certain circumstances (e.g., Van de Vliert and De Dreu, 1994; Mittrof, 1998; Jehn, 1995; Jehn, 1997; Amason, 1996). Thus, the contemporary approach supports the functional conflict due to its constructive outcomes, while


38  Hakan Karabacak, Ünsal Sığrı, and Abülkadir Varoğlu adopting a negative approach to dysfunctional conflict due to its destructive outcomes. As noted in Wall and Callister (1995), resolving dysfunctional conflict aims at reducing, eliminating, or terminating conflict; whereas, managing functional conflict involves cultivating certain behaviors and attitudes, and designing effective systems and strategies to improve organizational learning and effectiveness. The contemporary approach recognizes that sources of conflict will probably always be present and seeks possible ways of minimizing dysfunctional effects. However, conflict resolution seeks to eliminate conflict by eliminating underlying causes. The dysfunctional outcomes of conflict are associated with the source and level of conflict in organizations and the following section addresses types of conflict based on its sources and dysfunctional outcomes.

When does conflict become dysfunctional? Organizational conflicts may produce both functional and dysfunctional results. Before shedding light on the outcomes of conflict, it is necessary to identify the conflict types in organizations. By origin, conflict may be classified into two main categories intra-​and interorganizational. Interpersonal, intragroup, and intergroup conflicts are subcategories that fall under the intra-​organizational conflict category. Interpersonal and intragroup conflicts respectively refer to incompatibility or disagreement between organizational members and, the conflict among members of a group, or between various subgroups in a group. Intergroup conflict refers to a conflict between groups (or units) within an organization (Rahim, 2002). Andrade et al. (2008) note that according to levels of origin, the organizational conflict literature has focused largely on interpersonal conflict. It is necessary to classify conflict by sources to understand dysfunctional outcomes. Guetzkow and Gyr (1954) offered two typologies of conflict for managing purposes –​one involving disagreements relating to tasks, policies, and other organizational issues and the other involving emotional issues that result in conflict. Both dimensions are predominantly studied in organizations as substantive (task, cognitive, or constructive) and affective (relationship, emotional, or destructive) conflict based on their sources. Substantive or affective conflict may arise at three levels of origin, that is, interpersonal, intragroup, and intergroup levels in an organization. Substantive conflict may include different standards of performance, different priorities concerning subtasks, disagreements about the substance of a precise job, and different opinions, viewpoints, and ideas (Jehn, 1997). However, affective conflict is associated with the emotions of parties to the conflict and it includes tension and hostility (Jehn, 1995).The sources of affective conflict may lie in personal attacks, racial disharmony, or sexual harassment (Chea, 2006). Scholars agree that affective conflicts have dysfunctional outcomes. For instance, affective conflict reduces mutual goodwill and understanding (Deutsch, 1969), efficiency and satisfaction (Gladstein, 1984;Wall and Nolan, 1986), decision quality (Amason, 1996), quality of strategy and market


Dysfunctional conflict 39 performance (Menon et al., 1996), learning performance (Miao et al., 2010). Affective conflict is reported to be detrimental to relationship continuation (Jehn, 1997) and is positively correlated with the desire to leave the job (Medina et al., 2005). However, the level of substantive conflicts must be kept within certain limits to generate functional outcomes. Organizations that have little or no conflict may stagnate, while a high level of conflict may produce dysfunctional effects (Rahim, 2001). Some empirical studies provide evidence of some degree of interdependence between substantive and affective conflicts and task-​related conflicts may turn into affective conflicts (e.g., Jehn, 1997; De Dreu, 1997; Janssen et al., 1999; Pelled et al., 1999; Friedman et al., 2000). The interdependence between the two types of conflicts adds to the difficulty of conflict management in organizations to fully eliminate dysfunctional outcomes (Rahim, 2002). Many empirical studies have indicated the dysfunctional outcomes of conflict in organizations. Considering the conflict types by their sources, Jehn (1995) developed one of the early models of examining the question of when the conflict is dysfunctional and functional. Jehn (1995) indicated that in groups executing routines, discussions about the task issues were generally destructive to productive work processes, while disagreements about the task did not have a dysfunctional effect in groups performing nonroutine tasks. Regarding dysfunctional conflicts, Jehn (1995) illustrated that affective conflict had dysfunctional outcomes regardless of the type of task. Personal problems regarded as trivial were detrimental to satisfaction among group members. Affective conflicts triggered distress, dislike, or animosity among members, encouraging withdrawal. Jehn (1995) also indicated that group interdependence increased the negative impact of affective conflict, and that of task conflict in the case of groups performing routine tasks. This finding is in line with the evidence provided by Jehn ()1997 that in groups with high levels of member interdependence, task conflicts or disagreements regarding the task negatively influenced members’ will to perform together again. Furthermore, as noted in Jehn ()1997, group members do not want to continue working with people who argue about personal issues, probably since a dysfunctional conflict may lower trust as indicated by Geyskens et al. (1999). Jehn (1997) examined the intragroup conflict and identified four distinct dimensions of conflict as emotionality, importance, acceptability, and resolution potential, and indicated that negative emotionality was associated with low member satisfaction and poor group performance. Task conflict may be dysfunctional when conflict includes strong and irresolvable negative emotions and perceptions. To distinguish the functional and dysfunctional outcomes of conflicts, Amason (1996) examines the paradoxical effects of conflict on strategic decision-​ making focusing on decision quality, consensus, and affective acceptance, and concludes that if conflict tends to be emotional, it generates dysfunctional outcomes.The higher levels of affective conflicts are associated with lower levels of affective acceptance and teams that experience higher


40  Hakan Karabacak, Ünsal Sığrı, and Abülkadir Varoğlu levels of affective conflicts produce a lower quality of decisions. The findings of Amason (1996) enhance our understanding of the reasons why the quality of decision, understanding, and affective acceptance appear to have a difficult coexistence. Moreover, Amason (1996) draws attention to the transformation of functional conflicts into dysfunctional ones potentially undermining functional outcomes, that is, the quality of the decision. Considering both functional and dysfunctional outcomes of conflicts, Amason (1996) suggests that encouraging substantive conflicts should be balanced with restricting affective conflicts to benefit from conflicts without costs. Miao et al. (2010) and De Dreu and Weingart (2003) also examined the conflict types and their dysfunctional effects. Miao et al. (2010) pointed out that task conflict might have positive or negative results for the organizations depending on the nature of the task and task conflict is generally detrimental in teams involved in routine (or simple) tasks. De Dreu and Weingart (2003) examined the dysfunctional effects of affective conflict and revealed high negative correlations between affective conflict, team performance, and team members’ satisfaction. However, their results also revealed strong negative correlations between task conflict, team performance, and team member satisfaction. Their findings provide evidence about the dysfunctional outcomes of task conflict. As noted in De Dreu and Weingart (2003) task conflict is more likely to hamper, than improve, the procedures in routine tasks. This finding is supported by the evidence for venture capital-​ backed firms provided by George et al. (2016) who noted that the correlation between task conflict and dysfunctional conflict probably stemmed from the fact that task conflict might generate a dysfunctional conflict. De Wit et al. (2012) suggested that the outcomes of conflict vary according to the level at which task conflict occurred. Task conflict was positively associated with the performance of top management teams, whereas conflict in the lower levels of the organization was negatively associated with group performance. However, if the task and affective conflict occurred together, task conflict was more likely negative. Jehn and Mannix (2001) associated the effects of task conflict with the time when it occurred in the time course the group interacts. The authors found that teams performing well were characterized by low levels of affective conflict and moderate levels of task conflict at the midpoint of group interaction. Contrary to most of the past research that focused only on static levels of conflict, the findings of Jehn and Mannix (2001) reinforced the view that conflict must be examined as a dynamic process. Thus, the literature draws attention to the connections between the conflict types by sources and their functional or dysfunctional consequences. Scholars seem to agree that affective conflicts have dysfunctional outcomes for organizations and should be eliminated or reduced to the greatest extent possible while the substantive conflict is to be managed to avoid dysfunctional outcomes. Dysfunctional outcomes may also arise where substantive conflict is left uncontrolled and where there is little or no substantive conflict (Rahim, 2002). Dysfunctional outcomes of affective and uncontrolled


Dysfunctional conflict 41 substantive conflicts coupled with positive intercorrelation complicate conflict management strategies in organizations. Thus, the main challenge of conflict management strategies seems to take advantage of conflict without creating or exacerbating dysfunctional outcomes. Rahim (2002) suggests three conflict management strategies to manage conflict at the macro-​ level: (1) affective conflicts have negative effects on the performance of individuals and groups and, may have to be minimized; (2) substantive conflicts have positive effects on the performance in nonroutine tasks at various levels, thus, conflict management strategies of substantive conflicts entail the generation and maintenance of conflict in a moderate amount; and (3) members of an organization need to learn the appropriate use of conflict-​handling styles to cope with their disagreements constructively. The next section addresses the literature findings for terminating or minimizing the dysfunctional outcomes of conflicts.

Minimizing dysfunctional outcomes The conflict management approach pursues eliminating or minimizing to the greatest extent possible the affective conflict and managing the substantive conflict in organizations using appropriate strategies or styles of handling conflict. Beforehand, organizational members should have an adequate level of understanding of the conflict process. According to Rahim (2001), the process of managing organizational conflict involves the processes of diagnosis and intervention in the conflict. A comprehensive diagnosis involves the measurement of conflict, its sources and effectiveness, and analysis of relations among them. Questionnaires, interviews, and observation are among the means to collect data for diagnosis. The need for intervention or type of intervention must be guided by diagnosis results. Intervention may be required if the substantive conflict is not moderate (too little or too much) or if there is a dysfunctional affective conflict and/​or when organizational members need to select and use the conflict-​handling styles correctly. Koza and Dant (2007) developed a model for the conflict resolution process and consequences within channel relationships based on three components. The first component called as “shadow of the past” represents the past events within the relationships. Therefore, the effects of past contextual features of the relationships on present interactions are included in the model. Shadow of the past is characterized by the factors of the relationship between climate and control mechanisms. While relationship climate represents the inclinations toward cooperative versus conflictive orientations, control mechanisms are categorized as trust-​ based versus bureaucratic. As noted in Weitz and Jap (1995), control mechanisms are defined as the methods used to control and coordinate the channel members’ activities. The second component of the conflict resolution model is the interaction process that represents the present interactions among the parties. Bilateral or unilateral communication strategy and integrative or distributive conflict resolution behaviors are adopted in the interaction process. Communication


42  Hakan Karabacak, Ünsal Sığrı, and Abülkadir Varoğlu is a strategic integration mechanism that promotes cooperative conflict resolution behavior and has positive effects on firms’ ability to interact effectively. While integrative behaviors describe interactions in which the parties indicate cooperative attitudes for win-​win goals that require information exchange and reconciliation of interests of both parties, on the contrary, distributive behaviors are featured by interactions in which the parties display a competitive attitude and try to maximize their benefits based on a win-​lose orientation (Putnam, 1990). The last component of the conflict resolution model is the performance outcomes arising from both past and present interactions. Koza and Dant (2007) define performance outcomes in two categories as relational norms and financial performance. Relational mutuality is characterized by mutuality (equitable sharing of mutual benefits and burdens), solidarity (sense of unity), and flexibility (adaptations as circumstances change). This conceptual model clarifies the links between past relationships, communication and conflict resolution behaviors, and their outcomes. Robbins et al. (2016) examine the conflict process in five stages: potential opposition or incompatibility, cognition and personalization, intentions, behavior, and outcomes. The first stage is the phase in which the potential opposition and incompatibility occur. In this stage, there are some antecedent conditions defined as communication, structure, and personal variables. Communication refers to such factors as miscommunication, misunderstanding, and “noise” in the communication channel, along with jargon and insufficient information. In terms of the structure, various structural variables may be a source of conflict such as the size of the group, member–​goal compatibility, leadership styles, and so forth. The last category includes such personal variables as personality, emotions, and values. People are further likely to cause conflict when their personality traits include disagreeableness, neuroticism, or self-​ monitoring or their emotions are directed at others (or even not directed), and when their values are opposed. The second stage in the conflict process is cognition and personalization. In this stage, conflict may be perceived or felt by the parties. In the third stage, conflict management strategies are adopted within the framework of the parties’ intentions on how to handle the conflict process. The fourth stage is characterized by the behaviors of the parties. In this stage, the conflict becomes overt with the behaviors of the relevant party and the reactions of the other party. In the final stage, two opposite outcomes occur in the conflict process, and in this context, conflict may increase or decrease group performance. Organizational members should employ the appropriate conflict management strategies depending on the type of conflict situation to minimize dysfunctional outcomes. Starting with Thomas (1976), conflict management strategies are classified into two dimensions. The two-​dimensional model is purely a classification scheme of five conflict-​handling intentions, classified according to two underlying dimensions of intent (Thomas, 1992). The scheme of Thomas (1976) considers cooperativeness and assertiveness


Dysfunctional conflict 43 dimensions, which represent the attempt to satisfy the other party’s concerns and own concerns respectively. The scheme of Rahim and Bonoma (1979), dual-​concern model, features again two dimensions: concern for self and concern for others that explain the degree (high or low) to which a person attempts to satisfy their concern and the concern for others respectively. Five specific styles of handling interpersonal conflict arising from a combination of the two dimensions are named. These are obliging, avoiding, compromising, dominating, and integrating styles (Rahim and Bonoma, 1979; Rahim, 1983). If a party’s desire to satisfy its concerns is low and if this party is more concerned with preserving or maintaining the relationship with the other party, the obliging (accommodating or smoothing) style is used. By the avoiding (withdrawing or suppression) style, the party prefers not to deal either with issues or the other conflicting party and retreats from the conflicting situation. The compromising style may be identified as a “win some, lose some” strategy and the party agrees to give up part of their own goal and part of the relationship to reach an agreement.The dominating (competing or forcing) style may be used where a party only desires to win at all costs, without paying attention to the concerns of others even if it means sacrificing the relationship. The integrating (collaborating or problem-​solving) style is a “win-​win” approach that involves skills in communication, openness, problem-​solving, exchange of information, and negotiation (Rahim and Bonoma, 1979; Rahim, 2001). Taking lead from the contingency approach, which replaced the simplistic “one best” approach in management, Rahim (2002) suggests that it is possible to develop a contingency theory of conflict management. A particular style may be the most appropriate to employ in conflict situations depending on the nature of situations characterized by various decision quality and acceptance levels. A style is considered convenient for a conflict situation to the extent that an appropriate solution to a problem is possible by its use. For instance, Phillips and Cheston (1979) suggest that if the parties in conflict have equal power, a compromising approach is expected. No single style is appropriate for all conflict situations and the suitability of any style depends on the nature of the relevant conflict. Some scholars associate the use of conflict management styles with their dysfunctional or functional outcomes. For instance, Lawrence and Lorsch (1967) provide evidence for the positive association between the integrating style of handling interdepartmental conflict and organizational effectiveness. Similarly, according to Blake and Mouton (1984), the effectiveness of intergroup conflict depends on the styles of managing conflict by the groups involved. In this context, the use of obliging, dominating, avoiding, and compromising styles generates dysfunctional consequences, whereas using an integrating or problem-​solving style is associated with the functional outcomes. Ariani and Chashmi (2011) also indicate that the competing (dominating) style results in dysfunctional outcomes in the conflict process. De Dreu and Van Vianen (2001) studied three types of conflict


44  Hakan Karabacak, Ünsal Sığrı, and Abülkadir Varoğlu responses; namely, collaborating, contending, and avoiding styles, in analyzing how to respond to affective conflicts. Avoiding responses to affective conflicts was positively associated with team effectiveness while collaborating and contending responses were negatively associated. The avoiding style allows team members to produce functional results in affective conflicts. Collaborating and contending responses to affective conflicts generate dysfunctional results distracting team members from their tasks. De Dreu and Van Vianen (2001) suggest that task conflict should be confronted rather than avoided for it requires collaborating responses. In contrast, affective conflict requires avoiding responses rather than collaborating (or contending) responses. In any type of conflict, contending responses do not seem to produce functional outcomes. Minimizing the dysfunctional outcomes of conflict is closely associated with how the conflict is managed and the gains and losses of conflict styles for handling interpersonal conflict should be taken into consideration for a specific conflict situation. As noted in Siders and Aschenbrener (1999), well-​ managed conflict taking advantage of different perspectives may increase the creativity and problem-​ solving skills of all organizational members, whereas negatively perceived, poorly managed, or consistently avoided conflict by top management reduces productivity, undermines trust, and may create new conflicts. Conflict becomes dysfunctional when it leads to poor communication among organizational members, weakened group cohesion, and reduced organizational effectiveness. Communication appears to have a significant association with dysfunctional conflict, echoing the question of whether increased communication leads to lower levels of dysfunctional conflict. Empirical studies provide evidence of the association between dysfunctional conflict and such communication variables as communication barriers, bidirectionality, communication frequency, and quality. For instance, Menon et al. (1996) examined the associations between communication barriers and dysfunctional conflict and found that centralization and high communication barriers in decision-​making exacerbated dysfunctional conflicts. Massey and Dawes (2007) found that bidirectionality was negatively associated with dysfunctional conflict, probably because two-​way communication was instrumental in clarifying misunderstandings. This result is consistent with Fisher et al. (1997) who also emphasized a negative association between dual communication and dysfunctional conflict. Massey and Dawes (2007) also indicated that dysfunctional conflict was reduced by increased communication quality. However, their findings indicated no association between communication frequency and dysfunctional conflict, while Dawes and Massey (2005) found that communication frequency was positively associated with an increase in dysfunctional conflict. Communication quality as the antecedent of dysfunctional conflicts was also examined by Ariani and Chashmi (2011) who found that lack of communication quality and resulting ambiguities led to dysfunctional conflict. In contrast, where the quality of


Dysfunctional conflict 45 communication increased, employees faced less ambiguity and dysfunctional conflict was reduced accordingly. The conflict process is pervasive and inherent in distribution channel systems characterized by behavior interdependence (Rosenberg and Stern, 1970). The role of effective communication in supporting decision-​making processes and providing access to win-​win results by managing conflicts, especially among the actors in marketing channels and the interactions between buyers and sellers has been examined in many studies (e.g., Assael, 1969; Lusch, 1976; Brown et al., 1991; Claycomb et al., 2004; Celuch et al., 2011; Grace et al., 2013; Kang et al., 2013,Van der Maelen et al., 2017). The existence of conflict in interfirm relationships in channels is mainly due to the specialization of these firms and therefore their dependence on each other (Pfajfar et al., 2019). Manifest conflict in channel relationships between suppliers and distributors may develop as a result of the pressure and frustration that accompanies the use of coercive strategies. This type of conflict tends to be dysfunctional. The frequency of noncoercive communications develops strong and proactive relationships between firms. Establishing effective communication and mutual understanding between the parties can be associated with functional benefits (Frazier and Rody, 1991). Leonidou et al. (2014) evaluated antecedents and outcomes of exporter–​ importer relationship quality following a meta-​analysis of empirical studies and indicated that while the higher communication enhances the cooperation, trust, and commitment among interacting parties, the conflict, on the other hand, has adverse results on these variables in the importer–​exporter working relationship. Also, Pfajfar et al. (2019), investigate the presence of conflict in exporter–​importer relationships and its power source-​related drivers and performance outcomes. Coercive power and noncoercive power are usually associated with one party punishing (with coercive measures) or rewarding (financially or nonfinancially) the other, respectively. The use of coercive power by the partner increases dysfunctional conflict across both exporters and importers and the use of noncoercive power reduces such conflict. Also, the use of problem-​solving conflict resolution negatively affects the impact of dysfunctional conflict on performance in both the exporters and importers. Sharma and Parida (2018) conducted a meta-​analytic review examining the studies that involved quantitative analysis related to conflict and the determinants of conflict and proposed a model that illustrates the ranking of major determinants of channel conflict. The findings of the study identify information and communication asymmetry as one of the main determinants of conflict. Dysfunctional conflicts between partners are related to unhealthy behaviors that involve frictions and tensions between them, thus causing distrust and hostility. Negative feelings, thoughts, and behaviors caused by dysfunctional conflicts can bring about stagnation in relations between partners. The continuation of this negative situation may lead to the deterioration


46  Hakan Karabacak, Ünsal Sığrı, and Abülkadir Varoğlu of partnerships. The resentments, frictions, and hostilities inherent in dysfunctional conflicts may hinder the development of new ideas, evaluation suggestions, and making changes. These circumstances may break the will of the parties to make an effort to overcome the difficulties and challenges facing the relationship (Webb and Hogan, 2002). In the context of conflicts in channels or partnerships in general terms, inefficient communication systems are a potential cause of conflict (Lusch, 1976). On the contrary, communication behavior and ways of resolving conflicts are among the main factors underlying successful partnerships. Management philosophy and corporate culture that enables joint planning and organizing and taking into account the needs of the other party is a managerial necessity for the future success of partnerships. In this context, the establishment of a common problem-​ solving culture that will enable the partnerships to address and solve the problems allows the parties to achieve win-​win results. Management also must strive to establish conflict management systems, processes, and behavioral mechanisms that will support businesses to work in harmony to increase mutual benefits. Thus, the common problem-​solving culture functions as a conflict resolution mechanism. The ability of the parties to address issues from the perspective of the other party and to reach a consensus will contribute to conflict management and the resolution of problems (Mohr and Spekman, 1994). Mccorkle et al. (2018) establish various connections between communication styles and their behavioral patterns. A communication style is called functional if it causes productivity, but nonfunctional if it increases distress. Awareness of communication styles can create opportunities to overcome dysfunctional conflicts and create more productivity. Communication styles have a significant role in evaluating the effectiveness of conflict management. Folger et al. (2013) classify the types of communication behaviors that serve as styles during conflict: assertiveness, cooperation, inclusiveness, empowerment, activeness, and flexibility. In this context, how much assertiveness is displayed in communication, how much information is hidden or disclosed, how much authorization is given to others, or the level of activeness and flexibility will have an impact on the conflict management process? As noted in Mccorkle et al. (2018), understanding communication styles and emotional intelligence play a key role in transforming dysfunctional conflicts into functional outcomes. In addition to communication skills, negotiation competency is important in minimizing dysfunctional outcomes of organizational conflict. According to Rahim (2001), negotiation is required whenever there is a conflict. Negotiation skills are fundamental for managing all types of conflicts. Fisher and Ury, in their seminal book Getting to Yes-​Negotiating an Agreement without Giving In, have introduced a method called “principled negotiation” and pointed out three big problems in communication. First, each party may be talking to impress third parties and in this sense, negotiators may not be understandably talking to each other. The second problem is that even if a party is talking directly and clearly to the other party, the other party


Dysfunctional conflict 47 may not be listening. If one party is not listening to the other party, there is no communication. Misunderstanding is the third communication problem. One party may misinterpret what the other party says. To overcome these problems, the authors suggest four technics: (1) listening actively to what is being said, (2) speaking to be understood, (3) speaking about yourself, not others, and (4) speaking for a purpose to minimize or prevent communication problems (Fisher and Ury, 1981). Therefore, establishing constructive communication and efficient negotiation is the key to preventing dysfunctional conflicts and establishing sustainable relations between the parties. Mccorkle et al. (2018) emphasize that for collaborative negotiations to be successful, it is necessary to focus on the future, not on the past causes of the situation, and thus get out of the conflict environment. If the negotiating parties in conflict can focus on the future instead of the past grievances, this can transform the negotiation from a competitive and defensive interaction to a more collaborative one. The idea of moving toward the same goal together allows the negotiations to be reframed as focused on the present and the future, not on the past. The shared goals of the parties and the will to move forward together will help them to establish constructive communications and effective negotiations, and to eliminate or reduce dysfunctional conflicts.

Conclusion Organizational conflict is frequently viewed as a detrimental or problematic situation from the perspective of the traditional approach. This approach suggests that a conflict, for whatever its sources, is dysfunctional for organizational performance and should be terminated, suppressed, or reduced to the greatest extent possible. However, the contemporary approach acknowledging the functional outcomes of conflict, suggests that conflicts should be managed to minimize dysfunctional outcomes while increasing the functional ones. From this point of view, the contemporary approach searches for an answer to what type of conflicts generate dysfunctional and functional outcomes in organizations. There exists a consensus that affective conflicts have dysfunctional outcomes for organizations. Both traditional and modern approaches define affective conflict as dysfunctional because of its detrimental or harmful consequences for organizations. However, the association between substantive conflict and its dysfunctional outcomes is complicated. The variables such as the nature of the task and the level of task conflict have an impact on whether or not the conflicts will generate dysfunctional outcomes.While task conflict is generally dysfunctional in teams involved in routine tasks, on the other hand, in nonroutine tasks, it is important to keep substantive conflicts within certain limits in order not to cause dysfunctional conflicts. Moreover, these general findings do not present the whole picture of conflict management. The intercorrelations between substantive and affective conflicts complicate conflict management in organizations to develop


48  Hakan Karabacak, Ünsal Sığrı, and Abülkadir Varoğlu appropriate strategies to fully eliminate dysfunctional outcomes. The main challenge of conflict management strategies seems to take advantage of functional outcomes without creating or intensifying the dysfunctional ones. To minimize dysfunctional conflicts in organizations, organizational members should have more control over the conflict process, enhance their communication and negotiation competencies, and comprehend how to use the styles of handling conflicts. There is no single best approach suitable for all conflict contexts and the suitability of any depends on the nature of the relevant conflict. In addition, the consequences of conflict are directly related to which styles of handling conflict are adopted by the organization members and how they are used. Each of the styles of handling conflict should be used in a way that eliminates and minimizes dysfunctional outcomes of conflict. The conflict as a dynamic process by its ever-​changing nature is the scene of styles of handling conflict adopted by the parties. In this process, it is significant for the parties to have communication and negotiation skills to eliminate or reduce the dysfunctional outcomes of conflicts. For this purpose, organizations should implement corporate policies to improve their employees’ communication and negotiation skills. For the organization members, there exists an opportunity to benefit from the principles and approaches of the field of communication and negotiation, which makes great progress with the ever-​developing literature they have. Periodic corporate training activities may contribute significantly to raising the awareness of organization employees about communication and negotiation skills, and the styles of handling conflict. Furthermore, regular participation in these training activities has the potential to contribute to the strengthening of ties between employees throughout the organization. In these training activities, it is possible to increase the awareness level of all employees regarding both types of conflicts and their antecedents and outcomes. Ultimately, corporate policies pave the way for the elimination or reduction of the dysfunctional outcomes of the conflicts while increasing the functional ones.

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4 Burnout syndrome1 Ufuk Başar

Introduction As work settings become more challenging for individuals, day by day, employees strive to survive in such a turbulent environment. Among those challenges, constant exposure to stress stands out. Despite considerable advances in technology, employees still have to deal with several occupational difficulties. Many times, such difficulties are perceived by employees as stress factors. Indeed, a good number of employees have stressful occupations in this day and age. Therefore, many employees are prone to burnout. Although for several years it has been investigated, employee burnout continues to attract the attention of many researchers due to its undesired consequences in terms of employee health and organizational functioning.To date, many researchers have explored the burnout phenomenon from several perspectives, such as individual, contextual, and regulatory perspectives (Maslach Schaufeli, and Leiter, 2001; Halbesleben and Buckley, 2004; Lee et al., 2003). At its simplest form, burnout refers to a psychological syndrome in which individuals feel mentally drained, estranged from their jobs, and incapable as they remain continuously under the influence of a multitude of stressors (Maslach, 1982; Maslach and Jackson, 1981a, 1981b; Maslach and Jackson, 1986). Due to the ever-​increasing interest in employee burnout and its undesired consequences in terms of both individuals and organizations, this narrative review is undertaken to present a comprehensive and up-​to-​date source for scholars and practitioners and identify specific areas for future research. For that purpose: (1) burnout syndrome is defined; (2) how employees burn out is explained; (3) perspectives of burnout are addressed; (4) how employees can effectively deal with burnout is explicated; and (5) discussions and suggestions are made on the prospective research and practice.

Defining burnout syndrome Although it was initially addressed in popular publications in the 1960s, the burnout phenomenon attracted the attention of and was conceptualized by researchers almost a decade later. In the initial studies, an inductive approach was adopted by researchers to identify burnout. Besides, early nonacademic DOI: 10.4324/9781003376972-4


54  Ufuk Başar publications inspired researchers. Thus, the initial studies were conducted to explore how burnout occurred. They aimed to identify the factors causing individuals, who worked in service jobs, to deplete their energy and lose their motivation. These studies were conducted mainly in the form of interviews and observations. Freudenberger’s (1974) work was the first in which the “burnout” term was used to identify the emotional draining of enthusiastic volunteers who provided healthcare services. Maslach (1976) also identified the psychological state of emotionally depleted individuals, who worked in human services jobs, with the term “burnout”. Therefore, burnout was first conceptualized through studying individuals who worked in either healthcare or service jobs, which involved intense interactions between employees and clients (Maslach, Schaufeli, and Leiter, 2001). Thus, in the beginning, burnout was approached as a phenomenon that occurred in service jobs such as healthcare and education, which involved intense human interactions. However, researchers afterward realized that burnout occurred in other work contexts that involved fewer human interactions as well (Başar and Basım, 2016). To better understand how burnout occurs, a candle metaphor may be used (Schaufeli, Leiter, and Maslach, 2008). A candle can continue burning as long as it has necessary resources such as air, a cord, and wax. Otherwise, it burns out. Similarly, employees can continue working effectively as long as they have necessary resources such as supervisor and coworker support, time, funds, materials, fairness, and respect. Otherwise, they may use up their energy and ultimately get exhausted. Therefore, burnout may be defined as a specific form of stress and a psychological syndrome in which individuals feel mentally drained, estranged from their jobs, and incapable as they remain continuously under the influence of a multitude of stressors such as work overload, prolonged contact with clients or service recipients, abusive, toxic and inappropriate treatment by managers, unfairness in managerial processes, and/​or insufficient support from colleagues and managers (Başar and Basım, 2016; Maslach, 1982; Maslach and Jackson, 1981a, 1981b; Maslach and Jackson, 1986). Thus, the most common conceptualization of burnout involves three dimensions: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization (cynicism), and reduced personal attainment (inefficacy) (Maslach, 1982; Maslach and Jackson, 1981a; Pines and Maslach, 1980). Emotional exhaustion is the most common, central, and basic response of employees to workplace stressors. Therefore, it is regarded as the core and most prevalent symptom of burnout. Emotional exhaustion refers to a psychological state in which an employee’s mental energy and resources are depleted. When employees experience emotional exhaustion they usually feel depressed, desperate, powerless, and weak, and cannot concentrate on their work. Emotionally exhausted employees tend to distance themselves from their work to cope with the situation (Maslach, Schaufeli, and Leiter, 2001; Başar and Basım, 2016; Cordes and Dougherty, 1993). Depersonalization or cynicism refers to a specific change in the way that employees treat their clients, colleagues, and/​or tasks. When employees


Burnout syndrome 55 experience depersonalization, they treat service recipients or clients as objects instead of persons and distance themselves from the clients. They feel detached and cynical, and display callousness toward others including colleagues and clients. Depersonalization usually occurs after emotional exhaustion as a coping strategy (Maslach, Schaufeli, and Leiter, 2001; Cordes and Dougherty, 1993; Leiter and Maslach, 1988). Finally, individuals begin feeling less competent than before. This implies another psychological state; namely, reduced personal accomplishment. Reduced personal accomplishment refers to feelings of inefficacy or negative self-​evaluations of employees.When employees experience reduced personal accomplishment, they feel less competent, less effective, and less successful than before due to insufficient resources. It usually occurs either simultaneously with or as a result of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization (Maslach, Schaufeli, and Leiter, 2001; Cordes and Dougherty, 1993; Maslach and Leither, 1997; Halbesleben and Buckley, 2004). To measure burnout, Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) is used by most researchers (Cordes and Dougherty, 1993). MBI has three forms: 1 MBI Human Services Survey, designed to measure burnout levels of individuals who work in healthcare or human services jobs (Maslach and Jackson, 1981a, 1981b), 2 MBI Educators Survey, designed to measure burnout levels of individuals who work in educational jobs (Maslach and Jackson, 1986), and 3 MBI General Survey, designed to measure burnout levels of individuals who work in jobs that involve fewer or no human interactions and are not specifically service-​oriented (Schaufeli et al., 1996). All MBI scales consist of three dimensions, with slightly different titles and content. The dimensions of the first two scales mainly measure the extent to which burnout occurs due to intense human interactions, including with colleagues, patients, clients, and students.Thus, their dimensions were labeled as emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. However, the dimensions of the third scale have a broader scope.They mainly focus on the job context instead of human interactions and are labeled as emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and personal efficacy. Related but distinct from depersonalization, cynicism refers to being indifferent and callous to the tasks and other responsibilities deriving from the job (Maslach, Schaufeli, and Leiter, 2001).

Theoretical bases of burnout syndrome Burnout is a prevalent phenomenon among employees because they frequently work under stress. A good number of employees are exposed to burnout often due to the nature of their occupation. For instance, some employees interact with customers frequently and in some cases, they have to work in shifts and endure long working hours. Meanwhile, some individual,


56  Ufuk Başar organizational, and occupational factors also contribute to employee burnout. To better understand how burnout occurs, researchers developed several theoretical models, explained briefly in this section. Conservation of resources theory The conservation of resources model explains how individuals experience stress. According to the model, individuals strive to maximize their resources. If these resources somehow diminish or become under threat, individuals get stressed. Resources refer to objects (i.e., an automobile, house, food, and cloths), personal traits (i.e.,. self-​esteem, self-​efficacy, and skills), conditions (i.e., social support, a good marriage, good health, and job security), and energies (i.e., knowledge, time, money, and competencies) (Hobfoll, 1989; Hobfoll and Freedy, 1993; Hobfoll, 2001). Shirom (1989) explained the burnout process by drawing on the conservation of resources model. Accordingly, the more individuals’ resources decrease, the more they become exhausted. In this respect, burnout occurs when individuals lose their resources, they feel potential or clear threats against their resources, their resources cannot meet job demands, and/​or they cannot receive enough returns in exchange for resources spent (Hobfoll and Freedy, 1993; Shirom, 1989). Job demands–​resources theory Demerouti et al. (2000, 2001) developed the job demands–​resources model by drawing on the conservation of resources model. According to the job demands–​resources model, working conditions are categorized into two groups: (1) job demands and (2) job resources. Burnout occurs when job demands are excessive and job resources are not enough to meet them (Demerouti et al., 2000, 2001; Bakker et al., 2003a). Job demands refer to several physical, psychological, and organizational aspects of work that require cognitive or physical efforts. Therefore, they are frequently associated with the emotional exhaustion of individuals. Some examples of job demands include excessive noise, heat, workload, contact with service recipients, shift work, and time pressure (Demerouti et al., 2000, 2001; Bakker et al., 2003b). On the other hand, job resources refer to some physical, psychological, social, and organizational aspects of work that instigate personal development and self-​learning, alleviate physical and psychological losses associated with job demands, facilitate the accomplishment of tasks, and meeting of job demands. Job resources are categorized into two main groups: (1) resources related to the cognitive traits of individuals and (2) resources related to the organizational and social environment of individuals. The job demands–​ resources model focuses on the latter. Organizational resources include factors such as the level of an employee’s control on his/​her job, opportunities for self-​enhancement, the extent to which employees contribute to decision-​making processes, and fairness. Social resources include factors such as family, peer and supervisor support, team spirit, and solidarity among


Burnout syndrome 57 colleagues. According to the model, individuals burn out when there are excessive job demands and inadequate resources (Halbesleben and Buckley, 2004; Demerouti et al., 2000, 2001; Bakker et al., 2003a, 2003b). Six areas of work-​life theory Apart from the first two models, the six areas of work-​life model focuses on the context of the burnout process. According to the model, organizational context comprises six specific areas: (1) workload, (2) control, (3) rewards, (4) community, (5) fairness, and (6) values. The higher the workload is, the more an individual burns out. Individual’s lack of control over his/​her job results in ambiguity and exhaustion. An imbalance between an individual’s efforts and obtained rewards also leads to exhaustion. Community refers to the quality of relationships between an individual and his/​her colleagues, family members, and supervisors. The less healthy the relationship is, and the less support an individual gets, the more s/​he burns out. Fairness refers to the level of mutual trust between an individual and his/​her supervisor and colleagues. Unfairness results in burnout. Values refer to basic motivations and principles that make the job attractive to an individual. Value conflicts cause burnout. In brief, burnout occurs where these factors are unfavorable to an individual. Therefore, the six areas of work-​life model explains the contextual elements that result in burnout (Maslach and Leiter, 1997; Leiter and Maslach, 1999). Cherniss’ theory of burnout Cherniss developed the first process model of burnout in the 1980s. His research comprised interviews and observations with individuals whose occupations were associated with at least one of four service areas such as mental health, law, nursing, and teaching. In this way, Cherniss (1980a,1980b) derived some variables that resulted in burnout and developed a theoretical model to explain burnout as a process. According to this theory, individuals take a job with specific career orientations and interact with several work-​specific characteristics. When individuals take a job, they bring in some support and extra demands with them (Cherniss, 1989). Work-​specific characteristics include workload, organizational stimulation, the scope of client contact, level of autonomy, organizational goals, leadership style, and social structure of the organization. Individual factors comprise career orientation and support and demands of the individual. Support and demands of the individual are among the factors that take place outside of the organization (Cherniss, 1990).This theory proposes that work-​specific characteristics, together with career orientation and support and demands of the individual result in stressors such as doubts about competence, problems with clients, bureaucratic interference, lack of stimulation and fulfillment, and lack of collegiality. Employees exposed to those stressors develop different ways to cope with them. While some employees prefer to employ active


58  Ufuk Başar problem-​solving techniques, others prefer to display negative attitudes and behaviors (Cherniss, 1992). Cherniss (1980b) argues that negative changes in the attitudes and behaviors of employees stand for burnout. Negative attitude and behavior changes occur in the form of emotional detachment, work alienation, changes in work goals, and a decrease in self-​interest. By this approach, burnout is defined as a process that occurs over time and through which individuals adapt to and/​or cope with several organizational stressors (Richardsen and Burke, 1995). Golembiewski’s theory of burnout Another theoretical model that explains burnout as a process is Golembiewski’s phase model of burnout. Golembiewski, Munzenrider, and Carter (1983) explained the burnout process using three factors of Maslach and Jackson’s (1981a) MBI (i.e., emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment). They dichotomized the factor scores as low and high at the median. Thereby, they developed eight phases. Accordingly, employee burnout occurs through eight phases sequentially. Each phase indicates the level of burnout in the form of depersonalization, reduced personal accomplishment, and emotional exhaustion experienced by individuals. By dichotomizing each factor, various combinations were produced to represent phases of burnout (Golembiewski and Munzenrider, 1984).This theory proposes that as individuals advance through phases, they incur more negative work conditions and report more negative outcomes. In this way, as individuals are exposed to workplace stressors continuously, deplete their energy gradually. Additionally, as individuals move from phase one to eight, they perceive their workplace as less attractive, feel less satisfied, feel negative, show some physical symptoms of exhaustion, and intend to leave the organization (Golembiewski, 1986; Deckard, Rountree, and Golembiewski, 1986). Leiter’s process theory of burnout Leiter (1989, 1991a, 1991b) explained burnout over two basic propositions: (1) In the course of time, factors of Maslach and Jackson’s (1981a) MBI (i.e., emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment) influence each other. (2) Factors of the MBI have different associations with the forces taking place in the environment and characteristics of individuals. In Leiter’s view, emotional exhaustion constitutes the core of the burnout process. Initially, individuals emotionally exhaust themselves as a response to several workplace stressors and job demands.Then, employees try to cope with the emotional exhaustion that they experience by depersonalizing themselves with service recipients, peers, and other colleagues. Finally, due to depersonalization and losses in their professional relationships, they begin to think that they are not successful and competent enough as they were previously. In this way, they completely burn out (Leiter, 1990). This theory proposes that emotional exhaustion is the main response by employees


Burnout syndrome 59 to several workplace stressors. The major stressors are workload and conflicts with others in the organization such as superiors, peers, service recipients, and even subordinates. Active coping strategies and support from superiors and peers tend to buffer the negative effects of stressors (Leiter, 1992).

Perspectives of burnout syndrome Building on these theories, researchers conducted several studies and identified individual, contextual, and regulatory perspectives of burnout syndrome (Maslach, Schaufeli, and Leiter, 2001; Halbesleben and Buckley, 2004; Lee et al., 2003; Wang, Liu, and Wang, 2015; Kim et al., 2017). Individual perspective The individual perspective of burnout syndrome covers and explains its individual causes and outcomes. Individual reasons for burnout syndrome derive from idiosyncratic features of an employee, such as a predisposition to be stressed (Parker and Kulik, 1995), neuroticism (Zellars, Perrewe, and Hochwarter, 2000; Bakker et al., 2006; Shimizutani et al., 2008; Alarcon, Eschleman, and Bowling, 2009; Ang et al., 2016; De la Fuente-​Solana et al., 2017), self-​blame (Shimizutani et al., 2008), being young and inexperienced (Duquette et al., 1995), being single (Maslach and Jackson, 1985), having unrealistic and high expectations for the future (Saxton, Phillips, and Blakeney, 1991), making emotional effort, engaging in emotional labor (Bartram et al., 2012), being idealistic and putting the job at the center of life (Lodahl and Kejner, 1965), perceived job/​work stress (Schmitz, Neumann, and Oppermann, 2000; Görgens-​Ekermans and Brand, 2012; Chen and Chen, 2018), lack of emotional intelligence (Gerits et al., 2005), compassion fatigue (Sung, Seo, and Kim, 2012), inadequate sleep (Chin et al., 2015), type D personality (Kim et al., 2017), type A personality (Maslach, Schaufeli, and Leiter, 2001), providing spiritual care (Arli, Bakan, and Erisik, 2017), pathogenic empathy-​based guilt (Duarte and Pinto-​Gouveia, 2017), sleep quality (Giorgi et al., 2018), feeling of inadequacy in parenthood, dissatisfaction with pay (Takayama et al., 2017), emotional burden (Vandenbroeck et al., 2017), lack of empathy (Yuguero et al., 2017), inadequate self-​esteem and self-​efficacy, avoiding problems (Alarcon, Eschleman, and Bowling, 2009), and external locus of control (Schmitz, Neumann, and Oppermann, 2000; Alarcon, Eschleman, and Bowling, 2009). Although some researchers speak of the effect of demographic factors on employee burnout, Duquette et al. (1994) and Payne (2001) report that, except age and years of experience, demographic characteristics of employees are not consistently associated with burnout. When it comes to individual outcomes of burnout syndrome, it is possible to count several undesired situations that harm the well-​being of the employees. Some of the most prominent outcomes involve mental health disorders (Parker and Kulik, 1995; Giorgi et al., 2016; Laschinger et al., 2015;


60  Ufuk Başar Garcia-​Izquierdo et al., 2018), depression, anxiety disorder, fatigue, insomnia, headache (Motta et al., 2018), physical health problems (Giorgi et al., 2016), sick leave (Parker and Kulik, 1995), life dissatisfaction (Demerouti et al., 2000), hopelessness (Pompili et al., 2006), musculoskeletal ailments (Jaworek et al., 2010), psychological distress (Zou et al., 2016), unpreparedness, ill-​ being (Vandenbroeck et al., 2017), poor quality of life (Zhang, Loerbroks, and Li, 2018), and alcohol and drug addiction (Chen and Cunradi, 2008). Contextual/​organizational perspective The contextual perspective of burnout syndrome covers and explains its contextual causes and outcomes. Contextual factors that result in employee burnout originate from environmental, organizational, and/​ or occupational conditions. Some of the frequently investigated contextual reasons of burnout syndrome comprise effort–​ reward imbalance (Bakker et al., 2000), work overload (Demerouti et al., 2000, 2001; Shimizutani et al., 2008; Hansen, Sverke, and Naswall, 2009; Leiter, Gascon, and Martinez-​Jarreta, 2010; Kowalski et al., 2010; Görgens-​Ekermans and Brand, 2012; Takayama et al., 2017;Vandenbroeck et al., 2017), time pressure, demanding customers, intense contact with service recipients, shift work (Demerouti et al., 2000; Pines and Maslach, 1978), lack of supervisor support, lack of supervisor feedback, lack of participation in decision-​making processes, lack of control on tasks, lack of task variety, lack of rewards (Demerouti et al., 2000, 2001; Maslach, Schaufeli, and Leiter, 2001), conflict with others including colleagues, lack of task preparation (Payne, 2001), excessive demands (Basinka and Wilczek-​Ruzyczka, 2013; Jaworek et al., 2010; Lee and Akhtar, 2011), lack of esteem for employees (Basinka and Wilczek-​Ruzyczka, 2013), role conflict and role ambiguity at work (Lee et al., 2003; Hansen, Sverke, and Naswall, 2009; Lee and Akhtar, 2011; Vandenbroeck et al., 2017), shift work and role overload (Lee et al., 2003), conflicts with managers (Leiter and Maslach, 1988), job insecurity (Hansen, Sverke, and Naswall, 2009), bullying (Yagil, 2006; Giorgi et al., 2016), lack of recognition, uncertainty, conflicts with family, strained relationships (Lee and Akhtar, 2011), inadequate number of personnel (Görgens-​Ekermans and Brand, 2012), spillover of work-​related issues outside of the workplace including home (Görgens-​Ekermans and Brand, 2012; Vandenbroeck et al., 2017), irritation at inadequate control on tasks, dissatisfaction with pay, using day care facilities for children outside of the office (Takayama et al., 2017), violence, abuse and incivility from service recipients or customers (Campana and Hammoud, 2015), hazardous and risky working conditions (Hu et al., 2015), organizational politics (Başar and Basım, 2016), unjust managerial practices (Maslach and Leiter, 1997). As for the contextual outcomes of burnout syndrome, it can be said that they are mostly related to organizational functioning. Some of the significant outcomes include absenteeism (Parker and Kulik, 1995; Vandenbroeck et al., 2017), poor job performance, low productivity (Giorgi et al., 2018; Parker and Kulik, 1995; Maslach and Jackson, 1985), turnover intention


Burnout syndrome 61 (Leiter, Harvie, and Frizzell, 1998; Leiter and Maslach, 2009), neglect of work (Başar and Basım, 2016), job dissatisfaction (Zhou et al., 2015; Kim et al., 2017), weakening of ties with the organization (Leiter and Maslach, 1988; Hakanen, Schaufeli, and Ahola, 2008), and quitting the job (Jackson, Schwab, and Schuler, 1986). Regulatory perspective In addition to the two sets of perspectives above, it is necessary to focus on another perspective of burnout syndrome. Namely, the regulatory perspective that comprises the factors regulating or moderating the associations between causes and burnout and between burnout and outcomes. The first group of these factors strengthens the associations between the reasons and employee burnout. In other words, they catalyze the impact of predictor variables on employee burnout. Employees exposed to these factors feel the impact of predictor variables more than the ones who are less or not at all exposed. Researchers revealed some catalysts of employee burnout. For instance, according to Schmitz, Neumann, and Oppermann (2000), perceived work stress results in higher burnout in employees who have an external locus of control. Jawahar, Stone, and Kisamore (2007) reported that role conflict resulted in higher burnout in employees who possessed lower political skills and perceived less organizational support. De Hoogh and Den Hartog (2009) reported that autocratic leadership resulted in higher burnout in employees who were more neurotic. King and Sethi (1997) found that role ambiguity and role conflict resulted in higher burnout in employees who were less committed to their organizations. Rothmann, Jackson, and Kruger (2003) discovered that actual stress resulted in burnout in employees who perceived less coherence. Görgens-​Ekermans and Brand (2012) found that work stress resulted in higher burnout in employees with lower emotional intelligence. Campana and Hammoud (2015) found that incivility resulted in higher burnout in employees who valued interpersonal justice. Garcia-​ Sierra, Fernandez-​ Castro, and Martinez-​ Zaragoza (2016) discovered that high job demands resulted in higher burnout in less engaged employees. Chen and Chen (2018) reported that high job demands and low job resources resulted in higher burnout in employees who perceived less leadership effectiveness, and Diestel and Schmidt (2011) revealed that emotional dissonance resulted in higher burnout in employees who had larger cognitive control deficits. The second group of factors that constitute the regulatory perspective moderates the outcomes of employee burnout, either by strengthening or weakening the impact of burnout. Despite their significance, researchers have recently started investigating the roles of such factors. For instance, according to Garcia-​Izquierdo et al. (2018), burnout leads to more health problems in employees with low resilience. Başar and Basım (2016) reported that burnout resulted in stronger turnover intention in employees who perceived organizational politics to a higher extent. Yavas, Babakus, and Karatepe (2012)


62  Ufuk Başar revealed that burnout resulted in lower performance in employees who were less hopeful than those who were more hopeful. Lu and Gursoy (2016) reported that burnout led to higher job dissatisfaction and stronger turnover intention in millennials than baby boomers. Tourigny, Baba, and Wang (2010) found that burnout caused less depression in employees who were more satisfied with their jobs. All these findings demonstrate the significance of burnout syndrome as a driver of adversities in daily work life and organizational functioning. Therefore, finding some ways to deal effectively with burnout may help overcome such undesired consequences.

How to effectively deal with burnout syndrome? It is very clear that some specific workplace stressors result in employee burnout. Individuals cope with stressors either by focusing on the problem or emotions (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984; Folkman and Lazarus, 1985; Lee et al., 2016). Problem-​focused coping comprises active and proactive behaviors, such as striving to solve the issue and/​or searching for assistance. Proactive behaviors are displayed before stressors come into being, whereas active behaviors are displayed during or after the stressors emerge. Proactive individuals sense, anticipate, and take action against stressors before they occur. On the other hand, emotion-​focused coping focuses on an individual’s emotions in a way to change and control them while responding to stressful events. Thus, it comprises passive reactions to stressors (Demerouti, 2015; Abellanoza, Provenzano-​Hass and Gatchel, 2018; Lee et al., 2016). Some of the emotion-​focused strategies consist of practices, such as dreaming or thinking positively, staying out of what goes around, reproaching oneself, easing the tension, looking for emotional assistance, accepting or denying the situation, worshipping, and praying (Carver, Scheier and Weintraub, 1989; Lazarus and Folkman, 1984). Despite controversies, it seems that problem-​ focused approach or active/​ proactive coping strategies are effective in preventing or alleviating burnout; but emotion-​focused or avoidance/​passive coping strategies are not (Ceslowitz, 1989; Chan and Hui, 1995; Payne, 2001; Hu and Cheng, 2010; Shin et al., 2014; Chang and Chan, 2015; Demerouti, 2015; Lee et al., 2016). Individuals act diversely to cope with burnout. Demerouti (2015) summarized some of these behaviors and attitudes. Accordingly, a frequently applied strategy is to withdraw from the stressful environment so that employees who detach themselves mentally from work can recover rapidly. Detachment occurs through turning off the switch, not thinking about issues related to the job after work (Sonnentag and Fritz, 2007). Another recovery practice is relaxation. To relax and refill batteries, after work, individuals refrain from transactions that need much effort (Sonnentag and Natter, 2004). Attending social activities after work also helps recover. Such activities include, for example, spending time with others after a busy day at a café, restaurant, or pub (Sonnentag, 2001). Chatting with friends, family members,


Burnout syndrome 63 and colleagues regarding positive events, expectations, and emotions also helps reduce burnout (Sanz-​Vergel et al., 2010). Individuals also employ selection, optimization, and compensation strategies to deal with burnout. To use resources effectively, individuals identify and prioritize their goals, thereby, concentrating on the primary goals and relegating others. Additionally, they optimize resource allocation to achieve their objectives. For example, by acquiring new skills or using new technologies, they may devote less effort and facilitate the accomplishment of their goals. Finally, when previously spent resources are no longer effective, individuals may try to compensate for the burnout by taking external assistance or reinforcement such as utilizing new technical means (Demerouti, Bakker and Leiter, 2014). Living a healthy life also helps overcome burnout. By exercising, taking healthy nourishment, resting, and paying attention to physical and psychological well-​being, individuals keep their mental and physical strength and become more resilient (Swetz et al., 2009). Using humor while dealing with work-​ related issues, stressful circumstances, and managing relations with others is another effective strategy to reduce tensions and prevent burnout (Van den Broeck et al., 2012). Additionally, some individuals craft their jobs to experience less or no burnout. When individuals craft their jobs, they usually try to change their tasks in terms of repetition of some actions or nature of the tasks and organization of their social network in a way to reduce contacts with others who serve as stressors. By crafting their jobs, individuals increase their resources and deal with burnout (Tims, Bakker, and Derks, 2013). In addition to these remedies, researchers have to date revealed that several factors help prevent or mitigate burnout syndrome through improving individuals’ resources and thereby fostering coping strategies. Job resources play an important role in dealing with burnout syndrome. The more employees have job resources, the less they burn out. Hence, job resources have a negative impact on burnout. Moreover, job resources buffer the impact of job demands on burnout, such that job resources reduce the strength of job demands’ influence on burnout and help employees cope with excessive job demands (Bartram et al., 2012). Job resources can be enhanced by some supportive factors. These factors may be categorized as employee characteristics, managerial actions, and some interventions. Employee characteristics include internal locus of control (Schmitz, Neumann, and Oppermann, 2000; De Hoogh and Hartog, 2009), extroversion (Shimizutani et al., 2008; Yu, Jiang, and Shen, 2016), agreeableness, conscientiousness (Yu, Jiang, and Shen, 2016), openness (Yu, Jiang, and Shen, 2016), empathy (Yu, Jiang, and Shen, 2016), self-​efficacy in communication (Emold et al., 2011), emotional intelligence (Görgens-​Ekermans and Brand, 2012), psychological capital (hope, self-​efficacy, resilience, and optimism) (Laschinger and Grau, 2012), health promoting behaviors/​ lifestyle (i.e., stress management, nutrition, spiritual growth, interpersonal relations, and health responsibility) (Alexander et al., 2015), positive core self-​evaluations (Li et al., 2014), mastery approach goal orientation (Adriaenssens, De Gucht


64  Ufuk Başar and Maes, 2015), mindfulness (Abenavoli et al., 2013; Alexander et al., 2015), positive affect (Abenavoli et al., 2013), positive self-​concept (Consiglio et al., 2014), positive professional self-​concept, organizational commitment (Cao et al., 2015), optimism (Chang and Chan, 2015), self-​efficacy in occupational coping (Laschinger et al., 2015), self-​determination (Fernet, Guay, and Senecal, 2004), promotion regulatory focus (Shi et al., 2015), and identification with work team (Cheng et al., 2016). Managerial actions include improving social capital (Kowalski et al., 2010), applying structural empowerment (Laschinger, Wong, and Grau, 2013), providing positive working environment (Emold et al., 2011), implementing high-​performance work systems (i.e., employment security, selective hiring, extensive training, self-​managed teams, sharing information, transformational leadership, and high-​quality work) (Bartram et al., 2012), being dependable, empowering leadership, providing organizational support (Bobbio, Bellan, and Manganelli, 2012), ensuring fit or match of areas of work life (i.e., workload, community, rewards, fairness, control, and value congruence) (Laschinger et al., 2015; Laschinger and Grau, 2012; Laschinger and Read, 2016), providing high challenge/​control in one’s work (Hansen, Sverke, and Naswall, 2009; Adriaenssens, De Gucht, and Maes, 2015), providing high autonomy in one’s job (Fernet, Guay, and Senecal, 2004; Vandenbroeck et al., 2017), expressing goals clearly (Hansen, Sverke, and Naswall, 2009), providing wide decision latitude (Kowalski et al., 2010), ensuring support of coworkers/​peers (Vandenbroeck et al., 2017), support in the work group (Hansen, Sverke, and Naswall, 2009), support of superiors (Chen and Chen, 2018), social support, learning opportunities (Vandenbroeck et al., 2017), support of friends and family (Yu, Jiang, and Shen, 2016), giving feedback (Hansen, Sverke, and Naswall, 2009;Vandenbroeck et al., 2017), letting employees to voice directly and giving responses to employees in a timely manner (Holland, Allen, and Cooper, 2013), applying authentic leadership (Laschinger and Read, 2016; Laschinger,Wong, and Grau, 2013; Laschinger et al., 2015), charismatic leadership (De Hoogh and Hartog, 2009), civility norms (Laschinger and Read, 2016), transformational leadership (i.e., expecting high performance, forging a vision, setting a proper model, fostering shared group objectives, providing individualized support, and stimulating intellectually) (Shi et al., 2015; Cheng et al., 2016), staffing adequately, implementing shorter working hours (Zhou et al., 2015), delegating tasks (Edwards et al., 2018), and coordinating relations (Havens, Gittell, and Vasey, 2018). Interventions include mindfulness training (Abellanoza, Provenzano-​ Hass, and Gatchel, 2018; Horner et al., 2014; Duarte and Pinto-​Gouveia, 2016), psychosocial interventions training (Ewers et al., 2002), communication skills training (Shimizu et al., 2003), yoga intervention (Alexander et al., 2015), professional identity development training (Sabanciogullari and Dogan, 2015), psychodrama-​ based psychological empowerment training (Ozbas and Tel, 2016), psychological adjustment training (Yu, Jiang, and Shen, 2016), resiliency and stress management training (Magtibay et al., 2017).


Burnout syndrome 65

Discussion The present chapter aimed readers to contemplate and focus on the conceptualization, theorization, different perspectives, and remedies of burnout syndrome. All of the above explanations indicate the significance of burnout syndrome once more from different points of view. As mentioned in previous sections, the findings of previous studies indicate that despite the adverse consequences and inevitableness of employee burnout, it is still possible to deal effectively with it and prosper in the workplace. However, to eliminate it and ensure healthy working conditions, more efforts should be directed to investigate and understand employee burnout. In this respect, as researchers revealed various factors resulting in employee burnout and effects of burnout on employees, further research is recommended on moderating factors, for example, studying the factors that strengthen or alleviate the influence of initiators of burnout, to better understand the burnout process. Researchers may also study another group of moderating factors that either strengthen or weaken the effect of burnout. Moreover, researchers may try to unveil the factors and processes that help prevent burnout. Further mechanisms that may improve employees’ resources should be explored. In addition, as many studies have been conducted by cross-​sectional design to date, future studies should involve longitudinal designs to better understand the causal relationships between predictors and burnout as well as between burnout and its consequences. Additionally, more experimental research is needed to understand the influence and role of interventions designed to reduce burnout, help employees to cope with multiple stressors effectively, and develop anti-​burnout strategies. Researchers may also engage in studies for which data may be collected from various sources, such as managers, peers, and service recipients to obtain a more complete picture with more valid results and overcome issues, such as common method variance. Finally, multilevel studies should be conducted to better understand relationships between factors, which belong to different analysis levels such as individual level (i.e., burnout levels of employees who report to department managers), group level (i.e., political skills of department managers who report to chief executive officers), and organizational level (i.e., the leadership style of chief executive officers). Based on the findings to date, some courses of action are proposed as directions for practitioners to alleviate, mitigate, or prevent burnout. First, individuals should be aware of burnout syndrome and the risk of exposure to it.They should know that their job is a stressful one; they are thus prone to burnout unless they take measures. In that regard, they should improve themselves in terms of coping with stress and burnout. They should adopt active coping mechanisms against stressors, focus on the problems and try to solve, instead of avoiding or ignoring, the problems.When needed, they should ask for assistance from peers and/​or supervisors. Thereby, they should face and deal with stressors effectively. Second, individuals should improve their psychological capital. In other words, they should be hopeful, optimistic, patient,


66  Ufuk Başar positive, and resilient. They should be confident of themselves and not be afraid of obstacles. If they fail, they should try to bounce back stronger than before. They should establish good relationships with their peers, superiors, and other parties, be attentive to their nutrition, exercise regularly and sleep well. They should have a social life. They should attend social activities in their leisure.They should not think about job-​related issues after work.They should be positive, optimistic, and determined. They should see the glass as half full, not half empty; be mindful of their environment, determine clear and reasonable objectives and motivate themselves to achieve them. Finally, they should participate in intervention and training programs voluntarily. In terms of managers, they should select and hire the right person for vacant positions through personality tests and interviews. They should provide autonomy for employees in their tasks, inform them of managerial processes, treat them with dignity and expect high-​quality services from them, support them closely when they need, be fair, honest, and polite, inspire them through articulating their mission, explain organization’s vision and have it internalized, set an example for them, give them the opportunity to participate in decision-​making processes, provide feedback, respond sincerely to their requests, be authentic, foster shared values, delegate tasks fairly, reward distinguished efforts. Besides, they should provide continuous training for employees to help them cope effectively with stress and burnout. Moreover, social events should be organized to make staff and their family members become acquainted with each other and strengthen solidarity, cooperation, and unity among colleagues.

Conclusion This chapter has attempted to present a comprehensive and up-​to-​date source for scholars who study employee burnout and for practitioners who work at various organizations and to identify specific areas for future research. For that purpose, it has focused on the issue from several perspectives, looking for answers to such questions as How and why do employees burn out? What happens after burnout occurs? What should be done to prevent burnout? and What kind of studies should be conducted in the future? to better understand the burnout process. Accordingly, this chapter may appropriately serve individuals who look for answers to such queries.

Note 1 Some parts of this chapter draw on Ufuk Başar’s doctoral dissertation (Basar, 2019).

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5 Psychological harassment at work Harun Şeşen, Ahmet Maşlakçi, and Lütfi Sürücü

Introduction Being studied for more than three decades, the concept of psychological harassment has become an important topic globally. This concept was first examined in European countries, followed by Canada, Japan, USA, and Australia. From a historical perspective, the concept first emerged in Sweden around the early 1980s and then spread to other countries (Agervold, 2007). In organizational psychology, harassment at work is both a new and an old phenomenon; however, the change in focus from a collective and social perspective to an individualistic viewpoint has brought a new approach to the negative consequences of harassment for employees. In addition, there has been growing interest in harassment among researchers and community groups such as unions or government agencies, further boosting the attention on negative consequences for individuals. In the last decade, this interest forced many countries to enact laws to identify and prevent harassment at work. The concept of psychological harassment at work was first reported by Leymann in the early 1980s as a result of studies on similar types of long-​ term hostile and aggressive behavior among employees. Such a stream of studies to date shows that psychological harassment at work is common and spreading (Godin, 2004). A United Nations study reported the prevalence of workplace harassment as 30.9% in Bulgaria, 20.6% in South Africa, 10.7% in Thailand, 22.1% in Lebanon, 10.5% in Australia, and 15.2% in Brazil (Di Martino, 2003). In the European Union, prevalence rates of psychological harassment vary by country, between 2% and 15% (Weber, Hörmann, and Köllner, 2007). Psychological harassment increases employee stress and prevents them from working efficiently. It is a problem that reduces loyalty and may reach such severe levels that it threatens health (Zapf, Knorz, and Kulla, 1996). Psychological harassment is the ultimate form of some stressors at work. However, unlike the usual stressors, it is a type of conflict between employees at the same level or employees in a supervisor–​subordinate relation, ongoing for at least six months and directed toward a target person and applied to wear down the person (Vandekerckhove and Commers, 2003). Types of DOI: 10.4324/9781003376972-5


Psychological harassment at work 77 organizations and professional groups with a high prevalence of workplace psychological harassment vary. Psychological harassment was found to be most common among universities, health organizations, and voluntary organizations (Leymann, 1990). Di Martino, Hoel, and Cooper (2003) reported high prevalence rates of psychological harassment in the public administration, education, healthcare, transportation, and communication sectors. In general, psychological harassment directed at subordinates is the most frequent type at work (Vandekerckhove and Commers, 2003). However, some studies have also shown that consultants and managers are frequently subjected to psychological harassment. The most common negative (i.e., harassing) behaviors in such situations include withholding information that may affect performance, imposing impossible deadlines for a project, assigning projects impossible to complete (Hoel and Cooper, 2000), assigning meaningless tasks or tasks beneath the worker’s competence level, and similar systematic efforts to devalue the person (Piñuel y Zabala and Oñate Cantero, 2002). Behaviors of offense, humiliation, insult, threatening, exclusion, isolation, criticism, pushing to margins, putting under excessive load, slander, and abuse of disciplinary procedures fall within the scope of psychological harassment (Zapf, 1999). In fact, it is a common problem that may occur in any organization, regardless of its nature of psychological harassment (Davenport, Schwartz, and Elliott, 1999). Research shows that frequent and prolonged exposure to psychological harassment has negative consequences for individuals and organizations (Hoel and Cooper, 2000). For example, Leymann and Gustafsson (1996) reported that psychological harassment at work might lead to severe mental and psychosomatic health problems, as severe as the possible effects of being in war or concentration camps. A survey of 396 people in Spain revealed a positive relationship between psychological harassment at work and psychosomatic symptoms (De Pedro et al., 2008). In that study, 64 victims of psychological harassment were assessed for post-​traumatic stress disorder symptoms by a trauma specialist, and all met the diagnostic criteria for post-​ traumatic stress disorder. More recent research shows that changes in business life in recent decades have not reduced psychological harassment in prevalence; on the contrary, it further exacerbated, in some cases, the vulnerability of people to psychological harassment. The protection of employee rights emerges as an important issue in business life with intensive changes and transformation through globalization and digitalization. Threats to employee rights are sometimes seen differently (Kartal, Depren, and Depren, 2019). While social media may enable all to communicate with all, it may also expose people to hate speech, harassment, and bullying threats from others (Rezvan et al., 2020). Thus, social media emerges as a new context and conduit for psychological harassment. In this framework, this chapter reviews the state-​of-​the-​knowledge on workplace psychological harassment to understand the causes, actors, models,


78 Harun Şeşen, Ahmet Maşlakçi, and Lütfi Sürücü outcomes, and responses and offers recommendations for organizations and managers.

Definition of psychological harassment Many different terms are used in the Western literature to describe the process of psychological harassment: mobbing, bullying, bossing, intimidation, emotional abuse, work abuse, hostile work behavior, psychological aggression, psychological terror, or workplace trauma (Crawshaw, 2009). Although these terms differ on certain points, they have a similar meaning (Ferrari, 2004). Some authors define abuse at work in a hierarchy with “workplace abuse” at the top that encompasses all forms of workplace abuse in a general category that includes discrimination, sexual harassment, and unsafe working conditions (Crawshaw, 2009). The second is “workplace psychological harassment” as differentiated from the general category, while the third is “workplace bullying” or “mobbing.” In his pioneering work, Leymann (1990) used the terms “psychical terror” or “mobbing” to describe the behavior of animals abducting enemies or strangers, and described this phenomenon at work as hostile and unethical communication that is directed in a systematic way by one of a number of persons mainly toward one individual. Later, Swedish scholars used the term “bullying” to describe such behaviors. Leymann (1990, 1996), on the other hand, discussed mobbing behaviors among adults and investigated the phenomenon of psychological harassment in this framework. Björkqvist, Österman, and Hjelt-​Bäck (1994) used “work harassment” term and defined it as repeated acts aimed at one or more people who are unable to defend themselves for any reason, to inflict mental pain. Keashly, Trott, and MacLean (1994) defined “abusive behavior/​emotional abuse” as any verbal or nonverbal act that is not sexual or racial/​ethnic, directed by one or more persons against another to discreetly undermine him/​her, to obtain the consent of others and they implied that isolated incidents should not be characterized as psychological harassment. In a later study Einarsen and Skogstad (1996) discussed that to qualify a behavior as bullying, it must occur at a certain frequency for a certain duration, and the person exposed to this condition must be in a position/​situation where s/​he cannot defend him/​herself. They stated that conflicts in which both sides have equal power or that occur on a one-​off basis should not be described as bullying. Hoel and Cooper (2000) described “psychological harassment” as when one or more people are subjected to negative behavior continuously for a certain time by one or more other people where the person who is subject to harassment is unable to defend him/​herself, and they stated that individual incidents are not considered psychological harassment. Also, Salin (2003) emphasized the continuity and defined psychological harassment as negative behaviors directed constantly and repeatedly at one or more people, creating a hostile work environment and pointed out that psychological harassment


Psychological harassment at work 79 develops between parties with unequal power where the targeted person has difficulty protecting themselves. Although there are many definitions of psychological harassment, there are some key points that most researchers agree on: (1) it involves aggressive and hostile actions that are perceived negatively by the person who is being psychologically harassed; (2) these behaviors are not one-​off or independently occurring, but rather occur with a certain frequency and persist for a certain duration; (3) there is a marked imbalance of power between the parties where the person cannot defend themselves on equal footing. A conflict that develops between parties of equal power is not characterized as psychological harassment (Salin, 2003). Psychological harassment is distinct from the concept of workplace violence in that violence at work may occur in some cases as a one-​off. In contrast, psychological harassment is repeated and continues for a particular duration (Djurkovic, McCormack, and Casimir, 2003). Workplace psychological harassment includes disrespect to workers or humiliating behaviors (Fornés et al., 2011). It is associated with psychological symptoms (Skogstad et al., 2007), including anxiety, depression, somatic symptoms (Zapf, Knorz, and Kulla, 1996) and lower life satisfaction (Bowling and Beehr, 2006). At the organizational level, psychological harassment is associated with reduced motivation, performance, and job satisfaction, which prevents employees from working efficiently (Yıldırım, 2009). It is also associated with higher levels of employee resignations (Quine, 2001).

Causes of psychological harassment Personal factors Personal factors apply both to perpetrators and victims of psychological harassment and are essential because people who engage in psychological harassment share certain personality traits that make them more likely to ignore the rules of society. Personal factors that may influence psychological harassment include gender, age, level of education, and workplace seniority (Ferrari, 2004; Wasti and Cortina, 2002). People prone to engage in psychological harassment tend to prioritize their aggressive, obsessive, personal interests and prefer to use psychological violence as a weapon. Abusers try to conceal their personal failure and inadequacy by harming others, through which they expect to achieve their ends (Namie, 2003). However, the relationship between psychological harassment and personality is complex; therefore, it is impossible to characterize a uniform general victim or perpetrator because some victims are more susceptible to psychological harassment and are more reactive than others.The personality characteristics of the victim or the perpetrator should not be termed the cause of psychological harassment; nevertheless, these characteristics should not be ignored entirely.


80 Harun Şeşen, Ahmet Maşlakçi, and Lütfi Sürücü Work environment There is a tendency to link the phenomenon of psychological harassment to organizational factors such as leadership, stressful workplace environment, and hierarchical structure. For example, according to Leymann (1996), competition in large organizations will be more intense and relationships more confrontational where many professionals work. Therefore, psychological harassment is more common in such organizations. Furthermore, in many cases, organizational structure triggers a conflict between employees. For example, squabbles about duty and jurisdiction, high-​performance goals, and attrition observed in interpersonal relationships may support psychological harassment (Einarsen, Raknes, and Matthiesen, 1994). Therefore, social relations at work are important factors. Organizational structure Organizational structure (vertical/​ hierarchical or horizontal/​ network), job descriptions and designs, business processes, business organization, and dominant leadership structure provide a basis for psychological harassment. In institutions with a vertical organizational structure based solely on monitoring by the chain of command, employees receive orders only from their direct superiors, and managers only issue orders to their subordinates. In this model, areas of authority and responsibility are more clear-​cut. However, as organization size grows, vertical structure negatively affects internal communication. Hierarchical structures often bring about an authoritarian management style that in turn creates a suitable environment for psychological harassment that eventually becomes part of the management style. In addition, a hierarchical organization, usually seen in large enterprises, is also a convenient structure in which abusers may hide. In small-​scale enterprises, it is easier to identify the person being harassed. The horizontal structure allows greater flexibility. Employees take orders from multiple managers, so it is natural to have authority conflicts. In such organizations, more uncertainty prevails than in vertical organizations. This creates significant pressure on employees and disputes between managers and employees. A Scandinavian study showed that this type of job uncertainty was a factor in harassment at work (Cole et al., 1997). Institutions with internal competition and reward systems may create an environment that fosters psychological harassment. If an employer uses a rank-​based performance assessment system, employees may wish to punish those who raise the performance threshold and break working norms and subsequently attempt to increase their ranking by sabotaging the performance of their colleagues. On the other hand, if employee performance is determined based on team performance, conscious or unconscious harassment may be exhibited in an attempt to eliminate people whose performance is below the team average. These negative effects of reward systems cause horizontal psychological harassment. Managers may want to eliminate


Psychological harassment at work 81 high-​performance employees whom they see as potential rivals, as well as low-​performance employees who limit the unit’s success, driven by the pressure to meet the high demands set by top management. Consequently, psychological harassment in today’s organizations may be used as a competition strategy, creating a link between corporate policies and psychological harassment.

Organizational culture, organizational climate, and psychological harassment Organizational culture forms the behavioral characteristics of the group and is an element of the social system (Lewis, 2003). Organizational culture, which constitutes the whole of unwritten values, customs, and norms within the organization, and the whole of shared beliefs, attitudes, and behavior patterns, direct employees’ behaviors, especially if this culture is dominant. When psychological harassment is caused by individuals it is easier to overcome, if necessary, measures are taken against those who commit harassment. However, when harassment becomes entrenched as part of the corporate culture and adopted as a form of governance, eradicating it becomes more difficult (Lewis, 2003). Harassment, supported or even rewarded by senior management, is also observed and maintained by those who will become managers in the future. Thus, the culture of harassment becomes an ongoing tradition in the institution. Although anyone in the institution may become a victim, gender and ethnic minorities are at a higher risk (Timmerman and Bajema, 2000). With psychological harassment stemming from the organizational climate, the workplace atmosphere is tense, competitive, and dominated by quarrels and contention. Although a hostile work environment is sometimes defined as a cause of harassment, the harassment itself negatively affects the working environment, creating an adverse organizational climate. Therefore, it is difficult to determine which is the cause and which the effect, and more in-​depth research is needed to reveal the underlying mechanisms (O’Moore, Lynch, and Daeid, 2003). External best-​practices benchmarking may be helpful in showing the culture or climate of the organization and identifying the presence of psychological harassment (Stephens and Hallas, 2006: 30). Social values, norms, and modernization Psychological harassment may occur due to corporate policies or employees’ personality characteristics, regardless of the institutional characteristics and structure (Acar, Kıyak, and Sine, 2014). Even employees who do not have personality characteristics conducive to harassment may engage in harassment due to their social environment. Modernization and globalization are essential to defining the social environment. Psychological harassment is a unique phenomenon in the workplace’s institutional structures and social factors. However, we cannot


82 Harun Şeşen, Ahmet Maşlakçi, and Lütfi Sürücü separate psychological harassment from social and institutional structures. The individual interacts with the social structure (Agervold and Mikkelsen, 2004) and the social structure shapes both individual’s behavior and business structure. Individuals typically act according to their social code, but can change these social codes over time through their actions. Therefore, the organizational structure, society, and individuals are continually interacting with each other (Boucaut, 2001). Some of the structural features that are particularly entrenched in Western societies create effects that support psychological harassment, including individuality, innovation, efficiency, competition, and unlimited freedom. In communities where individuality is prominent in the social structure, individuals are responsible for their own behavior and for solving any problems in their working life. In some cultures, the social support provided to individuals is weak. The innovation that makes constant change and transformation necessary creates a suitable environment for psychological harassment. Competition is the most crucial element of today’s working life and efficiency is an indispensable condition of competition. Employees are required to achieve a high level of performance to be successful in their jobs, which may make them a target for other employees (Salin, 2003). In such an environment, managers feel free to use any means to achieve their goals. Individualism and collectivism are concerned with the degree to which society acts individually or collectively, emphasizes individual or collective success, and promotes interpersonal relationships. In societies where individualism is prevalent, there is less communication among individuals, whereas in societies where collectivism is prevalent, there is more communication between individuals. Either condition may contribute to the occurrence of psychological harassment, but the underlying cause differs. In societies where interpersonal communication and commitment are lower or a high-​power distance exists, employees engage in psychological harassment more easily (Jacobson, Hood, and Van Buren III, 2014) because their responsibilities to each other are weaker. Modernization and change in working life Leymann (1990) states that in the advanced industrialized societies of the Western world, workplaces are the only remaining battleground where individuals can kill each other without fear of being referred to the court. With modernization, rapidly changing social structures and production processes, along with competition, are increasingly alienating individuals, facilitating the emergence of more frequent rough behavior. This suggests that the leading cause of psychological harassment is changing working life and that personality characteristics or institutional characteristics are secondary. The World Health Organization’s Mental Health Conference in 2005 concluded that full-​time production, horizontal and weak organizations, competition, high goal-​setting, expanded flexible working patterns, and new management approaches negatively affect employees’ mental health (WHO, 2006).


Psychological harassment at work 83 Change in working life also changes management style and use of power. Management style is highly related to structure and culture, and the use of power emerges from management style. An autocratic management style may easily encourage harassment, and if the organization lacks checks and balances, psychological harassment may become a management tool. A more democratic and participative management style may render managers more accountable and transparent, which may help prevent harassment, while a laissez-​faire leadership or passive-​avoidant management could encourage harassment at work (Glambek, Skogstad, and Einarsen, 2018).

People involved in psychological harassment Leymann (1996) pointed out that 71% of those who committed psychological harassment were supervisors in the organization. Research reveals the common personality traits in people who are prone to engage in psychological harassment. They often adopt such behavior in order to psychologically harm others merely because they compete with them (Namie, 2003). Leymann (1996) reports that individuals engage in psychological harassment to compensate for their own shortcomings. In general, people who engage in psychological harassment tend to be aggressive, obsessive, prone to prioritize their personal interests, and prefer psychological violence as a weapon. The role of the victim’s personality characteristics is also crucial to this discussion. Although there are no specific characteristics of psychological harassment victims, research reveals that certain personality traits may render an individual more likely to experience psychological harassment. For example, Zapf and Leymann (1996) found that victims of psychological harassment typically did their job well, did not compromise their work principles, identified with their work, and were honest and trustworthy. According to Leymann (1990), the victim of psychological harassment is psychologically worn out by the harassment. Studies revealed that about one-​third of psychological harassment victims experienced psychological harassment in the first six months of starting at the workplace. Only almost a quarter of victims experienced psychological harassment after the first five years of service (Knorz, 1996). Research investigating the relationships between victims’ age, workplace seniority, and psychological harassment revealed that victims of psychological harassment were either often young employees who had just started work or people with a high level of seniority who were in the workplace for a long time. Other individual characteristics also appear to be associated with psychological harassment victims. For instance, Lippel et al. (2016) reported that women were more likely to be the victims of workplace harassment. Although some studies supported this finding (e.g. Eurofound, 2012; Salin, 2015), others did not (e.g. Lewis, Giga, and Hoel, 2011). Some other studies found that professional status (such as being a nurse rather than a doctor) might be a differentiating factor for psychological harassment (Fornés et al., 2011).


84 Harun Şeşen, Ahmet Maşlakçi, and Lütfi Sürücü Also, some individuals exposed to harassment may keep silent for only a short-​term advantage for them. For example, a victim who experiences harassment sometimes may choose not to complain because s/​he may think it will be better not to cause any “fuss” in the organization (Tehrani, 1996).

Models of psychological harassment As psychological harassment is a dynamic phenomenon, it also involves different stages.Three types of psychological abuse models emerged: Björqvist (1992) envisioned a three-​stage process, Leymann (1990) predicted a four-​to five-​stage process, and Schlaugat (1999) indicated a process model. Björqvist (1992) described the first stage of psychological harassment as indirect behavior that is difficult to recognize. During this stage, the perpetrator undermines the victim by breaking his/​her word, making innuendo, or spreading rumors. In the second stage, the aggressor feels no guilt as the victim falls into an increasingly isolated (outcast) position among the employees. In the third stage, a direct form of non-​measured violence occurs where psychological or physical illness emerges, and the victim is wholly excluded from the workplace (Niedl, 1995). The process of psychological harassment begins as a set of behaviors that offend the victim, causing more and more pain, and leading to a severe outcome. However, for some victims, the effects of the aggression are more gradual and may follow different paths. There is no singular path of psychological harassment for all victims. According to Leymann’s (1990, 1996) model, the first stage of the psychological harassment process begins with the employee engaging in a short and temporary period of isolation due to disagreements at work. At the second stage, hostile and aggressive behavior is consistently and systematically directed against the victim over a long time, with the goal of tormenting him/​her through exclusion.These behaviors damage the victim’s reputation, communication with others, social relationships, and work environment, restricting freedom of movement and physical integrity. While the behavior observed at this stage is not disturbing when observed independently in the everyday communication process, it is necessary to characterize the behavior as harassment if it is aimed at a person and done to intimidate that person continuously. In the third stage, the harassment becomes an official event if managers or human resource units become involved.The final stage involves a legal warning to the victim –​s/​he may be removed from the position, the employment contract may be terminated by management, or by the victim. Other possibilities include a long-​term leave requiring a doctor’s report or early retirement. Leymann concluded that If the victim of psychological harassment continues to work at the same workplace, s/​he will have to continue to work as an outcast, s/​he will be given more instructions, and s/​he will not be able to communicate with colleagues or superiors. (Leymann, 1996)


Psychological harassment at work 85 The process model developed by Schlaugat (1999) describes the psychological harassment process as a period of violent clashes. Similar to Leymann (1996), Schlaugat (1999) stated that psychological harassment at work did not always result in loss of employment. A transition model emerged as an extension of previous models. According to Schlaugat (1999), the transition stage is a temporary lull, where the aggressive communication is interrupted and suspended, conflict subsides, and harassment temporarily ceases. However, the transition phase is temporary. The previous abusive behavior typically resumes after a time (Schlaugat, 1999).

Comparing psychological harassment with similar concepts Physical violence often comes to mind when one talks about violence at work. In recent years, the increase in turnover rates resulting from psychological harassment has defined the issue as a significant problem in working life. However, not all negative behavior employees face at work constitutes psychological harassment. This concept sometimes bears a close resemblance to other concepts recognized by law. Therefore, it may be confused with similar concepts. For example, it will be contrary to the principle of nondiscrimination and equal treatment, not psychological harassment, for the employer to deprive an employee of social benefits because of being a woman. Therefore, the issue should be clarified by comparing this case with similar cases. Bullying vs. harassment In addition to the concept of bullying, other concepts are used to explain psychological harassment. The psychological and physical aspect of violence forms the basis of Leymann’s (1990) distinction between “mobbing” and “bullying.” According to Leymann (1990), bullying involves physical assault, violence, and threat. Although physical violence is rare in disruptive and damaging workplace acts, the same phenomenon in schools is strongly characterized by acts of physical aggression. Leymann (1990) therefore proposed “bullying” for schools and “mobbing” for workplaces. Sexual harassment at work Sexual harassment is defined as a psychological construct where unwanted sex-​ related behavior at work is appraised by the recipient as offensive, exceeding her capabilities, or threatening her well-​being (Fitzgerald, Swan, and Magley, 1997). While there is no universal agreement, most definitions contain similar elements, such as descriptions of the conduct as unwanted or unwelcome and the purpose or effect of being intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive (McDonald, 2012). On the other hand, some studies show that men are also exposed to sexual harassment at work.


86 Harun Şeşen, Ahmet Maşlakçi, and Lütfi Sürücü For example, a study by Holland et al. (2016) showed that men experienced sexual harassment at work in the form of unwelcome sexual advances, unwanted touching, or sexual remarks. It was found that sexual and gender-​ based harassment was associated with negative psychological well-​being and low job satisfaction for men at their workplace. Psychological harassment is the systematic psychological intimidation of an individual by one or more subordinate or third parties at work in a way that is hostile, degrading, and persistent. The most crucial point that distinguishes sexual harassment and psychological harassment is the perpetrator’s intent. A psychological harasser intends to humiliate, offend, and intimidate the victim with an ultimate end of forcing the person to leave or be removed from the workplace, whereas a sexual harasser intends to obtain, or in most cases extort, sexual favors from the victim. Stalking (abusive behavior) Stalking refers to following, harassing, and threatening a person (Kube, 1999). Stalking victims are subjected to abusive behavior similar to that of psychological harassment in that it takes the form of intimidation, criticism, coercion, blackmail, and similar behaviors. In other words, behavior in both types of harassment shares similar characteristics (Bieszk and Sadtler, 2007). The perpetrator of psychological harassment exhibits different characteristics such as a tendency to prioritize personal interests and a preference for using psychological harassment as a weapon. Cyber harassment Due to the growing popularity and use of the internet globally, harassment and other forms of negative behavior have emerged in virtual form, referred to as “cyber harassment” (Winkelman et al., 2015). Cyber harassment is an emerging topic and has only lately appeared in scholarly journals. The term “cyber harassment” is often used interchangeably with terms such as “cyber abuse,” “cyberstalking,” and “cyberbullying.” Cyber harassment is more partner or relation concentrated that incorporates a range of activities such as sending abusive, threatening or obscene e-​mails, text messages, posts on social networking and blog sites and phone calls (Beran and Qing, 2005). Studies on cyber harassment identified a range of harassment through computer or telecommunications media, including monitoring e-​mail communication, sending e-​mail that threatens, insults, or harasses, disrupting e-​mail communications by flooding a victim’s e-​mail box with unwanted mail or by sending a virus program, or posting inappropriate messages or stalking behaviors in chat rooms, bulletin boards, blog sites, and/​or on personal social networking site pages (Spence-​Diehl, 2003; Southworth et al., 2007). Cyber harassment may have destructive effects on social media users such as emotional distress resulting in withdrawal from social network sites or even life itself (Van Laer, 2014). It also has adverse effects on service providers


Psychological harassment at work 87 because victims tend to terminate the use of such services, thus causing significant loss to providers in the long run. That is why social media providers take action to prevent cyber harassment through monitoring technologies that enable the detection and discontinuation of cyber harassment. However, some social media users may view the use of those tools as a threat to their online identities. Cyber harassment research is an emerging subject more likely to trigger more research in the future. The significant difference between psychological harassment and cyber harassment is the “milieu” in which harassment occurs. Psychological harassment is recognized in natural working environments, while cyber harassment is perpetrated in cyber working environments. Recent research could not find a link between cyber harassment and traditional workplace harassment because the perpetrator tries to be anonymous in cyber harassment (Walters and Espelage, 2020).

Impact of psychological harassment on organizations Psychological harassment harms organizations in many ways. For example, the costs incurred for hiring and training new staff to replace the harassment victims, reduced performance levels (Di Martino, Hoel, and Cooper, 2003), and negative public opinion affecting the organization’s reputation may reduce the public trust. Psychological harassment costs the organization both psychologically and economically (Leymann, 1990). Psychological costs include conflict between individuals, adverse organizational climate, collapse of organizational culture, insecure environment, reduced general feelings of respect, and reduced creativity. Psychological harassment may have adverse effects on an organization’s productivity and employee job satisfaction (Hoel, Einarsen, and Cooper, 2003). Psychological harassment causes the formation of a tense and conflicting organizational culture in institutions. Therefore, job satisfaction and employee success are adversely affected, qualified workers are lost, and productivity suffers due to poor performance (Hoel, Einarsen, and Cooper, 2003). Where psychological harassment exists, there may be an increase in sick leave, an increase in recruitment and training costs due to experienced staff resignation, a decrease in productivity, an increase in financial costs due to lawsuits, and exposure to reputational risk through the circulation of psychological harassment stories outside the workplace. In addition, the victim of psychological harassment may share the problems with his/​her family, who will also be adversely affected. Considering as a whole, psychological harassment negatively affects the victim, family, workplaces, and, therefore, society. As a result, psychological harassment is one of the organizational problems that disrupt the health of individuals, institutions, and society (Kartal, Depren, and Depren, 2019). With psychological harassment at work, employees’ attention diverges from the goals of the organization and the importance of their duties. Both


88 Harun Şeşen, Ahmet Maşlakçi, and Lütfi Sürücü the employees subjected to psychological harassment and the employees who witness the events lose confidence in the organization. Psychological harassment leads to increased absenteeism, high turnover rates, missed deadlines, poor customer service, increased accidents, and reputation damage for the organization (Stephens and Hallas, 2006). Among employee attitudes, commitment to the organization is most negatively affected by psychological harassment. Various studies show that psychological harassment negatively affects the emotional commitment component of organizational commitment (Breen and McNamara, 2004). As harmony among employees deteriorates, an environment of distrust emerges. Employees subjected to psychological harassment tend to adopt a negative attitude toward the organization. Economic costs of psychological harassment include increased use of sick leave, costs associated with hiring new employees, increased training needs, reduced overall performance, reduced job quality, compensation costs, unemployment costs, legal costs, and early retirement payments (Salin, 2009). New hiring and training costs increase as experienced employees leave the organization. The increased use of sick leave driven by psychological harassment at work also lowers productivity. Litigation resulting from psychological harassment cases contributes to the financial burden on employers. The social costs to the organization are also significant. Employees subjected to abusive behavior are likely to tell others outside the organization what they are experiencing in the work environment, which may undermine organizational outcomes and tarnish the organization’s reputation (Stephens and Hallas, 2006). This may have serious adverse effects in today’s highly competitive business environment. Organizations lose vital people when they turn a blind eye to psychological harassment under their roof.

Organizational responses to psychological harassment Despite the known negative effects of psychological harassment in organizations, little is known about what organizations should do when harassment is reported. Even in countries with anti-​harassment laws, employers are often required to decide how to respond to psychological harassment (Salin, 2009). Although researchers have addressed preventive actions such as training programs (Antecol and Cobb-​Clark, 2003) or job design measures (Li et al., 2019), there is limited research on organizational responses to psychological harassment. Psychological harassment may take different forms and have different labels. However, there is agreement that workplace harassment includes repeated and systematic hostile actions that are mainly psychological rather than physical. Although various types of responses may be applied to psychological harassment, Salin (2009) defines four general categories based on targets and perpetrators with low or high levels: (1) reconciliatory measures, (2) punitive measures, (3) transfer actions, and (4) avoidance. Reconciliatory measures include soft and integrative actions that try to establish positive


Psychological harassment at work 89 relations between the target and perpetrator. Such actions may be helpful at the beginning stages of harassment but if the case is escalated those measures may be of limited use (Zapf and Gross, 2001). Punitive measures must focus intensely on the perpetrator (Salin, 2009) and require disciplinary actions such as dismissal, withholding promotion, or terminating the perpetrator’s contract. Transfer actions focus on protecting the target and include transferring either the perpetrator or the victim. The avoidance category does not entail actual actions; organizations may prefer not to act in harassment cases. Some managers believe that the target is weak, or that intervening in an interpersonal matter is not the managerial role, or may wait hoping the case will disappear (Salin, 2009). However, there is a risk of escalation in harassment cases if strong measures are not taken. Most organizational policies and codes of practice dealing with harassment focus on unacceptable behaviors. In this process, organizations put value on only identification of inappropriate behaviors and replace them with acceptable ones. Some suggestions for statements to be included in Organizational Codes of Acceptable Behavior are as follows (Tehrani, 1996): • • • • •

Treat others with respect; Embrace the value of diversity of race, creed, gender, and physical capability in enriching the work environment; Listen to other people’s points of view; Take personal responsibility not to offend others; Challenge inappropriate behaviors in others, regardless of the individuals’ rank.

However, this process misses the psychological point; that is, punishing harassment may restrict addressing the underlying cause of harassment (Egan, 1990). When organizations try to reduce harassment at work, it is essential to define how they make their employees treat each other (Tehrani, 1996).To that end, the main point is to clearly identify and communicate the behaviors valued by the organization and the code of acceptable behaviors. Psychological harassment in the organizational context has two important cultural issues (Tehrani, 1996). First, it is associated with whether the organization has an authoritarian or autonomous perspective. In addition, it is essential to identify whether the organizational culture is supportive of employee needs. In an authoritarian culture, managers most probably use a paternalistic approach to handle harassment at work. Organizations that are familiar with authoritarian culture should have comprehensive anti-​harassment policies in order to monitor the possible incidents. On the other hand, autonomous organizations are supportive of employee needs but less likely to have rules addressing harassment. These cultures focus on encouraging employees for developing a supportive work environment and using rights and responsibilities for interactions within the organization (Tehrani, 1996). In order to deal with harassment, most organizations may align their policies with the appropriate behavior culture. For employees, it is vital


90 Harun Şeşen, Ahmet Maşlakçi, and Lütfi Sürücü to examine culture for acceptable behaviors. Although there is no single solution that fits all harassment cases, there are some common features of effective organizational responses to psychological harassment at work (Becton, Gilstrap, and Forsyth, 2017): • • • •

Measures such as a clearly written anti-​ harassment policy for the organization, A safe and accessible complaint procedure for harassment cases, Periodic management training and employee awareness programs, Clear organizational response measures and processes.

Organizations formulate actions to punish harassment through disciplinary systems because they need to protect the well-​being of employees and of the organization. For such disciplinary process, the role of training is to develop communication skills among employees (Tehrani, 1996). Many organizations also believe that along with punishment, support should be provided in training to those who engage in harassment to enhance communication skills and remedy their own inappropriate behaviors. From a psychological point of view, substantial assistance and training are essential to strengthen communication skills.

Legislation on psychological harassment Many countries enacted legislation to prevent psychological harassment. Laws are the most important instruments for reducing harassment at work. For example, Basu (2003) notes that harassment at work is handled in the USA through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or national origin. There is no legislation in USA that directly addresses psychological harassment. However, the American Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and Disabled Americans Act of, 1990 provide indirect protection against psychological harassment (Yamada, 2011). In the European Union countries, Sweden was the first to enact special regulations for psychological harassment. The “Decree on Prevention of Violence and Threat in the Workplace” and “Decree on Victim in the Workplace” were promulgated in 1993. These decrees were enacted pursuant to the Working Environment Law, which came into force in 1978. On the other hand, the Discrimination Act of 2008 contains some provisions on psychological harassment (Poirier, Rivest, and Frechette, 2018). Germany has no regulation specific to psychological harassment. However, the Workplace Organization Law of 2001 and Equal Treatment Act of 2006 provides indirect protection against psychological harassment. On the other hand, there are court decisions regarding psychological harassment, the first issued in 1997 (Poirier, Rivest, and Frechette, 2018).


Psychological harassment at work 91 The first regulation on psychological harassment in Belgium was enacted in 2002 under the Law on Protection from Workplace Violence, Psychological Harassment and Sexual Harassment. Under the Law on the Welfare of Employees in the Work of 1996, some regulations were issued that contained detailed provisions on psychological harassment (Poirier, Rivest, and Frechette, 2018). The first regulation was issued in 1992 in France; due to however its limited scope, the Social Modernization Law was revised in 2002 (Poirier, Rivest, and Frechette, 2018). Through this law, provisions on psychological harassment were incorporated in the French Labor Law and Criminal Code under the concept of psychological harassment.

Conclusion When psychological harassment is allowed to mount, a practical solution is unlikely. The most critical action for preventing psychological harassment is raising awareness. The importance of psychological harassment should be considered when formulating human resource policies, and solutions should be developed for preventing psychological harassment and intervening when it occurs. Managers should provide employee training on stressors and stress management to ease the stressful work environment, which is an essential factor in the emergence of psychological harassment. In addition, managers should strive to enrich jobs, prevent role conflicts, and emphasize and address employee needs. In order to prevent psychological harassment more efficiently, businesses should be fair on issues that create conflicts such as promotion, authority, and wages. In order to cope efficiently with psychological harassment: • • • • •

The scope and limits of psychological harassment should be clearly defined; Violations should be considered a crime under criminal law; Relevant laws should deal with material damages and suffering by people subjected to psychological harassment; Discrimination must be prevented at work or in hiring process based on gender, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, disability, convictions, age, and sexual orientation; Scientists, health professionals, trade unions, lawyers, sociologists, psychologists, and victims should understand the concept of psychological harassment and explain their views through research, publications, websites, books, and interviews (Becton, Gilstrap, and Forsyth, 2017; Salin, 2009; Stephens and Hallas, 2006).

Supporting people who are affected by harassment is crucial for organizations if they are to change their organizational culture. Most


92 Harun Şeşen, Ahmet Maşlakçi, and Lütfi Sürücü organizations view peer support as an effective way of dealing with harassment in organizations. For example, in the Royal Mail, a group of trained “Listeners” was created for employees who were faced with harassment. In this process, the primary role of the “Listeners” was to listen to the employee, evaluate the main problem, and then make a decision about the harassment process (Tehrani, 1996). In that system, if there were some emotional or any other complicated problems, the “Listener” would refer the problem to an “Employee Support Advisor” who had the skills and power to try to solve the problem through in-​depth counselling. This system is associated with “problem assessment model” that enables an advisor/​counsellor to look at the problem with more practical solutions. The general public should be informed about psychological harassment through print and visual mass media to create overall awareness. On the other hand, unions can play an essential role in combating psychological harassment (Kartal, Depren, and Depren, 2019). Many factors are associated with workplace psychological harassment, including organizational factors, social factors, personal characteristics of the victim and of the perpetrator. However, the leading causes appear to be organizational factors (Stephens and Hallas, 2006). In this context, when social inequalities are taken into account, mechanisms to prevent psychological harassment need to address organizational and social contexts rather than individual-​related factors.

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6 The glass ceiling Gözde İnal-​Cavlan and Şenay Sahil Ertan

Introduction Women’s economic advancement and empowerment have broader consequences for the socioeconomic development and well-​ being of countries. Nevertheless, women still face numerous barriers to economic advancement (Forkuor, Buari and Aheto, 2019). Studies indicate that in formal professional environments, the remuneration offered to women is generally lower in comparison to men who perform the same job. Women also experience discrimination at work with regard to promotion and abuse (Jena, 2015; Markovic, 2009). Furthermore, demographic statistics show that while significant progress has been made, the number of women in executive roles is not balanced (U.S. Department of Labor, 2005). Although the number of women entering employment is increasing and they are advancing to management roles, they still have limited access to executive status (Catalyst, 2011). This lack of progress has been explained by various factors, which can largely be grouped into three categories: organizational constraints, interpersonal challenges and individual difficulties (Wellington, Kropf and Gerkovich, 2003). Scholars have argued that this limited advancement can be blamed on the so-​called glass ceiling, which is a hidden obstacle preventing women from advancing due to attitudinal or organizational discrimination (Barr, 1996). Moreover, studies have also determined that glass walls exist, which are lateral constraints that prevent women from developing their careers (Wellington, Kropf and Gerkovich, 2003). In this chapter, (i) the concept of the “glass ceiling” is examined; (ii) the current global perceptions of the glass ceiling are investigated; (iii) how the glass ceiling works is explained; (iv) the glass ceiling in the 21st century is examined and; (v) discussions on how to shatter the glass ceiling are made.

Concept of the “glass ceiling” The glass ceiling is a widely used metaphor that refers to the impenetrable and invisible barriers that stand in the way of individuals who are either women or members of a racial/​ethnic minority group in their efforts to reach higher management and executive positions in their organizations (Johns, 2013; DOI: 10.4324/9781003376972-6


98 Gözde İnal-​Cavlan and Şenay Sahil Ertan Ohemeng and Adusah-​Karikari, 2015). For two decades, scholars, journalists and the wider public have referred to the glass ceiling metaphor to explain the experience of women in the workforce. The term ceiling denotes that women reach an upper boundary in terms of their progression through the organizational hierarchy, while glass denotes the comparative nuances and transparent nature of this obstacle, which may not necessarily be visible. It was first introduced in an article published in the Wall Street Journal in 1986. The glass ceiling is an informally recognized constraint preventing progression at work, which particularly affects women and minority groups. Glass ceilings may even be found in organizations that have established specific policies pertaining to equal rights to progression in that implicit bias at work or behaviors in the organization disregard or undermine the specific policy. By design, the glass ceiling exists as a metaphor that cannot be solved. According to a report published by the U.S. Congress in 1991, although the presence of individuals who were either women or members of a racial/​ethnic minority group increased considerably, they were still underrepresented in executive/​ management positions in their organizations, and contrived barriers existed inhibiting their achievements. Therefore, the U.S. Congress adopted the Glass Ceiling Act and established the Glass Ceiling Commission to explore the following issues: • • • •

The behaviors of companies in filling management and decision-​making positions; Skill development procedures employed to enhance qualifications required to fill such positions; Wage policies and reward systems in place in companies; Establishment of an ‘annual excellence prize’ to promote more qualified workforce at the management and decision-​making levels of the company (Johns, 2013).

Also, the focus of the glass ceiling is extended to cover all promotion-​ related occasions, not just those related to high-​level executive positions (Socratous, Galloway and Kamenou-​ Aigbekaen, 2016). Women may encounter a glass ceiling even though they have the required education, knowledge, expertise and other qualifications (Powell, 1999; Socratous, Galloway and Kamenou-​Aigbekaen, 2016). Over time, various metaphors have been employed to describe the same phenomenon, all of which refer to constraints on women’s promotion to higher level positions (Smith, Caputi and Crittenden, 2012). These metaphors consist of glass cliffs, glass walls, glass escalators, glass slippers, sticky floors and firewalls (Barreto, Ryan and Schmitt, 2009; Bendl and Schmidt, 2010; Ohemeng and Adusah-​Karikari, 2015; Rudman and Heppen, 2003; Sabharwal, 2013). There is strong evidence that women are underrepresented in management roles in numerous countries including Australia (Maginn, 2010; Still, 2006), China (Tan, 2008), France (Barnet-​Verzat and Wolff, 2008), South Africa (Booysen and Nkomo, 2010; Mathur-​Helm, 2006), UK (Davidson, 2009) and the USA (Eagly,


The glass ceiling 99 Alobo and Inyang Egbe, 2007). The metaphor ‘glass ceiling’ is commonly used to define the difficulties that women face in rising to higher management positions in their organizations (Burke and Vinnicombe, 2005; Smith, Caputi and Crittenden, 2012). As defined and studied in the literature, the glass ceiling has various aspects, including employer bias, adverse perceptions about women’s professional capabilities or future commitments, exclusion of women from casual networking events, stereotypical approaches, inadequate counselling, restricted on-​the-​job-​training and advancement, and the absence of flexible working periods and family friendly environments to assist women with coping with their dual functions (Cordano, Scherer and Owen, 2002; Lahtinen and Wilson, 1994; Metz, 2003). The priorities of women such as family responsibilities have been perceived to adversely impact their likelihood of development directly or indirectly, leading to unequal achievements as well as a motherhood penalty (Jamali, Safieddine and Daouk, 2006). Some indicate that the concept of the glass ceiling has roots in the varying cultural and economic factors across the world. While such factors exist at societal level, it is also recognized that certain industries and organizations are more conducive to women’s advancement. In contrast to the traditionally ‘masculine’ sectors such as medicine, law, engineering and the armed forces, women are observed to be more prominent in the areas of medical assistance, education and library sciences. These jobs arguably provide flexible working hours in addition to more opportunities for qualified women who wish to join the labor force. In summary, there are barriers with roots in social and economic factors as well as those that are specific to certain organizational environments (Bain and Cummings, 2000). These barriers will be discussed in greater depth in the subsequent sections under three subheadings: societal barriers, organizational barriers and personal barriers. The recent global perception of the glass ceiling and suggestions on how to shatter such glass ceiling barriers are also examined.

Current global perceptions of the glass ceiling Despite advancements toward gender equality, there is a gender gap in boardrooms on a global basis (Carli and Eagly, 2016) and women in board seats have not reached parity with men. An examination of Fortune 500 companies from the Missing Pieces Report reveals that women gained 187 seats on boards between 2012 and 2016, accounting for 20.5%. However, women in boards remain underrepresented and there is no country in the world where there is perfect equality between men and women in boardrooms. Deloitte Global collected and summarized data on women in board seats, as shown in Table 6.1. The study discovered that women held 15% of all board seats on a global basis, which was an improvement of 5 percentage points over 2014. Table 6.1 demonstrates that European companies have taken the lead toward gender parity on board seats and exceeded the global average. Clearly Iceland, Norway and France are at the top of the


100 Gözde İnal-​Cavlan and Şenay Sahil Ertan Table 6.1 Board seats held by women globally Region


Women’s share of board seats (%)

North America

Canada USA Brazil Australia New Zealand Belgium Sweden France Norway Iceland India China Japan South Korea Morocco South Africa

17.7 14.2 7.7 20.4 27.5 27.6 31.7 40.0 42.0 44.0 12.4 10.7 4.1 2.5 4.3 19.5 15.0

Latin America Australasia Europe


Africa Global Average

Adapted from: Deloitte “Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective Report” (2016)

global rankings. In Iceland, women have 44% of the seats, thus representing the highest representation on boards. This is followed by Norway (42%), France (40%) and Sweden (31.7%) (Deloitte, 2016). Nevertheless, women still remain extremely underrepresented as CEOs of large corporations in particular. Despite the steady growth of East Asian economies (Beenson, 2009), women still hold far fewer seats on boards than men with rates of 12.4% for India, 10.7% for China, 4.1% for Japan and 2.5% for South Korea, which are well below the global average (Deloitte, 2016). They are paid less and have fewer promotion opportunities than their male counterparts (Laythaban and Balasubramanian, 2017). On the other hand, the gender stereotype in South Korean society has an influence on the labor market that negatively impacts women in boardrooms, and their likelihood of career progression is reduced (Kang and Rowley, 2005). Table 6.1 clearly demonstrates the presence of the glass ceiling in South Korea and Japan. In the case of the world’s two most populous countries, India fares slightly better than China, with 12.4% versus 10.7%. Since India has a tradition that requires women to stay at home in order to take responsibility for children while men work outside their homes, particularly in rural areas, without accepting contemporary change, the glass ceiling barriers will be more difficult to break. The gender equality data for South Africa show improvement in that women’s board representation increased to 19.5%. In the USA, women hold 14.2% of the board seats, slightly below the global average.


The glass ceiling 101 Women face many difficulties in ascending to the top including stereotyping (Carli and Eagly, 2016), which for example depicts effective leaders as being men rather than women (Koenig et al., 2011). Women tend to be seen as lacking the required agency characteristics and are therefore put in a double blind, as women are penalized for pursuing power and higher wages (Amanatullah and Tinsley, 2013). Thus, women suffer from both gender stereotyping and gender discrimination. The general perception is that men are preferred over women for board selection (Koch and Farquhar, 2015).

Glass ceiling barriers Generally, glass ceiling constraints are not specifically related to personal qualifications, although they do prevent the advancement of qualified individuals. Educational qualifications and other official attestations of competence are not questioned. Rather, the lack of advancement to management positions is associated with limitations that have no relation to the individual’s abilities or future prospects. The notion of the glass ceiling constraint is significant because it strikes at the core of the strong ideological perception that anyone can benefit from the American Dream if they basically apply sufficient effort. Studies have identified various obstacles restricting women and minority individuals from reaching the top management echelons. The contemporary women’s movement has confronted a new and more complex challenge. While the struggle was initially focused on gaining acceptance in the workforce, specifically in terms of management roles, it is now clear that some women have achieved this goal. However, as women make progress toward senior positions in various types of organizations, the number of women who in fact assume senior roles has diminished. This leads one to question what factors cause this phenomenon and what women experience as they commence their progression through the corporate hierarchy to success. Most importantly, why do they ultimately not make it to the peak? An explanation for this may be that women who reach the top and are successful demonstrate that they are different than their male counterparts in executive positions (Mincer, 2002), and that in fact the traditional “old-​boys” network still dominates. It may also be that such women are not satisfied with such achievements as a result of the continuous pressure affecting their professional lives (Flowers, 2001). Regardless of the actual cause, it is evident that the number of female high achievers in traditional organizations remains limited.This section focuses on research on the obstacles confronting women in the traditional workplace. Glass ceiling barriers are primarily classified into three subheadings: social, organizational and personal/​ individual barriers (see Table 6.2). Societal barriers include gender stereotypes, gender misconceptions in leadership positions and tokenism. Informal recruitment methods, corporate culture environment, unstructured human resource policies and Queen-​ Bee Syndrome are grouped as organizational barriers to women’s career


102 Gözde İnal-​Cavlan and Şenay Sahil Ertan Table 6.2 Glass ceiling barriers Societal Barriers

Organizational Barriers

Personal Barriers

Stereotypes and gender discrimination Gender misconception in leadership positions Tokenism

Informal recruitment method

Women’s preference

Corporate culture environment Unstructured human resource (HR) policies and strategies Internal organizational changes Queen-​Bee Syndrome

Glass cage

progression. Lastly, personal/​individual barriers include women’s preferences and the glass cage. Societal barriers Gender roles and stereotypes have a significant role in inhibiting women’s advancement. Societal barriers include stereotypes, differences in gender, leadership position situations and tokenism. Social theory emerged as an attempt to recognize the triggers of social behavioral gender variations and similarities (Eagly and Kites, 1987). Singh, Terjesen and Vinnicombe (2008) asserted that the existence of the class ceiling could be traced to the gender-​ specific social structures in which the work was created by and for men and where the gender-​specific work positions described by patriarchy resulted in gender discrimination and stereotyping. Hoobler, Wayne and Grace Lemmon (2009) argued that typical gender roles (such as bread-​earner vs house-​maker) were assigned to both men and women, thus shaping their opinions about their own abilities as well as behavioral expectations. In particular, family and occupational settings are influential in the assignment of gender-​only defined positions (Clevenger and Singh, 2013). This perspective is in line with social role proponents, who argue that women are not congruent with organizational efficiency as their supportive, collaborative and nourishing characteristics are observed to be contradictory to executive canniness, resulting in subconscious stereotyping of gender roles (Kiaye and Singh, 2013). The preconceptions of their positions and skills are gender-​ based stereotypes of women (Oakley, 2000). Social role proponents argue that defining women as being more caregivers and therefore less committed to their professions strengthens the glass ceiling (Hoobler,Wayne and Lemmon, 2009). Sullivan and Lewis (2001) noted that skilled women focused on their professions are less likely to marry and have children. Women find it harder to manage and still fulfil family requirements (Mann and Seacord, 2003). Progress in women’s careers is hampered by family obligations, raising children and discharging domestic duties (Jogulu and Wood, 2011). For


The glass ceiling 103 women’s careers, domestic acts such as getting married and starting a family are perceived as glass ceiling factors. In addition, social organizations such as family, community and government place limitations on the number of children that a woman can have (Alibeli, 2014). A nonsupportive corporate culture (as elaborated under organizational barriers), gender stereotypes, disinclination toward women, domestic priorities and patriarchal environments are the obstacles preventing women’s career progression, which can be defined as glass ceilings (Lathabhavan and Balasubramanian, 2017). In addition, gender misconceptions such as perceiving women as inferior to men due to the absence of masculine characteristics and thinking that they cannot be powerful leaders constitute some of the invisible barriers among corporate women (Napasri and Yukongdi, 2015). Society believes that in their characters, behaviors and needs, men and women are distinct. It is often possible to distinguish abilities linked to an individual’s gender. The masculine stereotype may be defined as being aggressive, strong, autonomous and resolute, whereas women are perceived to be good-​natured, compassionate and focused on their children and family (Heilman, 2001). Discrimination against women may occur as a result of inconsistencies between the predominantly communal characteristics linked to women by individuals and predominantly agentic characteristics, they think are needed to be effective (Ćorić, 2018). This results in a less favorable assessment of the future management of women because management capacity is more stereotypical of men than of women. Conversely, a female manager’s perception of being comparable to her male counterpart may also cause her to be disadvantaged (Ćorić, 2018). However, as efficient women leaders are often inclined to breach the gender norms, when they exhibit masculine stereotypical, agentic characteristics and since they are not able to demonstrate feminine stereotypical, community characteristics, they may be unfavorably assessed for violating their gender standing (Eagly and Karau, 2002). Recent studies indicate that stereotyping and discriminating against women are significant factors in corporate hierarchies that deprive women of senior roles. This implies that in countries where stereotyping and discrimination against women are more prevalent, the proportion of women in senior positions should be significantly smaller. The concept of tokenism has frequently been employed to denote the societal obstacle for women working in unconventional or patriarchal professions (Forkuor, Buari and Aheto, 2019). The concept was initially popularized by Laws (1975), who analyzed the specific challenges confronting women attempting to enter environments dominated by men. Laws stressed the marginal status of a token as someone who is allowed to enter as a result of the ownership of recruitments for group entry, but is not allowed to have full participation because of the lack of prerequisites for persons in that situation (race, gender, ethnicity). Through tokenism, a person whose social class is not sufficiently represented in particular cases will be forced to confront specific challenges including increased exposure and social alienation (Lupton, 2000: 483). Researchers have explored tokenism in the


104 Gözde İnal-​Cavlan and Şenay Sahil Ertan context of female soldiers, cadets, academics, physicians, managers, professors and engineering students, while others have focused on token male nurses, elementary school teachers, flight attendants, childcare workers and administrative personnel. In terms of police officers, various authors have examined the concept of tokenism (Gustafson, 2008). It is being increasingly observed around the world that more women are assuming managerial responsibilities at different levels including corporate boardrooms. Although significant numbers of women may be found in entry-​level positions in organizations, there are fewer women further up the ladder as they climb. According to the 2005 Catalyst Census of Women Board Directors of Fortune 500 companies, although women comprised 45.4% of the labor force, only 14.7% had reached boardroom level and 1.6% became CEOs. Numerous studies have provided evidence of the prevalence of token representation (Arfken, Bellar and Helms, 2004). With respect to the employment of women in nonconventional professions or those traditionally dominated by men, the theory of tokenism has been frequently invoked. A token worker may be defined as someone who, in spite of satisfying all entry qualifications and having the required competencies, is only employed to emphasize the organization’s stance against discrimination and to project the diverse nature of the work environment (Zimmer, 1988; Forkuor, Buari and Aheto, 2019). Their reason for employment is thus not directly related to their suitability for the role (necessary attributes), but rather because of their specific characteristics (race, gender, religious belief), which differentiates them from most other workers in the organization. Hence, tokenism is predominantly seen in professional environments in which one characteristic (race, gender, religious belief) is clearly dominant, perhaps comprising in excess of 85% of all employees (Zimmer, 1988). Tokenism implies that someone whose social class is not sufficiently represented in specific contexts is likely to have negative experiences including increased exposure and social alienation (King et al., 2010). This is frequently used to explain the status of minority groups in formal organizational settings. Organizational barriers Organizational barriers comprise the second category of glass ceiling barriers and include informal recruitment methods, corporate culture environments, unstructured HR policies and strategies, internal organizational changes and Queen-​Bee Syndrome. Institutional barriers are discussed in this chapter. While the extent to which such a glass ceiling is evident in a given organization may vary, there is a general consensus that it has been difficult for women to attain positions of higher responsibility beyond the overall leadership stage (Clevenger and Singh, 2013). One of an organization’s structural barriers could be informal hiring approaches, including network referrals to replicate larger proportions of male workers, whereas open methods of recruitment, like publicly announcing available positions or using recruitment agencies, can reduce gender ascription in recruitment (Reskin and


The glass ceiling 105 McBrier, 2000). Carli and Eagly (2016) noted that utilizing a transparent policy regarding recruitment techniques instead of recruiting via informal networks is also associated with higher female representation in leadership. The corporate culture environment is another organizational barrier. This represents the main barrier to women’s career advancement. There are “old-​boy” networks in most male-​led organizations that completely exclude women (Cooper Jackson, 2001). For example, in Singapore, the lack of organizational practices such as ‘networking, mentoring, flexible working hours and family-​friendly initiatives’ increases the prevalence of the glass ceiling (Dimovski, Skerlavaj and Mok Kim Man, 2010). Other reasons for reduced levels of women’s advancement in organizations specifically involve culture (Socratous, Galloway and Kamenou-​Aigbekaen, 2016). National culture has a profound impact on the model that individuals have for their organizations and the implications they attribute (Hofstede, Hofstede and Michael Minkov, 2005). Organizations are subjective entities from the viewpoint of employees as employers assign significance to their organizational environment based on their own cultural perceptions (Trompenaars and Hampden-​Turner, 1998).This demonstrates that the cultures of corporations are influenced by the cultures of countries in which they are based as well as the characteristics of the human resource culture. On the other hand, the lack of structure in HR policies and strategies for female employees represent major barriers faced by women when attempting to progress their careers (Goveas and Aslam, 2011). Corporate strategies, such as in Bahrain, function as a glass ceiling factor as companies are incapable of managing equality in terms of job opportunities for women, and the old-​boys network is also influential here as it excludes women from the mainstream organization (Pillai, Prasad and Thomas, 2011). Management perceptions are such that higher-​level positions should be dominated by men, while challenging projects that will enable their career progression should not be assigned to women. Work environments and organizational strategies are also key factors in the advancement of women. Family-​friendly approaches including mandatory paid maternity leave and the right to be employed on a part-​time basis have been found to improve the participation of women in the workforce; thus, these are policies that can be utilized by organizations to boost the proportion of female leaders. In addition, internal organizational changes also affect women’s occupational mobility. Haveman, Broschak and Cohen (2009) discovered that, development and a decrease in current mergers or organizations might have an impact on women. Women are immediately disadvantaged when new organizations are formed. In a study conducted to identify who was assigned the leadership role in entrepreneurial groups comprised of both genders that were forming new organizations, it was found that men who controlled merit assessments and human resource procedures had a 37% higher likelihood of becoming the leader compared to women (Yang and Aldrich, 2014). In addition, Purcell, MacArthur and Samblanet (2010) indicated that during declines and mergers, female executives were affected more than their male


106 Gözde İnal-​Cavlan and Şenay Sahil Ertan counterparts, not because of gender per se, but rather because when jobs were eliminated in bad times, women were less willing to protect their employment. Another typical organizational barrier that exacerbates women’s labor market discrimination is called Queen-​Bee Syndrome. It refers to the scenario where women who succeed in professions traditionally dominated by men aim to prevent the advancement of other women (Faniko, Ellemers and Derks, 2016). Sharon Mavin (2008: 75) pointed out that the Queen Bee is frequently portrayed as a malicious woman who stings other women when they threaten her authority, and the Queen Bee assigns blame to specific women for not promoting other women. Studies depicting women criticizing their female colleagues’ professional participation, management abilities and assertiveness are evidence of the presence of the Queen-​Bee Syndrome (Derks et al., 2011). In particular, the phenomenon of the Queen Bee is a pervasive but comparatively unknown dynamic that perpetuates and legitimizes gender inequality. When women assimilate into masculine organizational cultures, agree with adverse elements of women’s stereotypes, and deny that gender discrimination may still occur, this reaction is a strong force that maintains the present gender hierarchy (Derks, Laar and Ellemers, 2016). Personal/​individual barriers The preferences of women and the glass cage are the primary personal/​ individual obstacles presented in the literature (Warrell, 2013; Hakim, 2006). As suggested by person-​focused theories, it is found that women lack the essential characteristics and proficiencies to be successful in leadership roles as they are not sufficiently ambitious or confident in comparison to men who are determined to be decisive and exhibit influential behaviors (Tejersen and Singh, 2008). Preference theory is a theory that is historically informed, forward-​looking and multidisciplinary. In contemporary societies, lifestyle preferences are the causal variables and must therefore be controlled (Hakim, 2006). According to the theory developed by Hakim, women’s work–​lifestyle preferences may be categorized as work-​centered, adaptive and home-​centered.There is a minority between home-​centered and work-​ centered women, called adaptive women, who prefer to combine work and family without prioritizing either. This results in part-​time, temporary and flexible employment. Thus, women’s career preferences function as barriers to career development.There is no longer a glass ceiling, according to Warrell (2013), but rather a glass cage produced by women themselves. In addition, throughout their lives, people occupy several positions. All roles including “worker” “parent” and “partner” shape an individual’s self-​identity (Posig and Kickul, 2004). If a person assumes that a specific role requires more time and energy, that person arguably experiences inter-​role conflict at the cost of another (Noor, 2004). A specific instance of such conflict emerges when job requirements have a negative effect on home life and vice versa, when home


The glass ceiling 107 life requirements are considered to have a negative effect on the work, that is, the conflict between work and life (Nuhn, Heidenreich and Wald, 2018). Studies show that for modern women, work and personal lives are inextricably connected and the lines between their careers and family lives are blurred (Jacobson and Aaltio-​Marjosola, 2001). For instance, Powell and Mainiero (1992) explained the complicated and interconnected decisions and limitations faced by women in developing their lives and careers such as striking a balance, remaining connected and interdependent as well as on matters of accomplishment and individuation.

How the glass ceiling works It is argued that the glass ceiling may operate against an individual only to the extent allowed by that individual. One can question whether the glass ceiling constrains a woman or limits her advancement. The answer to this is yes, but the same may be said for life, mortality and errors. Even if the individual is presented with challenging conditions, this does not imply that he/​ she should surrender (Sanders, 2019). Everyone will not be provided with a handbook or afforded a position at the table, but which table? This is exemplified by Shirley Chishol, who stated that “If they do not give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” This implies that if you are prevented from advancing in the manner of your choosing by the glass ceiling, you should forget your own path, form your own ladder and design your own pathway to advancement (Rathi, 2018). Obstacles are meant to prevent you from progressing but are not certain factors of your success. The only obstacle that can prevent someone from succeeding is the erroneous belief that the possibility of following one’s own path is achievable. Individuals have two options: accept the barrier in its current form, or defy it and seize the potential opportunities to break through. Successful people do not allow their success to be determined by others or place limitations on their ability to advance. Nevertheless, the glass ceiling does represent those who have made the decision to accept this metaphorical obstacle as a comprehensive metonymic barrier preventing them from being successful (Li, 2014). Additionally, they have allowed the glass ceiling to constrain their own futures and potential career development. Another function of the glass ceiling is that it perpetuates power. It enables those in authority to maintain their power and those who already hold a seat at table to keep their seat while not being required to offer or create a new seat for individuals working to acquire their own position.

Glass ceiling in the 21st century It can be argued that the glass ceiling is one of the most well-​known and thought-​provoking metaphors that emerged in the 20th century. Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s book Men and Women of the Corporation, published in 1977, posited that people’s experience in work environments were clearly


108 Gözde İnal-​Cavlan and Şenay Sahil Ertan influenced by gender (Barreto, Ryan and Schmitt, 2009). In fact, after its publication, providing an explanation for the presence of a glass ceiling and different types of discrimination that result in women’s underrepresentation in senior organizational roles has been a key focus of both employers and researchers. This section reviews how gender equality has developed at work and whether it is still appropriate to use the glass ceiling as a metaphor to reflect the presence of unbreakable but nuanced obstacles preventing women from advancing. The abovementioned authors investigated how the concept of “think manager-​ think male” has evolved as well as how such stereotypes are associated with the social role of analysis of women at work. It is suggested that as women are increasingly represented in nonconventional roles and positions of leadership, this may lay the foundations for transforming stereotypes and reducing the incompatibility between the stereotypes of women and leaders. Furthermore, perceptions of the characteristics required for effective leadership have evolved in a direction that favors women, as more stereotypically female attributes now tend to be included. Nonetheless, it was also observed by Eagly and Sczesny (2009) that there is still perceived incompatibility between the requirements for good leadership and female attributes, and the speed at which this is changing is so slow that it is improbable that this incongruity will soon be completely eliminated. As stated in a report published by Catalyst in 2016, while women in the USA accounted for 37.1% of the workforce in 1976, this figure rose to 47.2% by 2015. However, the increase in labor participation has not translated into a similar increase in women’s share of senior management roles, as men are still two to three times more likely than women to attain such positions. Additionally, in India for example, women’s participation in the workforce continues to decline where they accounted for 34.1% in 1999–​2000, but only 27.2% in 2011–​2012. Women are also tending to leave employment after marrying or having children. In Japan for example, women’s participation in the workforce was 49.2% in 2014 compared to 79.4% for men. In 2015, it was reported by the African Development Bank that many women in Africa, who accounted for just over 50% of the continent’s expanding population and made extensive contributions, were living in poverty because they were predominantly in the 70% that comprised the informal sector. Paustian-​Underdahl, Walker and Woehr (2014) noted that by 2012, only 19.1% of parliamentary seats around the world were held by women, and the figures for the U.S. Congress were even lower with only 16.8%, where only 90 of 535 seats were held by women. Furthermore, the 2016 Catalyst report also revealed that in the USA, while 51.5% of management, professional and all related jobs were held by women, only 20 (4%) of S&P 500 organizations had female CEOs, although the participation of women in the labor force reached a peak of 60% in 1999. It is possible to make reference to certain women who have successfully attained leadership roles, including those that have become Ministers, Vice-​Chancellors, Permanent Secretaries, State Commissioners, Senators,


The glass ceiling 109 Members of Federal and State House of Assemblies, Local Government Chairmen and Counselors in addition to leading executives in both public and private sectors. Nevertheless, as suggested by Ekpe, Alabo and Egbe (2014), women are largely underrepresented in the political sphere such that no more than 15% of elected officials in the USA are women. From 1945, onwards (Keohane, 2016), around 100 women have been elected as prime ministers or presidents; other women are presently serving as senators, university presidents, foundation heads, supreme court justices, CEO of corporations, in addition to other roles that were previously unavailable to women. If this progress is extrapolated into the future, one may expect that further advancements will lead to a gender balance in terms of leadership positions (Amaechi, 2018). Although women account for almost half of the global population (AdeelAnjum et al., 2012; Fapohunda, 2012), they are responsible for significantly less than half of the economic activity. In Pakistan, for example, while women comprise approximately 50% of the population, their economic participation is still minimal as businesses owned by women only account for 3% of the total number of 3.2 million enterprises in the country. It should also be noted that women generally dominate employment in food production sectors (Iyiola and Azuh, 2014); for example, 80% of food production in sub-​Saharan Africa, 50–​60% in Asia, 26% in the Caribbean, 34% in the Middle East and North Africa and 30% in Latin America involved women. Consequently, this raises the question as to how it is possible for an economy, business, country or culture to be prosperous if around 50% of the populace is excluded (Amaechi, 2018). A plausible general conclusion is that when analyzing the role of women in organizations, it is necessary to examine more than mere statistics. In fact, even though women are now being represented in greater numbers in organizations as well as in leadership roles, this does not mean gender inequality is being reduced. The promotion of gender equality involves additional factors aside from numbers due to the fact that enhancing women’s representation in the workforce without ensuring that the necessary conditions are in place to ensure their success will only exacerbate the problem of inequality. Smith, Caputi and Crittenden (2012) argued that the glass ceiling will persist as a challenge confronting women for many years to come. A way of ensuring that women have equal leadership opportunities is to increase societal participation through national and international reorientation on this subject. Furthermore, education system needs to be reformed along with the implementation of policies and programs that are more moderate and beneficial for women (Thompson, 2015). For instance, a resolution was approved by the California legislature called Senate Concurrent Resolution 62 (SCR-​ 62), unique in the context of USA, which required public enterprises to include more women on their boards of directors (Amaechi, 2018). While SCR-​62 is not binding, it establishes targets for the number of women required by board size. For instance, if a board comprises nine directors, there should be at least three female members, while boards of five


110 Gözde İnal-​Cavlan and Şenay Sahil Ertan to eight directors require two or more women and smaller boards need at least one woman. Additionally, pressure to implement such reforms can be exerted by women’s organizations and other professional entities. Women must also be brave and exhibit sufficient confidence by applying for positions on boards. Promotions and investments in organizations should be put in place that promote women’s programs in addition to sports initiatives and actions that enable women to rise to leadership roles. Furthermore, Ekpe, Alabo and Egbe (2014) recommended that governments and policymakers should endeavor to eliminate gender inequality through the implementation of programs and frameworks that will encourage more women to seek leadership positions. More women, specifically those with individual competences in terms of their emotional intelligence, ability to work in teams, self-​ motivation and clear self-​expectations, should have faith in their capacity to develop into successful leaders in their field of choice. Moreover, as women are recognized as having resilience and adaptability, and are generally capable of balancing their home, family, work and social duties, they can be highly effective leaders, even as they struggle to progress further. In summary, it is evident that specific aspects of the glass ceiling metaphor maintain their relevance. It is apparent that women are prevented from joining organizations and assuming leadership roles, and some form of ceiling still exists that prevents numerous women from advancing their careers.

How to shatter the glass ceiling The glass ceiling can be shattered by creating a corporate culture against gender discrimination, helping women balance multiple roles, implementing programs in organizations to provide women with the opportunity to increase their critical leadership skills and promoting gender equality through the implementation of government policies and political changes. Corporate culture A corporate culture that supports women provides them the freedom to set their work routines while also offering them opportunities to make significant contributions to both the organization and their families by enabling their various roles to be effectively reconciled. If there is no organizational support for balancing professional and domestic duties, career development for women may be adversely affected (Kiaye and Singh, 2013). Comprehensive, organization-​ wide programs that include setting voluntary goals for women’s representation on boards and senior management, and participating in women’s active outreach and recruitment are crucial to break down structural, organizational and social barriers. Employers should implement flexible work contracts and work-​life balance policies to overcome structural barriers and define career lines that encourage women. Establishing organizational mentoring programs is a significant way of


The glass ceiling 111 helping women ascend the career ladder.These programs must be capable of identifying effective leaders from both genders who can provide mentorship to enhance the ambitions of women as well as to plan objectives and paths that should bring progress in their careers. As consistently demonstrated by researchers, organizations must eliminate any one-​size-​fits-​all approach toward career structures and support (Martins, Eddleston and Veiga, 2002) and acknowledge that the dynamics of women’s careers change over their lifetime (O’Neil, Hopkins and Bilimoria, 2008). It is necessary to develop organizational policies that actively promote the participation of women in all stages of their lives in order to enable the desired whole life integration. For example, women at the start of their careers need challenging tasks, as well as mentoring and effective management, whereas women at the midpoint of their careers may additionally need flexibility in terms of their schedules, work arrangements and restricting of their jobs to help them mediate critical junctures of the numerous roles for which they are responsible. Additionally, organizational practices must consistently acknowledge the leadership of women covering a wide range of behaviors, not only facilitating combined achievements, but also personal accomplishments. The recent emergence of women engaging in entrepreneurial activities is a significant indicator that adaptation is required for organizational forms. Organizational intrapreneurship (Pinchot, 1985), referring to entrepreneurialism in a company, may have critical importance for women (Hopkins and O’Neil, 2007). Studies demonstrate that women seek challenging opportunities to develop themselves in order to employ their abilities and competencies creatively and innovatively. Such needs can be supported by organizations through the legitimization of different career trajectories and alternatives. It is probable that women will continue to be inclined to form their own businesses rather than remain in organizations that do not provide flexibility or challenges (Mattis, 2004) unless a change occurs in terms of organizational practices. As previously mentioned, the changing dynamics of women’s careers and evolving requirements at different stages of their careers mean that organizational policies should be flexible so that they correspond with the reality of women in the workplace (Still and Timms, 1998). Organizations that provide receptive and supportive environments for the different responsibilities and decisions faced by women will probably discover that women become more loyal and committed to their organizations. Organizational commitment is considered to be a strong belief in the objectives and principles of the organization as well as the continued desire to remain a member of that organization (Mattis, 2004). Additionally, as determined by O’Neill, Hopkins and Bilimoria (2008), women have a level of investment in both their work and nonwork responsibilities, and aim to succeed in their careers and family lives; hence, the practices and policies of the organization must facilitate a supportive environment in which they can succeed if they are to be perceived as preferred organizations for accomplished women. Organizational leaders


112 Gözde İnal-​Cavlan and Şenay Sahil Ertan must not only demonstrate their support for progressive human resource practices, but must additionally ensure that the objectives are achieved. Balancing multiple roles Employers dedicated to enhancing the number of women in higher leadership positions should develop an encouraging atmosphere for female employees to balance their various responsibilities. Flexible working hours and workplaces should be introduced by organizations (Mathur-​Helm, 2006). Organizations with the economic resources and physical space should provide workplace childcare facilities. Governments should also establish facilities for childcare within a five-​kilometer radius.Women should be provided double the time available to men for family responsibilities. While this may appear to be a form of discrimination, mothers are the primary caregiver in the majority of cases, particularly if they are breastfeeding. However, the same parenting advantages should be accorded to men in single male parent households or homosexual families. Insufficient support mechanisms for the family obligations of employees will implicitly contribute to the perpetuation of the glass ceiling (Kiaye and Singh, 2013). Leadership development Different sets of principles still apply to male and female leaders in contemporary workplaces. Women frequently encounter difficulties when working in organizational cultures dominated by men, and in order to be successful, they must generally adapt to this culture by assuming attitudes and values associated with men (Carli and Eagly, 2001). According to Sczesny (2003), maintaining leadership positions may be challenging for women as the schema in people’s minds of leaders may differ from those they have for women. While the number of women holding middle management positions has increased (Schwanke, 2013), it appears that men still dominate executive positions. Some researchers have extended this concept by comparing contemporary female managers with housewives of the 1960s; consequently, even though media and cultural references acknowledge and praise the achievement of equality for women, this is not the case in reality. According to Schwanke (2013), this perception of equality leads to confusion and contradiction as there is obviously a lack of representation of women in the areas of governance, directorship and executive leadership. Stereotypical assumptions regarding gender distinctions between women and men create a challenging environment for women to assume senior leadership roles (Heilman, 2001). The conventional leadership model assumes that effective leaders have masculine traits. Different masculine attributes including effective decision-​making, organization, assertiveness and strategic thinking have historically been associated with good leadership. Conversely, female leaders have been defined as sensitive, caring, compassionate, responsive, democratic, participating and nurturing (Fisher and Kock, 2001).


The glass ceiling 113 Feminine leadership traits include teamwork, inclusiveness, as well as being democratic and participative (Northouse, 2010). One method of ensuring women’s role in leadership in the future is to enhance societal participation through leadership advancement strategies, which should be established to not only help develop crucial management skills but also identify women’s strengths, boost their confidence, and provide instruments and methods to overcome the barriers. Women should take the initiative to build their own social capital by creating support networks, looking for and securing mentors in their organizations, supporting each other, and sharing the value they add to the organization (Dukes, 2011). Government practices Governments usually have a number of tools at their disposal to eliminate existing workplace barriers that prevent women from advancing. It can promote gender equality perspectives and practices by raising awareness on gender inequality, and by informing the public about the advantages of gender equality and the detrimental effects of gender inequality on women, children, families, communities, business and the entire country. Government policies and legislation can remove discriminatory practices and artificial barriers. Programs and projects can facilitate the understanding of most effective interventions for removing barriers. Thus, the legislation prohibiting gender discrimination should be enforced to break down the barriers that keep women behind (Johns, 2013). Political changes Access and equity are major political factors that influence women’s career advancement. O’Neil, Hopkins and Bilimoria (2008) argued that assistance from higher authorities is instrumental in women’s advancement in organizations (Morrison et al., 1987), although access to unofficial organizational networks that include the major proportion of power and influence in organizational systems is difficult for women (Ibarra, 1993). It is therefore necessary to conduct research that can identify potential solutions to this pressing issue and facilitate access to official and unofficial networks, mentors and sponsors for women in organizations to assist them in advancing to senior leadership roles. Problems of inequality are still prevalent in terms of the different ways in which men and women are treated in organizations. It is probable that women will receive lower remuneration (e.g. Schneer and Reitman, 1995), be presented with fewer challenging opportunities and high exposure tasks (e.g. Lyness and Thompson, 1997) and there is a greater likelihood that they will be disproportionally affected by the practices and policies of the organization (e.g. Judiesch and Lyness, 1999; Kirchmeyer, 1998). Hence, it is necessary for organizations to offer both official and unofficial networking and mentoring opportunities for women, which will create


114 Gözde İnal-​Cavlan and Şenay Sahil Ertan a broader talent pool of women for planning succession to senior leadership roles.

Conclusion The expression “glass ceiling” usually refers to an invisible barrier in organizations that prevents women from advancing, such as in pay and/​or in promotion, and ultimately prevents them from attaining senior positions. It is regarded as gender-​based discrimination, exposing women to harassment and restricting them to inferior roles in the society. Despite barriers at work, women can and should succeed. Additionally, it is evident that significant progress must be made before women are considered equal to men, as there is a lack of representation of women in senior leadership positions. Furthermore, the promotion of gender equality must be based on more than mere statistics, as enhancing women’s representation at work without creating circumstances that will enable them to be successful will exacerbate the problem of inequality. Across the world, women are underrepresented in the boardroom, with only 15% of board members being women, which is often referred as evidence of the glass ceiling. Women also face other barriers described in this chapter such as stereotyping, gender discrimination and so on. Women who attain management positions but are positioned in glass-​cliff situations are likely to experience failure, as they are systematically faced with nuanced stereotyping and discrimination after entering traditionally masculine domains or positions. In this chapter, the overall message is that that specific elements of the glass ceiling metaphor are still at play and relevant. For the most part, women now largely have access to organizations and management positions while the glass ceiling remains an invisible but real obstacle preventing women from advancing in their careers. Therefore, the primary purpose of this chapter was to explain to readers the experience of women at work as well as to make these barriers more visible.

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7 Organizational silence Murat Güler and Metin Ocak

Introduction Is it good news if there is no news in the organization? Business managers can answer this question definitely if they are aware of whether they face organizational silence or not. Silence, as a dark part of organizational communication behaviors, deprives the organizations of valuable knowledge enabling a positive change or resolving an organizational problem in particular.With this viewpoint and due to its importance in organizations, issues such as the antecedents, outcomes, and forms of organizational silence have been frequently discussed in the literature recently. It is necessary to emphasize the existence of two situations in a general description of organizational silence. First, employees should be aware that they have shareable information that is valuable to the organization. Second, the information should be transferred only voluntarily and not be a part of compulsory communication. In other words, if an employee has something to mention to improve an organizational process but chooses not to share it voluntarily with other people, who can react appropriately, this behavior may be defined as organizational (employee) silence. In many organizations today, employees of all levels have different kinds of valuable knowledge that do not flow through formal information systems. In this context, it may be easily stated that organizational silence deprives the organization of useful information. Although the silence behavior of employees was perceived as an indicator of harmony according to the classical management approach, in today’s modern management world it is perceived as a withdrawal reaction of employees from the organization. Organizational silence may have serious consequences in daily life. For example, in 2003 during the return of NASA’s Columbia Space Shuttle to the Earth, a few minutes before landing, it fell apart into three parts in the sky killing seven astronauts aboard. In fact, during the takeoff of the shuttle, it was argued that an unspecified material that hit the left wing of the space shuttle damaged Columbia’s insulating material on the left wing and reduced its resistance to heat. But immediately after the takeoff, the technical authorities said that no damage was detected and there was no problem in maintaining the mission. In the investigation DOI: 10.4324/9781003376972-7


122  Murat Güler and Metin Ocak carried out after the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, it was understood that the fatal mistake that caused the accident was made by the engineers, but the culture of “not conveying the bad news” to the executives in the organization and compelling budget constraints provided the basis for keeping employees silent (Üçok and Torun, 2015: 30). Thus, leaving the problem aside without investigation led to a tragedy. In another case, it was unearthed in 2015 that Volkswagen Company defrauded its emission test results to sell more diesel cars than its competitors in the USA. After the scandal emerged, researchers learned that the defrauded test results were known by employees who remained silent because of fear of retaliation. Another example is the scandal that shook the BBC when the victims of sexual assault told their stories after years of silence (Bogosian, 2018: 17). With the outbreak of these events, Volkswagen and BBC had to pay large amounts of fines and/​or compensation. Voice and silence in organizations are two intertwined strategies. Organizational voice is a desirable positive phenomenon, as it enables employees to communicate with the management, as well as enables the development of organizations. (Dyne et al., 2003: 1360). Organizational silence does not only mean not speaking up but also means not writing, not presenting, not hearing but also ignoring, hiding, avoiding, and boycotting (Hazen, 2006: 239). Organizational silence is a social phenomenon that emerges at an organizational level and is influenced by many organizational features such as decision-​making processes, managerial processes, culture, and perceptions of employees (Vakola and Bouradas, 2005: 442). Voice, as a related but distinct construct from silence, is a voluntary extra-​ role behavior. On the other hand, silence is a deviant work behavior that causes an important piece of knowledge, needed for organizational health, remains unused, and leads to unintended negative individual, group, or organizational outcomes. In fact, silence is not a problem of individual origins or merely based on individual antecedents. Previous studies on organizational silence (Binikos, 2008; Bogosian, 2018; Henriksen and Dayton, 2006; Jahanbakhshian et al., 2015; Milliken et al., 2003; Tangirala and Ramanujam, 2008; Park and Keil, 2009; Walumbwa and Schaubroeck, 2009) have shown that besides personal antecedents there are also organizational, managerial, and contextual motivator, inhibitor, and moderator factors such as leadership, organizational culture ,and organizational support that drive and shape the silence process. The consequences of silence are also addressed at individual, group, and organizational levels. Thus, this chapter aims to define the concept of organizational silence with its antecedents and consequences in detail relying on previous studies and pointing to current topics on organizational silence research.

Concept of organizational silence When managers do not receive any news or complaints from the lower levels of organizations about business activities, they tend to interpret such silence that everything goes well (Ashford et al., 2009). Simply the idiom


Organizational silence 123 of “no news is good news” shows the general thinking about this common tendency.This interpretation may be correct unless there are any obstacles to the voice of employees. However, organizational structures and many management practices intentionally or unintentionally create communication barriers between employees and management (Donaghey et al., 2011), and some valuable information that frontline employees possess rarely reaches decision-​makers. Therefore, management processes carried out with incomplete information probably prevent the achievement of the desired performance at organizational and individual levels (Morrison, 2014). This situation reveals the reason why organizational silence is an important problem for management implications and also why understanding the dynamics of silence is an emerging field of study. Silence behavior refers to employees not sharing important organizational information with their superiors. Not only cognitive factors but also emotional factors underlie the silence. To understand silence behavior, it is necessary to consider psychological barriers, personal characteristics, and motivational factors that the organization creates in addition to structural barriers (Morrison, 2014). In the earlier approaches that explained organizational voice, theories were based on employee dissatisfaction (Hirschman, 1970). Later, researchers began to assert that the voice of employees was not necessarily negative or a simple response to dissatisfaction, but might originate from positive motives as well as negative ones (Van Dyne and LePine, 1998). Then, the concept of silence emerged as a distinct notion from the concept of voice due to their different antecedents, outcomes, and forms (Morrison and Milliken, 2000). Finally, a multivariate silence concept with various forms was offered to define potentially differing motives (Brinsfield, 2013). The next section examines the evolution of the concept in detail. Regardless of their different aspects, the concept of organizational silence becomes meaningful with the concept of organizational voice. In most studies on organizational silence, authors first need to describe the concept of voice because it was first defined and examined in the literature, then the concept of silence emerged as the opposite side of the coin. Voice can be defined as a voluntary and informal communication of an employee about enhancements of work-​related issues to the people who can take appropriate action. Organizational silence as an opposite concept means that the employee does not share with others an idea, knowledge, or a different perspective that may be useful in solving an organizational problem (Morrison, 2014: 174). This chapter intends to provide detailed information on organizational voice and silence issues and considers organizational behaviors from the perspective of silence.

Evolution of organizational silence: Research and theory The first appearance of the theoretical approach to voice (silence) was in the seminal book of Hirschman (1970) that suggested the “Exit-​Voice-​Loyalty


124  Murat Güler and Metin Ocak model of dissatisfaction”. According to the model, when a person feels dissatisfaction, s/​he will show exit or voice behavior. Job satisfaction refers to a positive emotional state that emerges after the completion of the job (Locke, 1976). In Hirschman’s model, exit behavior means leaving the entity or the relationship. Voice behavior means trying to change the unsatisfying situation or the relationship from within. Loyalty to the relationship moderates the unsatisfying situation and the resulting behavior relationship. If a person has high loyalty to the entity or relation and there is a case of dissatisfaction, then voice behavior is expected. Otherwise, if a person has low loyalty to the entity or relation, then exit behavior is expected. Later, Graham and Keeley (1992) suggested that there were three types of loyalty; namely, unconscious, passive, and reformist about voice behavior and the consequences of each type of loyalty would be different. Accordingly, passive loyalty and unconscious loyalty lead to silence and patience whereas reformist loyalty leads to voice and action. Fundamentally, the studies mentioned above (Hirschman, 1970; Saunders, 1992) addressed the terms such as voice and silence from a dissatisfaction perspective. Subsequent empirical studies were able to explain only a small variance in silence based on the dissatisfaction model (Morrison, 2014). Also, the dissatisfaction model received criticism with the emergence of the inability model of silence to explain the inherent choice between silence and voice. From the inability perspective, silence is considered inactivity, doing nothing in the case of dissatisfaction (Barry, 1974). In contrast to Hirschman’s model, Morrison and Milliken (2000) argued that the causal relationship may be reversed and organizational silence may cause employee dissatisfaction. For whatsoever reason, empirical findings at least show that silence is related to job dissatisfaction (Vakola and Bouradas, 2005). Subsequent research on silence reintroduced voice not only as a reaction to dissatisfying conditions but also as an extra-​role behavior to help the working context improve in different ways (Van Dyne and LePine, 1998). So this approach views voice as a discretionary extra-​role behavior, not as a desperate response to unwanted conditions.The concept of silence as an exactly distinct construct was first introduced by Morrison and Milliken (2000) with the term “organizational silence”. They especially focused on the structural organizational deviance that caused employee silence. In this regard, organizational injustice was proposed as a basic structural factor for organizational silence. Employee silence is defined as withholding any kind of information relating to organizational injustice from the people who can change or improve the work context (Pinder and Harlos, 2001). Empirical findings support the injustice–​silence relationship (Güler et al., 2018). Harlos and Knoll (2018) also report that empirical evidence supports the idea that work environments in which employees face mistreatment and especially workplace bullying induce employee silence. The terms organizational silence and employee silence both correspond to the same construct but, the level of analysis is different. While organizational silence is related to an organization-​wide behavior and situation, employee silence refers to individual-​level behavior. However, both of these


Organizational silence 125 terms are used interchangeably in the literature (Brinsfield et al., 2009).When discussing the concept of silence in general, both terms may be used, but if the level of analysis is important, the term used should be carefully selected. On the other hand, investigating silence and voice as two opposite ends of a continuum started to receive criticism. Expressing voice does not necessarily mean that there is no silence. An extrovert employee may speak about various work issues but easily may choose to remain silent about another kind of issue (Brinsfield, 2013). Based on the idea that phenomenological differences in silence forms depend on the different types of motives (Pinder and Harlos, 2001; Van Dyne et al., 2003), Brinsfield (2013) suggests that voice and silence are distinct constructs due to their distinct motives; thus, to understand the concept of employee silence, motives including but not limited to risk avoidance should be properly identified and defined. Based on this approach, multidimensional silence forms may be identified depending on what lies behind them as causes or motives.

Types of organizational silence The common approaches limit the concept of silence as a reaction to organizational and managerial deviance (Morrison and Milliken, 2000) and potential risks of harm to speaking up (Detert and Edmondson, 2011). But the concept of silence is a little bit more complex and ambiguous than the concept of voice, and thus may be misinterpreted. Voice may easily be observed from the outside, but silence is not an easily observable phenomenon. As mentioned earlier, the presence of voice does not necessarily mean a lack of silence and they are not opposite poles. Depending on the silence motives approach,Van Dyne et al. (2003) suggest that there are three types of silence: acquiescent silence, defensive silence, and pro-​social silence. Expanding the silence motives approach, Brinsfield (2013) identified six forms (dimensions) of organizational silence, as defined below. Deviant silence As one type of deviant work behavior, organizational silence includes the intentional withholding of necessary valuable information. In this form of silence, the focus is on the intentional behavior of not speaking up. The employee can convey the information to managers or appropriate people but intentionally and often maliciously chooses to remain silent (Brinsfield, 2013). Relational silence In this type of silence, an employee wants to conserve social relations, and speaking up seems likely to harm his/​her relations. Similar to this dimension, in their silence conceptualization study,Van Dyne et al. (2003) suggested pro-​ social motives for the silence dimension that meant being other-​oriented.


126  Murat Güler and Metin Ocak Brinsfield (2013) mentions that relational silence does not necessarily have an altruistic intention, there may also be self-​interest motives involved. Defensive silence This form of organizational silence generally overlaps with the concept of the silence of Morrison and Milliken (2000) and Pinder and Harlos (2001). Employees do not feel safe and fear the consequences of speaking up, fear punishment, and to defend themselves choose to remain silent and withhold information. In this form of silence, the focus is on extrinsic consequences such as getting punishment or losing a job, and so forth. Diffident silence Self-​esteem and self-​confidence have a positive effect on expressive behaviors and when an employee feels a lack of self-​confidence and self-​esteem, s/​he is discouraged from expressing himself/​herself and speaking up. This form of silence represents a feeling of insecurity, self-​doubt, and avoidance of uncertainties. The distinction from defensive silence is the focus of outcome expectations. In diffident silence, the expectation of negative outcomes is more internally focused (Brinsfield, 2013). Ineffectual silence One of the most common silence motives is the belief about speaking up will not lead to any change or improvement, and there is no need for redundant communication. This form of silence is similar to the acquiescent silence of Van Dyne et al. (2003) in which the employee refuses to share useful information. But Brinsfield (2013) suggests that in this form of silence the focus is on an “ineffectual” nature that especially means that speaking up will not lead to a positive outcome. Disengaged silence Depending on Kahn’s (1990) concept of employee disengagement, this form of silence refers to being silent due to the separation of employees’ self and job role, losing the meaning of the job, and withdrawal. This form of silence is also related to organization-​based psychological ownership, organizational identification, and partially overlaps with acquiescent silence.

Antecedents of organizational silence In general, reasons for silence in organizations may be categorized as social, organizational, managerial, or individual factors (Morrison and Milliken, 2000: 707; Henriksen and Dayton, 2006: 1539). Culture, which plays an important role in the emergence of organizational silence, is a function


Organizational silence 127 of complex relationships among variables such as individual, organization, and society. Having an individualistic or collectivistic society culture or the degree of power distance in the society affects the organizational culture and hence organizational silence (Hofstede et al., 2010). Since decisions are made at the highest hierarchical levels of organizations in societies with high power distance, employees are often told what to do, and this situation discourages employees from sharing their opinions. On the other hand, the participation of employees in organizations that operate in societies with low power distance is encouraged while making decisions. In individualist societies, more importance is given to the thoughts of individuals than those of the group and in collectivist societies, more importance is given to the thoughts of the group than of individuals. Therefore, silence is experienced to a higher degree in organizations operating in societies with collectivistic and high-​power distance cultures (Bogosian, 2018: 17). In general, organizational culture is a mysterious, complex, and intertwined reflection of three levels of consciousness that affect all functions of organizations. These three levels are consciousness (a series of concrete and visible behavioral practices, perceptions, and symbols), semiconsciousness (values, beliefs, norms, attitudes, and expectations), and unconsciousness (some basic assumptions). According to Morrison and Milliken (2000), organizational culture affects organizational silence and is shaped by implicit managerial beliefs, fears of negative feedback, and managerial practices. According to Pinder and Harlos (2001), organizations with a culture of injustice promote an environment in which employees stop commenting on organizational issues. In other words, as the perception of organizational justice increases, organizational silence decreases. In different studies examining the relationship between silence and justice, it is found that employees with high levels of justice perception move away from silence behaviors (Pillai et al., 1999; Tangirala and Ramanujam, 2008). Organizational climate is another antecedent of organizational silence. Organizational climate is defined as the atmosphere created by expectations about activities and perceptions about the extent to which these expectations are realized in the organization. If employees adopt the organizational culture, the climate inside the organization is considered to be good, otherwise, it is considered to be bad or weak. In this context, the organizational climate perceived by employees affects organizational silence (Jahanbakhshian et al., 2015). In a nutshell, when employees believe that their expressed ideas and suggestions may lead to significant changes in the organizational climate, they will easily contribute to their organizations by expressing their ideas overtly. Organizational structure is an important factor affecting organizational silence. In organizational forms where organizational structure is centralized, organizational silence is more likely to occur than in decentralized structures. As in organizations with a centralized structure, decision-​making limits the bottom-​up feedback system (Milliken et al., 2003: 1453). In addition, organizational policies and practices also affect organizational silence. Managers


128  Murat Güler and Metin Ocak will try to control and prevent the flow of information from bottom to top, especially in organizations where managers “know best” and also in organizations where different thoughts are not accepted. This tendency protects managers against information and feedback that they perceive as threatening. Therefore, organizations with such beliefs take more central decisions and limit the system of feedback from the bottom up in the hierarchical structure. Another important antecedent of organizational silence is organizational trust. Organizational trust is an indicator of one’s confidence in the practices of the organization against him/​herself in risky situations. The more an organization relies on the creativity and cooperation of its members, the higher trust it gains. As a result, trust contributes to the development of transparency in the organization. The concept of organizational trust is mostly evaluated by factors such as trust in colleagues, trust in customers, and trust in managers (Smith and Birney, 2005; Hoy et al., 2002).The trust in the manager and organization show similarities, although they are fundamentally different concepts. Binikos (2008) found a negative relationship between organizational trust and organizational silence. This means if organizational trust increases in an organization, organizational silence will decrease. From a managerial perspective, decision-​makers play a key role in organizational silence (Henriksen and Dayton, 2006; Park and Keil, 2009). In particular, managers’ fear of receiving negative feedback from subordinates about themselves or organizational activities leads to organizational silence. In this context, managers’ directive or participative leadership style practices play an important role in organizational silence behaviors. Directive leaders may create an environment where employees’ views and thoughts are ignored that may, in turn, cause organizational silence. Contrary to directive leaders, managers who exercise a participative leadership style allow employees to feel confident and encourage them to speak up (Bogosian, 2018: 19). On the other hand, it was found that ethical leadership behaviors reduce organizational silence behaviors by increasing the trust of employees toward their managers (Walumbwa and Schaubroeck, 2009). Ethical leadership has come to the forefront in recent years in the face of ethical scandals within large companies around the world. These scandals in large organizations such as Enron triggered a discussion of joint management, business ethics, and leaders’ ethical responsibility (Aronson, 2001: 245). Brown et al. (2005) state that ethical leadership is a leadership style that engages in normatively appropriate activities in personal/​interpersonal relationships and aims to promote such activities while using two-​way communication, empowerment, and effective thinking methods. At the individual level, it is argued that the harmony of individuals and organizations reduces organizational silence behavior (Köksal et al., 2018). Some individuals prefer to remain silent, while others prefer to share their thoughts and ideas. As an indicator of this variability, personality traits and silence behaviors of employees are correlated. In their study, Şimşek and Aktaş (2014) identified introversion/​extroversion personality traits as the


Organizational silence 129 most important personality traits that interacted with silence behaviors and reflected the individual’s communication style. Ryan and Oestreich (1991: 415) suggest four main reasons why employees in organizations remain silent: • • • •

Employees who fear that their real thoughts will get an adverse reaction, Conviction that speaking will be useless, Idea of avoiding conflict, Employees not wanting to be disruptive.

White et al. (2019: 446) argue that the psychological safety of employees affects organizational silence. Psychological safety mainly means that team members can raise a topic and feel comfortable sharing their concerns and mistakes without shame or fear of retaliation. Psychological safety in this aspect is an important step in the dialogue. Weak relationships and hierarchical rigidity in an organization are potential barriers to psychological safety. Leymann (1996: 120) describes mobbing as long-​term (at least six months) and periodic (almost daily) acts of emotional abuse directed by one or more people to one or more people. Mobbing negatively affects job performance and job satisfaction of employees by inflicting mental, psychological, and social anguish. There is empirical evidence that organizational silence increases among employees when they are exposed to mobbing (Çavuş et al., 2015). In addition to the social, organizational, and individual factors described above, Milliken et al. (2003: 1453) suggest the following as other factors affecting silence behavior: • • • • •

Nonsupporting organizational environment, Perception of organizational unethical practices, Inadequate communication with managers, Inexperience and professional inadequacy of employees, Employees’ fears about their future in the organization and their prejudices against managers.

Dedahanov et al. (2015) also found that some organizational factors such as punishment and communication opportunities were significantly associated with organizational silence.

Consequences of organizational silence From a managerial point of view, decision-​makers in organizations play a key role in organizational silence (Henriksen and Dayton, 2006; Park and Keil, 2009). Therefore, managers contribute consciously or unconsciously to the organizational silence that has negative effects on the organization and employees in the short and long run. Research findings support that organizational silence may have negative and permanent consequences both


130  Murat Güler and Metin Ocak at organizational and individual levels and that organizational performance may be adversely affected in the long run (Morrison and Milliken, 2000; Pinder and Harlos, 2001; Tangirala and Ramanujam, 2008). Although organizational voice is an important force in changing organizational performance, employees in the organizational structure often prefer to be silent (Fast et al., 2014: 1013). In the context of organizational performance, organizational silence reduces organizational productivity. The definition of productivity consists of two concepts (Bordbar et al., 2019: 201); namely, efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency is about doing things right and is calculated by dividing the actual output by the expected output. Effectiveness refers to the degree to which the organization achieves its predetermined goals. Employees in such organizations believe that they will be punished if they express their views on organizational issues and mistakes. Therefore, employees prefer to remain silent rather than express their views and contribute to the progress of their organizations. Bordbar et al. (2019) found that organizational silence had a direct and negative effect on employee productivity in their study of employees in a tax organization. One of the outcomes of organizational silence is organizational cynicism (Nartgün and Kartal, 2013: 51). Organizational cynicism has become an important topic in recent years, especially in the field of organizational behavior. Organizational cynicism means that employees believe that their organization lacks honesty and at the same time have negative attitudes toward their organizations (Dean et al., 1998: 345). Organizational cynicism that arises as a result of not fulfilling the basic expectations of employees such as sincerity, justice, and honesty cause the employees to have negative attitudes toward their organizations. In organizations where silence is prevalent, members are biased toward each other which in turn leads to cynical attitudes in the organizational environment. To survive, organizations need employees who respond to environmental challenges without fear to share their knowledge and thoughts, and who can stand up for their beliefs and self-​confidence (Vakola and Bouradas, 2005: 441). In organizations, silence leads to an inability to benefit from the intellectual participation of employees. Thereby, direct information cannot be obtained or problems are identified. Therefore, the solutions formulated are inadequate to address the problems (Bordbar et al., 2019: 202). According to Morrison and Milliken’s (2000) model, the most important outcomes of organizational silence include not tapping the intellectual contributions of employees, avoiding negative feedback, filtering information, and not responding to emerging problems. This prevents organizational learning, which is the key to organizational development. Learning is a critical variable in the ability of organizations to successfully cope with an ever-​changing environment. Therefore, organizational learning is vital in decision-​making as well as access to information, absorbing and processing information in organizations (Nath and Mrinalini, 2002). The existence of silence in decision-​ making, organizational development, and innovation processes may lead to suboptimal or even wrong decisions. Due to


Organizational silence 131 organizational silence, organizational decisions become inefficient, and the risk increases that the organization fails to adapt to change.Therefore, organizational learning is considered one of the strategic ways of achieving long-​ term organizational success. According to Edmondson (2003), employees in organizations that speak about observations, concerns, and questions may learn new processes better than those who are reluctant to speak about what they think. Furthermore, organizational silence not only slows down organizational development, but also causes internal conflicts among employees, reduces the quality of decision-​making, prevents change and innovation, and reduces the organizational commitment of employees (Morrison and Milliken, 2000: 718).Although silence may be seen as an expression of the commitment of employees to their organizations (Bryant and Cox, 2004: 588), studies are showing that there is an inverse relationship between organizational commitment and silence (Dedahanov and Rhee, 2015; Fard and Karimi, 2015; Norouzi and Vazifeh, 2016). Similarly, Sheppard et al. (1992) report that the development of mechanisms that enable employees to express themselves in the organizations will have an effect such as increasing organizational commitment and reducing the number of lawsuits and complaints. It is also emphasized by Tangirala and Ramanujam (2008) that organizational silence affects organizational commitment and job satisfaction. Therefore, the concept of organizational silence, which was initially associated with organizational commitment, was perceived as a negative behavior because employees hid their thoughts about organizational issues. Organizational silence is thought to have many negative effects, especially on employees (Shojaie et al., 2011: 1733). Communication is the key factor of success in organizations. If there is silence in the organizations, it means that the communication climate and consequently the general operation of the organization suffer (Bagheri et al., 2012: 50). Due to a lack of dialogue and a climate of trust in organizations (Nafei Wageeh, 2016: 148), employee satisfaction and employee performance (Bagheri et al., 2012: 50) are negatively affected. Organizational silence also reduces the creativity and work motivation of employees (Morrison and Milliken, 2000: 719). It may cause stress and communication disorders among employees (Vakola and Bouradas, 2005: 441) and may reduce the quality of work (Nikmaram et al., 2012: 1272). Organizational silence also weakens the morale and motivation of employees and leads to an increase in behaviors that negatively affect individual and organizational outcomes such as absenteeism and turnover. Beheshtifar et al. (2012: 277) underline the importance of communication in organizations stating that employees may report their dissatisfaction to managers by either speaking or leaving work. In a study conducted by Paksirat and Taheri (2018), it was found that organizational silence increased occupational burnout and reduced employee performance. The consequences of employee burnout in an organization are lower performance, degrading quality, absenteeism, intent


132  Murat Güler and Metin Ocak to leave, conflict with colleagues, and reduced job satisfaction and organizational commitment (Halbesleben and Buckley, 2004: 859–​879). Over time, burnout causes employees in organizations to remain extremely incurious to their colleagues, jobs, employers, and quality of work. This results in a loss of money and poor performance of organizations (Bagheri et al., 2012: 50). Decreases in performance, morale and cooperation efforts, physical and psychological withdrawal, turnover, and behaviors such as sabotage are the likely results of organizational silence. Suppressing critical communication or deliberately not sharing information may increase employee stress and psychological problems. In addition, the feeling of inability to talk about problems and express their views clearly may lead to lower job satisfaction, commitment, and motivation. The threat to employees’ psychological well-​ being may cause them to feel unworthy and experience cognitive dissonance. Employees may find it difficult to adapt to changes in the organization with a decrease in morale, commitment, and motivation. Other important outcomes include a decrease in employee interest in organizational transformation activities, prevention of organizational learning, and a decrease in job quality. If employee silence is widespread in the organization, intellectual poverty ensues, mistakes are overlooked and managers will be deprived of critical information (Morrison and Milliken, 2000, 2004). The outcomes of organizational silence for employees indicate that employees feel powerless to speak openly about their workplace problems and concerns, and that there are negative effects such as lack of loyalty, belonging, trust, appreciation and support, lack of job satisfaction, and intention to quit (Vakola and Bouradas, 2005: 451).

Future research on organizational silence The fact that silence is perceived as the absence of speech and that it is more difficult to observe and analyze silence than the other open behaviors may be the possible reasons for giving little attention to organizational silence (Dyne et al., 2003: 1364). Although there are many studies on the antecedents and outcomes of organizational silence, there is a scarcity of studies to answer the question “how can people create a working environment where they can speak freely?” Edmondson and Detert (2005) dealt with the question and concluded that team leaders’ coaching was needed to create a climate where people would feel safe and confident to talk. Shojaie et al. (2011) similarly emphasized the role of managers in creating an environment in which employees could express their opinions. Consistent with this approach, an empirical study (Deniz, 2019) reports that organizational silence is largely due to managerial and organizational reasons. In this context, it is suggested that investigating the roles of managers and leaders who have the responsibility for reducing organizational silence can make a significant contribution to the field. There is a need for a balance between voice and silence in organizations because an environment in which everyone who works in organizations


Organizational silence 133 expresses their opinions sometimes may create confusion and cause operational delays. Hence, organizational silence is a critical obstacle to organizational change and development, but it is also a demoralizing force (Morrison and Milliken, 2000: 721). In this context, it will be beneficial to conduct studies to unveil in which situations, organizational silence may be harmful and in which situations it may be functional (Milliken et al., 2003: 1567). According to Morrison and Milliken (2000), employees need to establish vertical communication, but in many working conditions, it is clear that employees cannot establish such communication about problems in their organizations. In this context, psychological empowerment focuses on employees’ perceptions of empowerment and their cognitive status. Psychological empowerment produces positive organizational and managerial outcomes by increasing employees’ perception of personal control and motivation (Quinn and Spreitzer, 1997).The psychological empowerment proposed by Conger and Kanungo (1988) is a concept associated with Bandura’s (1982) self-​efficacy studies. Studies on the interaction of psychological empowerment and organizational silence may contribute to the field. Also, as stated by Nafei Waggeh (2016: 67), another research proposal for organizational silence is to determine whether or not the antecedents and outcomes of organizational silence differ in the manufacturing and service sectors. Also, practical measurement tools are needed to measure silence at the organizational level. The development of organizational silence measures may also contribute to the assessment of how management applications for reducing silence works well or not. Finally, the direction of communication is another revenue for scientific research. Most of the previous studies have dominantly addressed the lack of bottom-​up organizational communication and generally suspected whether the employees are silent or not. But from a holistic perspective, there may also be an intentional lack of communication of managers from the top-​down that studies have to date neglected and it may now be worth studying.

Conclusion Today, organizations may face more problems than in previous periods in responding to rapidly changing environmental conditions due to organizational silence that practically refers to the fact that employees have significant information and do not deliberately share it with the relevant people, thus preventing the organization from benefiting from such information. This undesirable situation may arise from employees’ ulterior motives, wanting to protect themselves from negative consequences, thinking that their suggestions will not be useful, avoiding other employees from being affected negatively, seeing themselves as inadequate, or no longer having meaningful ties to their jobs. Although organizational silence is difficult to observe, good management practices may help organizational members come forward and share information. As organizational silence is a negative employee behavior, it likely points to an underlying management problem. If managers do not


134  Murat Güler and Metin Ocak receive positive or negative feedback from various levels or departments of the organization, they should question whether this is a normal situation or a sign of organizational silence. In this regard, the first step is to try to determine whether there are situations, conditions, or factors that may cause organizational silence. Moreover, anticipating possible negative outcomes from organizational silence may also help identify the causes of silence and formulate remedial interventions. In this context, it is important to conduct scientific studies to objectively determine and measure organizational silence, which is a secret and insidious phenomenon. Other topics of investigation may include what intervention measures work, and how effective they are.

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8 Understanding alienation Meral Kızrak, Hakan Turgut, and İsmail Tokmak

Introduction The business world, from the largest companies to the smallest ones, is struggling with many challenges. Among these, employee issues seem to be the most critical factor in the success or failure of businesses since labor capital is considered the most valuable resource in organizations. When employees are unable to find the comfort, satisfaction, belongingness, and connection they look for in the workplace, they may feel isolated from the social structure of their work environment, which ultimately may pose a threat to the effectiveness and efficiency of organizations. Therefore, addressing employee alienation, one of the dark sides of organizational behavior can help practitioners and theoreticians to gain more insights into understanding individuals, groups, and contextual factors in the organization. In this chapter, we will shed light on the issue of employee alienation at work. We begin by looking at the sociological and philosophical explanations and definitions made by influential thinkers and scholars. After the analysis of alienation in terms of its historical development, classification, operationalization, and dimensional constructs, we present two closely related concepts; namely, anomie and reification, to further explain the idea of alienation. Then we will provide a review of empirical and theoretical studies in the extant literature and their results to show its relationship with other organizational behavior variables. Finally, we conclude our analysis with the implications for theory and practice.

History and evolution of “alienation” The concept has actually been addressed by many authors and thinkers since the 19th century, which witnessed various new social, political, and economic movements initiated by Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Weber, Durkheim, representing what we call the classical period; and Fromm, Marcuse, Mills, Simmel, and Seeman and others, representing the later or modern period (Savaş, 2015). Marx and Fromm discussed alienation from an economic and political point of view whereas Durkheim from a sociological perspective (Tokmak, 2014). DOI: 10.4324/9781003376972-8


140  Meral Kızrak, Hakan Turgut, and İsmail Tokmak Although the ideas that man is alone in the universe that he lives in, and that he is indifferent to or even an enemy, had been accepted by scholars in social sciences, philosophy, and politics for about two hundred years, Hegel was the first who used the term in philosophy. According to Hegel, alienation involves man’s self-​destruction (Marx, 2010). He suggests that alienation emerges because of the separation between the mental and physical existence of a human being. The products and possessions created by man himself are the very cause of alienation from the nature and his own soul. Man believes he can only prove his existence through his possessions, and as a result, his life turns into a product of unhappy consciousness (Eryılmaz, 2010). One of the most influential thinkers of the classical period, Feuerbach formed his theory of alienation based on religion, which he considers a mere illusion. Feuerbach suggests that individuals alienate their essential being by giving God the spiritual power they have created for themselves or positive attributes they possess (Silah, 2005). For Feuerbach, religion is nothing more than a reflection of individuals’ fundamental desires and they have become alienated from their own essence because they have bestowed their own attributes to God (Ergil, 1980). Hegel and Feuerbach arguably laid the intellectual foundations of the Marxian theory of alienation (Özbudun et al., 2008). Marx aimed to detach the concept of alienation from its philosophical roots and placed it in the middle of concrete realities (Tolan, 2005). According to Marx, the things that alienate human beings from their essential being and society include labor process, the division of labor, and private property relations (Taş, 2007). The concept of alienation, which had been addressed in abstract terms before, gained an economic and political meaning with Marx. The Marxian alienation discourse is based on a critique of capitalism in general, and division of labor, in particular (West, 1969). Although Hegel was the first to expound on the concept of alienation, it was Marx who first discussed it from economic and social perspectives. Marx also theorizes the alienation of labor. As work is carried out by a worker, he argues, the solution to any work-​related problem should be looked for in the relationship between the worker with his/​her work. Specifically, Marx’s theory of alienation of labor is based on the relationship between the worker’s labor and his/​her inner self.Therefore, he analyzes the theory of alienation of labor with an exploration of the emotional relationship between workers and their work (Davidov, 1997). Marx suggests that there is a mutual relationship between man and his/​ her activities. Man realizes himself in the productive activity, but at the same time, he loses his inner self in his products. Man cannot find himself in the product he has created when it disobeys him (Elma, 2003). The product man has created transforms into an independent form, which sometimes enslaves him. At other times, the product man has made enthralls and dazzles man. Sometimes the product, the thing or, rather, something transcendental (money, commodity) man has produced by himself transforms him into a tradable object, a commodity, or a possession. In short, the mutual relationship


Understanding alienation 141 between man (social and individual human being) and objects refers to otherness and alienation, or self-​realization and self-​loss (Lefebvre, 1996). Weber is another classical period thinker who greatly contributed to the concept of alienation. Weber states that man who has to behave under particular rules and standards in bureaucratic businesses such as factories, armies, or schools, which are based on rational-​legal authority, has lost his individuality, self-​determination, and emotionality, and become alienated (Gençer, 2002). Weber criticizes Marx by arguing that the only thing that motivates people is not their economic interests (Doğan, 2009). Weber is one of the leading authors of the period to discuss modern organizations and the effects they have on the social environment. He developed the notion of ideal-​ type bureaucracy, having an important role in the development of modern society. The organizational form Weber proposed is an ideal model, which is based on rules, laws, and impersonal and rational practices (Aytaç, 2005). While he stated organizations should be managed with a formal structure and rational relations, he predicted that social relationships between organizational members may weaken, and therefore the ideal-​type bureaucracy may lead to partial alienation in organizations (Şimşek et al., 2012). Another great thinker contributing to the development of alienation theory is Emile Durkheim, who discussed the causes and implications of alienation drawing on “anomie” theory. Anomie simply means “rulelessness” or “normlessness”. Anomie theory tries to explain social conditions leading to alienation from social norms, a breakdown of social rules that regulate behaviors of individuals, and the ineffectiveness in obeying behavioral rules (Seeman, 1959). Durkheim mainly posits that individuals need social regulations, integration into social structures and norms. On the other hand, Marx thinks that in order to realize his potential, man’s essential being must be truly independent, with no social restrictions. According to Durkheim, anomie refers to the lack of solidarity, a state in which different social functions have failed to protect the balance and harmony of society (Güney, 2009). Unless anomie is prevented, the society may witness social disintegration and alienation (Büyükyılmaz, 2007). Durkheim believes that if individuals cannot adapt to social norms, they are likely to withdraw from the society they live in, but since they need socialization, they experience a struggle between themselves and the society. This eventually leads to alienation. Individuals in the anomie are in isolation from everything outside of their own activities and they even cannot perceive that they are doing the same job as their colleagues (Develioğlu and Tekin, 2013). Durkheim (2006) also asserts that while the division of labor increases social solidarity, it may produce adverse effects (Büyükyılmaz, 2007). Although classical economists explain the division of labor with reference to human happiness, Durkheim (2006: 405) argues that the division of labor does not make people happy because future generations, not the current generation, will take advantage of the division of labor. As a result, individuals in their life routines or busy with their work responsibilities become isolated from everything apart from their own tasks and they separate themselves from


142  Meral Kızrak, Hakan Turgut, and İsmail Tokmak their colleagues in their workplace. As seen, Durkheim addresses the concept of alienation mostly from a sociological perspective (Develioğlu and Tekin, 2013). Following the authors of the classical period mentioned above, thinkers such as Marcuse, Mills, and Seeman contributed to the alienation literature and they are classified as modern scholars of the Marxist theory of alienation (Şimşek et al., 2012). The modern period involves post 1950s era and is marked by the ideas of Marcuse, Fromm, Simmel, Mills, and Seeman (Tolan, 1983). Herbert Marcuse, who lived between 1898 and 1979, is regarded as an important author examining the issue of alienation in detail (Osmanoğlu, 2016). Marcuse suggests that alienation happens when individuals lose their own consciousness, creative powers, and collective human selves, and they become the slaves of dominating powers that alienate them from their inner selves (Savaş, 2015). Marcuse’s alienation theory indicates that man cannot realize himself in his labor, and in time his life becomes a means of labor. As a result, work and products created by man have gained form and power independent from him. According to Marcuse, technology reaching such an advanced stage restricts individual independence. On the one hand, technological developments give human beings, to some extent, independence from the production means and social control mechanisms, but on the other hand, human existence has faced unprecedented, widespread, and deep pressure (Marcuse, 1998). With the effect of mass media, man becomes a robot that is not aware of his relationship with the outside world but consumes what the people who rule the society want, to the extent they want, whenever and wherever they want (Tolan, 1981). According to Marcuse, another challenge presented by capitalism to modern people is that it does not allow them to express themselves and socialize with others as it strictly limits their time (Savaş, 2015). Emphasizing the effect of our age on alienation in his works, Marcuse states that consumption culture has created artificial human needs, harming the transformation ability of human consciousness (Özbudun et al., 2008). Eric Fromm, who lived between 1900 and 1980, made remarkable descriptions of the alienated man. Fromm addresses alienation on account of the individual’s psychological condition. Drawing an association between human alienation and the economic structure of a capitalist society, he suggests that the individual in modern industrial society has become the object of “blind economic powers”. He adds that an individual who has become alienated views himself as neither the center of the world and nor the doer of his actions (Fromm, 1981). While Marx believes the most alienated social class is the working class, Fromm believes that most individuals experience alienation. He focuses on the worker identities of individuals rather than their consumer identities (Tolan, 1981). According to him, such processes as industry, technology, scientific developments, bureaucratic organizations, rationalization, and so forth ultimately have devastating effects on the mental structure of individuals, leading to psychological problems (Aytaç, 2005).


Understanding alienation 143 Fromm highlights the concept freedom while addressing the problem of alienation. From his point of view, the modern individual has artificial freedom and assumes an artificial personality. His choices are also artificial (Fromm, 1996). Individuals are made to choose among the products suggested by powerful others, and they tragically believe that they consciously make their own choices (Fromm, 1996). Fromm thinks that the modern man is somewhat distressed, which suggests the concept of alienation. As a result, overcoming alienation may only be possible with a social system where the demands of the individual are met and where the individual is not forced to submit to any power. The German sociologist and philosopher Georg Simmel, who lived between 1858 and 1918, is regarded as one of the founders of German Sociology. In his sociology theory, Simmel discusses the effects of the money economy on the metropolis life of man, and the concept of alienation. For him, the deepest problem of the modern life is man’s becoming increasingly individualized (Özelce, 2017). Separation of workers from the means of production leads to a difference between objective and subjective working conditions. When labor turns into a commodity, it causes differentiation in the personality. Labor gains independence from the personality and becomes an autonomous object. Like Marx, Simmel describes alienation as something experienced during the production process. Simmel (2019) states that a product is made by sacrificing the development of the worker, which harms the integrity of his/​her personality. As a similar point, he thinks that the cause of alienation is the task specialization resulting from the increased division of labor in the production processes. Simmel (2019) points out that individuals are often in close contact with slight discontent, mutual strangeness, and sometimes even hatred and disgust. As a result, just as Marx interprets religion as a fantastic presentation of alienation, Simmel considers money as a presentation of unmanned capitalism (Marx, 2011). As of the 1920s, after the enormous rise of service industries in the USA, the policies of the existing economy aimed at organizing consumption instead of production as before. In his writings, C. Wright Mills, one of the most famous American sociologists, discusses this transformation with its psychological effects.White-​collar employees, or new social kinds of the new order, disengage from production processes. Mills considers this disengagement as a deepening reason of alienation, providing a new interpretation to the literature on alienation (Bostan, 2012), and that alienation occurs not only in the production process but also in consumption and free time use (Mills, 2007). He emphasizes that the capitalist system creates a mass society comprised of herded people who are illiterate, disorganized, and selfish, instead of an effective society made up of individuals having the ability to start political actions, and skills to restructure the society (Tolan, 2005). Mills asserts that although employees produce many different products with their own efforts, they cannot personally own them, and this causes them to experience alienation (Şimşek et al., 2006). In addition, he concentrates on employees in the service sector. He asserts that alienation is felt more intensely by white-​collar employees than blue-​collar ones (Büyükyılmaz, 2007).


144  Meral Kızrak, Hakan Turgut, and İsmail Tokmak American researchers conceptualized alienation after the WWII and pioneered in efforts to measure it in empirical studies. In this respect, Melvin Seeman is known as one of the most prominent researchers significantly contributing to the alienation literature (Fırat, 2012). He clarifies the concept of alienation at the theoretical level and makes extensive efforts to develop its measurable dimensions. Seeman thinks that “alienated labor” research examines the employees’ control over and participation in the work processes, mediocritization of the modern employee, and dissociation from the management (Alkan and Ergil, 1980). He aims to make a classification based on the concepts of emotional problems stemming from social relations (Tolan, 2005). He also tries to examine personal alienation of the individual living in a society. For this purpose, he addresses alienation from a social-​psychological point of view but disregards particular social conditions that may be related to alienation (Mercan, 2006). Seeman conceptualized alienation as a construct with five dimensions: powerlessness, meaninglessness, normlessness, isolation, and self-​estrangement (Ofluoğlu and Büyükyılmaz, 2008; Seeman, 1959). Consequently, Hegel states alienation is a part of the self-​discovery process of man, who isolates himself by trying to be independent from God, nature, and objects. In Feuerbach’s view, man becomes alienated by creating God. According to Marx, alienation is the ownership of the means of production by a limited number of people in the capitalist economic system, the division of labor, and the commodification of labor. Alienation can also be explained by the technology leading to unskilled workforce in the production process, according to Marcus. While Mills states that alienation happens when the class of white-​collar workers do not produce “something” and consume “real” things, Fromm says it results from the capitalist working practices that instrumentalize individuals and commodify labor. Finally, Whyte asserts that alienation is associated with the bureaucratization of “the organization man” in Weber’s iron cage (Aytaç, 2005; Fromm, 1941/​1996, Marx, 2010; Mills, 2007; Özbudun and Demirer, 2008). According to Twining (1980), Corlett (1988), and Seeman (1959), alienation happens when the individual abnormally separates from the external environment and loses connection with others. Similarly, Bonjean and Grimes (1970) regard alienation as a separation from one’s consciousness. On the other hand, Weisskopf (1996) defines it as suppressing some aspects of human nature. Kohn (1976) thinks that alienation occurs when the individual regards himself or herself or the environment as passive and therefore avoids responsibility for his or her actions. Shepard (1972) considers alienation as a social process and defines it as an experienced conflict between the individual’s own values and social value. Operationalization of the concept Based on various explanations and definitions, extant literature provides different approaches to operationalizing alienation. For example, Mottaz (1981) conceptualized the concept under three subdimensions: powerlessness,


Understanding alienation 145 meaninglessness, and self-​alienation. Lang (1985) also investigated the nature of alienation relying on three subdimensions; namely, personal alienation, social alienation, and occupational alienation. In his operationalization Kohn (1976) described alienation as powerlessness, self-​alienation, rulelessness, and cultural alienation. Although the literature suggests other dimensions of alienation as well (Burbach, 1972; Dean, 1961; Korman et.al.,1981; Middleton, 1963), the most widely accepted classification is the five-​dimensional construct of Seeman. Powerlessness, meaninglessness, normlessness, social isolation, and self-​ estrangement are the dimensions of alienation that Seeman has developed based on his sociological and psychological studies (Seeman, 1959). Powerlessness is felt when individuals lack any control or power over themselves, their lives, and their experiences (mostly work life). In other words, powerlessness means a lack of control over the products they have produced and the means they have used during this process. (Seeman, 1959). Individuals who have the perception that their life is being led by other “powers” continuously consider themselves weak and ineffective (Sert and Tarakçıoğlu, 2019). They think that their power will not be sufficient while interacting with other people or institutions that control their life and make decisions about them, and that they cannot cope with them (Tutar, 2010). Powerlessness often happens when individuals think external factors such as luck, fate, or others’ actions are much more influential in their life, and their role and power are limited (Elma, 2003). Meaninglessness is a state in which a person regards his/​her work as insignificant or valueless (Mendoza and Zoghbi, 2008). It occurs when the individual does not believe his/​her abilities to change his/​her actions, hopes, and expectations regarding his/​her dreams and future (Durcan, 2007), and when s/​he regards the consequences of his/​her work as trivial and useless (Çalışkan and Cihan, 2015). Meaninglessness is experienced when a person cannot understand the current events in the society that s/​he belongs to, and when he/​she does not obey common social norms, values, and preferences of that society (Büyükyılmaz, 2007). Meaninglessness may also be defined as a person being hopeless to reach the future s/​he dreams and believes s/​he will not be able to realize his/​her thoughts (Develioğlu and Tekin, 2013). It also refers to a situation in which the individual is reluctant to act in accordance with the goals of the organization she/​he works for, because s/​he thinks that his/​her beliefs and values contradict with those of the organization (Seeman, 1959). An employee experiences meaningless if s/​he does not understand how the organization operates, therefore he/​she cannot predict the results of his/​her own actions, nor understand the reason for his/​her actions (Yıldız and Alıcı, 2019). In short, meaninglessness may be defined as the individual’s cognitive confusion as to whether to believe or not, or whether to trust or not (Tolan, 1981). We can define normlessness as a person’s belief that s/​he will be able to reach his/​her goals and purposes only by unacceptable social behaviors


146  Meral Kızrak, Hakan Turgut, and İsmail Tokmak (Seeman, 1983). Some authors regard this concept as rulelessness. Seeman indicated a condition when meaninglessness has turned into normlessness and developed the concept of normlessness after being inspired by the concept of anomie (Çilesiz, 2013; Ofluoğlu and Büyükyılmaz, 2008).The majority of sociologists define normlessness as the state of an individual’s acting contrary to norms and social rules, which define how to behave in society. That is, normlessness is an individual’s descent into chaos, disorder, confusion, pessimism, and uncertainty in social life (Bayhan, 1997). When normlessness occurs, employees become indifferent to rules while working and they try to make their own ways. It also emerges when employees act with unacceptable principles and criteria (Seeman, 1959; Polat and Yavaş, 2012). Isolation involves avoiding or minimizing the relationship with other people in the physical environment in which a person lives. The sources of the withdrawal or distancing may be due to the individual’s psychological state or the external environment (Elma, 2003). The individual who isolates herself does not internalize the goals of society, the means to achieve these goals, or even the values created by the social order. Such people, completely isolate themselves from society, withdraw into their own world and live there (Savaş, 2015). Moreover, isolation refers to the individual’s disconnection from social environment, and his or her withdrawal from social relations and communications with others. At the organizational level, it means the inability to join informal groups, or failure to form harmonious relationships with the organization’s internal environment (Seeman, 1983). Shepard (1972) thinks that social isolation happens when the individual cannot establish a relationship between his/​her own identity and role within society, and loses loyalty toward one or more people with whom he/​she interacts in society. Blau (1964) suggests that social isolation occurs in two ways. The first one is that the individual has no feeling of belongingness to the web of social relations in the industrial societies. The second one is that the individual becomes indifferent to work, which also leads to a failure to connect to the society and its goals. An employee who is socially isolated may not develop alternative culture, thought, and behavioral practices against the popular culture or the dominant work system. As a result, the weak, meaningless, and alienated individual’s bond with the society is weakened (Sabah Kıyan, 2011). After a while, goals and beliefs highly valued in the society do not make sense for the individual anymore (Develioğlu and Tekin, 2013). In Seeman’s view (1959), self-​estrangement, or self-​alienation is the lack of interest or dissatisfaction with any activity the individual is engaged. Başaran (2000) states self-​alienation is felt when the individual’s actions and behaviors are not compatible with the values, norms, and needs. It happens when certain individual acts contrary to his plans and future expectations (Aşık, 2018). In other words, self-​estrangement is defined as individuals’ inability to reflect their own values, expectations, and desires to their behavior (Tükel, 2012: 40). Seeman (1983) describes self-​alienated individuals as people who do not pursue rewarding experiences, and who considered themselves as


Understanding alienation 147 an object to meet their needs. A self-​alienated individual mostly engages in reluctant behaviors or does not rely on intrinsic motivation (Emir, 2012). When employees are alienated, their work does not allow them to express themselves or improve their abilities (Blau, 1964). Research suggests that the organizational context has two kinds of self-​alienation: poor self-​assertion at work and poor internalization with work. Self-​estranged individuals are not concerned with the internal factors of the work, but with their returns such as money and security, so they cannot get job satisfaction (Yıldız and Alıcı, 2019). Seeman’s five-​dimensional alienation model has been used by various researchers to examine the relationships between alienation and other organizational behavior variables. In the following section, we provide information about these studies. Related concepts Research indicates that anomie and reification are closely linked to the concept of alienation. Anomie (rulelessness or normlessness) involves abolishing social rules and breaking the bonds that ensure social cohesion and solidarity in society (Şimşek et al., 2006). According to Durkheim, anomie happens when individuals are confused about the social norms and thereby gradually become disintegrated with society. In Durkheim sociology, alienation is explained by drawing on the concept of anomie, which means the deterioration of social solidarity due to the absence or inadequacy of social values and norms in times of rapid social changes. With anomie, Durkheim wants to posit that the individual is born from society but society not from individuals (Kılıç, 2009: 28). In other words, referring to depression, disorder, or conflict in society, anomie is defined as a state in which the society’s norms become ineffective (Marshall, 1999). Evaluating the individual, his/​her life and social relationships, anomie theory addresses the concept of alienation in the context of a breakdown in social structure that the individual belongs to (Kılıç et al., 2017). When people are obliged to obey rules, laws, and social norms, there becomes a kind of reification of society and institutions. When it occurs, alienation manifests itself in the form of submission to social rules and norms and the development of an overly adaptive attitude despite the individual’s own desire (Tolan, 2005). The objective aspect of reification consists of bureaucracy, state order, and laws prevailing in the market. The subjective part of reification is related to alienation of the individual from his or her own activities (Osmanoğlu, 2016). In reification, the values that man has created by himself or herself continue to exist independently, regardless of his or her control. This is because technology is developing rapidly and is being controlled by an increasingly centralized authority (Babür, 2009). It is thought that reification will end only when people realize that their organizations are created by them.


148  Meral Kızrak, Hakan Turgut, and İsmail Tokmak

Studies on the relationship of alienation with other organizational behavior variables Alienation has gained considerable interest in positive and negative organizational behavior and has been studied extensively by researchers due to its effects on employee performance. In these studies, alienation is mostly examined as an independent, dependent, mediator, or moderator variable. In other studies, alienation has been analyzed as the only variable in a particular sample population (Emir, 2012; Chiaburu et al., 2014; Oksay and Durmaz, 2016; Yalçın and Dözmez, 2017). As an independent variable, alienation has become the subject of studies exploring its effects on dependent variables, such as work satisfaction, organizational climate, counterproductive work behavior, intention to leave (Turan and Parsak, 2011; Fettahlıoğlu and Tatlı, 2015; Üzüm and Şenol, 2019; Ünsar and Karahan, 2012). As a dependent variable, it has been widely studied to examine its association with such variables as organizational cynicism, social media use, psychological resilience, job specifications and perception of organizational structure, perception of fair learning, five-​factor personality traits, organizational culture, the tendency to use technology (Develioğlu and Tekin, 2013;Yıldız and Şaşlıkay, 2014; Babaoğlan et al., 2016; Korkmaz and Çevik, 2017; Certel et al., 2018; Sert and Tarakçıoğlu, 2019; Şenol and Üzüm, 2019; Sert and Tarakçıoğlu, 2019;Türk and Kazan, 2019). However, the role of alienation as a mediator or moderator can be seen in only a few studies (Yıldız and Alpkan, 2015).

Work alienation Rapid technological changes, increased level of competition, increased pressure of productivity, modern production approaches based on division of labor may all cause employees to have negative feelings such as work alienation (Dönmez and Erdoğan, 2017). Although work alienation is an attitudinal construct, it may refer to a general tendency to feel indifferent toward work efforts and the work environment (Hascher and Hagenauer, 2010). It may occur because of employees’ losing control over organizational processes, inability to express themselves, and feeling of powerlessness at work. Their lack of autonomy and authority over their jobs contributes to alienation from work (Ceylan and Sulu, 2010). Work alienation is also associated with subjective states such as powerlessness, meaninglessness, social isolation, self-​ alienation, and normlessness (Chiaburu et al., 2014). It involves not only the breakdown of social, political, and economic relationships but also of the work-​related interactions. As a result of this breakdown, employees may have to live in a way that may contradict with their personality (Tuna and Yeşiltaş, 2014). Hoy et al. (1983) define work alienation as a reflection of the feelings arising from the individual’s disappointment with his/​her position in the organization. The authors also state that work alienation means dissatisfaction with such matters as authority relations, current job position in the


Understanding alienation 149 Table 8.1 Definitions of work alienation Author


Kartal (2017)

Employees’ inability to integrate themselves with the products they produce Work alienation, which emerges due to various demands, beliefs, and intentions, is the dissonance between what the employer dreams of and reality. Feeling separated from the products the individual produces and experiencing self-​isolation. A state in which employees do not show much interest in their job, do not devote much energy to their work, and primarily prefer external awards Lack of conditions and environments that demonstrate the value of the individual as a human such as work autonomy, responsibility, social interaction, and self-​realization. Working conditions depriving the individual’s control over production processes, interaction with colleagues and customers, and his/​her abilities Employee isolation and disconnection from his /​her job and work-​related activities Employees’ losing his/​her control over the organizational processes, inability to express /​themselves, the feeling of powerlessness towards work. The physical or psychological isolation or distancing of an employee from the organization. Emotions experienced when the individual is dissatisfied with his/​her position within the organization and when his/​her expectations at work are not realized Employee’s not being interested in work.

Yüksel (2014) Corlett (1988) Agarwal (1993) Blau (1964)

Kanungo (1992) Nair and Vohra (2009) Çalışkan and Pekkan (2017) Demirez and Tosunoğlu (2017) Geyer (1980) Hirschfeld and Feild (2000) Mottaz (1981) Elma (2003)

The dissonance between the roles that work requires and the self-​nature of the employee. A state in which employees do not find their work meaningful, they experience dissatisfaction because of the relations at work, feel lonely, insufficient, and powerless; lose their hopes for the future, and see themselves as a simple wheel in the system.

organization, opportunities for professional development and change, recognition by immediate superiors. There are also other definitions of work alienation made by various researchers, as seen in Table 8.1. Work alienation is closely related to working conditions at work (DiPietro and Pizam, 2008). This relationship implies that it is a context-​dependent state rather than a personal trait. Therefore, it is possible to assert that work environment is an important factor in the development of alienation. Even


150  Meral Kızrak, Hakan Turgut, and İsmail Tokmak the general atmosphere at work significantly affects work alienation positively or negatively (Banai et al., 2004). For example, alienation of employees from their work damages their relations at work, and negatively affects the performance of both employees and the organization (Kartal, 2017). When alienation occurs, the employee experiences a feeling of separation from work and the environment, causing a decrease in productivity (Taştan et al., 2014). Marx’s views on alienation laid the foundation for work alienation theory. According to him, alienation means a conflict between the essence of man and that of work. Work alienation occurs when employees lose their control over production. Lack of employee control over work activities, due to the nature of working in modern work life, creates feeling of estranged (Mottaz, 1981). Employees alienated from work find it difficult to perform their duties, which may cause conflicts in their inner world (Mottaz, 1981; Mendoza and Zoghbi, 2008). Work alienation may cause physiological and psychological health problems (Kartal, 2017).This in turn may negatively influence the autonomy of the individual at work and his or her control over tasks, which aggravate the existing alienating condition (Ceylan and Sulu, 2010). Such feelings cause employees to be unable to sincerely connect to others, express themselves with the work, and harmonize with the work environment, or cause them to be indifferent to their tasks and relationships, and to withdraw and isolate from work and the organization (Erjem, 2005; Ünsar and Karahan, 2011; Kaya and Serçeoğlu, 2013). Moreover, work alienation leads employees to lose their organizational identity and display deviant behaviors and resistance. These may cause employees to concentrate more on nonwork-​related activities, groups, and social structures (Thompson and McHugh, 2002). Work alienation negatively affects the organization, too. Organizational members having work alienation may have job dissatisfaction, organizational silence, alienation from job, isolation, and decreased organizational commitment (Demirez and Tosunoğlu, 2017). Developing work processes without employee involvement hinders workers’ ability to meet their intrinsic needs at work, therefore they suppress their essence (Kaya and Serçeoğlu, 2013). Work alienation is regarded as one of the most important problems of employers and employees as it may also reduce employee performance and influence organizational performance negatively. Thus, to prevent work alienation or at least to minimize it, one should understand the causes and consequences of work alienation, which are addressed in the following section. The causes of work alienation Work alienation may provide clues to explore the relationship between employees’ behavior and their attitudes toward work. Therefore, it is important to understand what causes work alienation. Numerous problems may occur in and out of the workplace and negatively affect employees, their relations with others, and their job performance. Among the reasons


Understanding alienation 151 for work alienation are as follows: technology now controlling the human; employees distancing from their colleagues and being alone with technology; not regarding the product they produce as their own production; and not having control over their own life and future (Erdem, 2014). Additionally, work dissatisfaction, burnout (Cheung, 2008), work stress (Yadav and Nagle, 2012; Koçoğlu, 2014), and inability to participate in organizational decisions (Sulu et al., 2010) may result in work alienation. An empirical study reveals that task diversity and job identity may decline work alienation (Shantz et al., 2015), suggesting that individuals who enjoy performing a variety of tasks, and are able to align their work with the organizational goals are likely to have a lower level of work alienation. Personality traits, locus of control, and the need for success may also have a positive or negative influence on the estrangement from work. Economic, technological, political, and sociocultural environment, and mass media may also contribute to an increase or decrease in work alienation (Kanten and Ülker, 2014). Besides, work alienation often may result from work relations, management style and control, organizational technology, as well as the affective and cognitive state of the individual (Özer and Güllüce, 2019). Lack of control over their work process and labor, close supervision, and authority problems may prevent employees from expressing themselves clearly, which indirectly causes organizational problems as well as work alienation (Tutar, 2010). Work alienation is not a stable personal trait but rather a context-​ dependent construct. It involves indifference to the work, and inability to integrate, which may stem from poor working conditions. Accordingly, research shows that working conditions provided to employees significantly affect the levels of work alienation (Banai et al., 2004; DiPietro and Pizam, 2008).Working conditions causing alienation may also be the factors that do not give the individual the opportunity to be authentic, or the workplaces where there is no opportunity for the individual to plan and schedule his/​ her own daily work (Cheung, 2005; Özbek, 2011; Ünsar and Karahan, 2011). Causes of work alienation are classified by different authors (Kökten and Işık, 2018). For example, Ofluoğlu and Büyükyılmaz (2008) make a classification based on two factors: psychological and social. Psychological factors relate to division of labor, mass media, working conditions, beliefs, attitudes, and values whereas social ones include social and cultural structure, economic structure, industrialization, and urbanization. Causes of work alienation can also be categorized into four groups based on the reasons Çalışır’s (2006) study presents: these are sociocultural causes, organization-​related causes, work-​ related causes, and individual reasons. Sociocultural causes include rapid urbanization and environmental pollution, rapid developments in technology, geographical difficulties employees may have (e.g., the distance between home and work), cultural differences in the environment, family structure. Among the reasons related to the organization are bureaucratic structures, the scope of work and division of labor, relationships of the employee with superiors and colleagues, and salary. Job security, working hours, workload, involvement level in decision-​making, control over the


152  Meral Kızrak, Hakan Turgut, and İsmail Tokmak work output can also be included in the work-​ related causes category. Individual reasons may include employees’ expectations of the social life and work, their psychological state, attitudes toward life, social conditions, occupational satisfaction level, and whether they can meet their personal needs or not (Çalışır, 2006). The effects of work alienation Employees suffering from alienation may lose their sense of belonging to the work in time and start to seek ways to leave the organization (Özdoğan, 2014).Work alienation is likely to result in a decrease in creativity withdrawal from social relationships, drug addictiveness, an unhealthy lifestyle, indifference to values, or obeying rules without questioning, submissiveness, unwillingness to live, selfishness and a tendency toward overconsumption (Usul and Atan, 2014), decrease in organizational commitment, misalignment with the organizational goals (Tutar, 2010: 191), and the most important of all, decrease in work performance (Kartal, 2017). When employees feel distanced from work, they may not make sense of their tasks and realize their potential because they think they are insufficient to participate in the decision-​making and decrease their interactions with other employees (Tanrıverdi and Kahraman, 2016).Work alienation also causes negative attitudes and behaviors such as the inability to take a positive stance when there is a problem, arriving late to work, absenteeism, and poor performance (Akdoğan and Aydemir, 2018). Besides, employees feeling alienated from work are not interested in the quality of products and services, but they focus on the negative aspects of the work process, which may result in an increased level of intraorganizational conflict (Kanungo, 1992; Agarwal, 1993; Çevik, 2009). Yang et al. (2001) state that alienation may lead to serious alcohol problems, as well as unstable and disorganized work and social life. Since an alienated employee cannot be productive enough, s/​he only does what is necessary to survive, but cannot contribute to the harmony of the nature, or the working environment, or himself/​herself (Erikson, 1986). As Nef (1980) indicates, alienation often creates job dissatisfaction, communication problems, avoidance of responsibility and decision-​making, fear of change, continuous complaints, and feeling unsafe when interacting with others. Moreover, alienated individuals may avoid social relations, have mental disorders, suicidal tendency, drug addiction, irregular life, poor interpersonal relationships, and do not follow society’s shared norms (Nef,1980: 86; Aybar, 1995: 87–​93). As a result, the organization should take the necessary measures or intervene before alienation occurs in order to increase the commitment of its staff (Bayram, 2005). Work alienation scales Studies on work alienation often use the scales developed by Hirschfeld and Feild (2000) and Mottaz (1981) to measure employees’ perception of work


Understanding alienation 153 alienation. In their studies, Tuna and Yeşiltaş (2014) examine work alienation as a mediator and use the scale comprised of 10 items developed by Hirschfeld and Feild (2000). In the study conducted by Kartal, (2017), the 21-​items scale with three dimensions (powerlessness, meaninglessness and self-​alienation) developed by Mottaz (1981) is used.Tanrıverdi and Kahraman (2016) use the 10-​items work alienation scale with a single dimension developed by Maddi et al. (1979) and modified by Hirschfield et al. (2000). Kurtulmuş and Karabıyık (2016) use the three-​item scale with a single dimension developed by Sheau-​yuen Yeo (2006). Celep (2008) uses “The Work Alienation Scale for Elementary School Teachers”, having 38 items and 4 dimensions; namely, powerlessness, meaninglessness, isolation, and work alienation developed by Elma (2003). Lastly, Akşit Aşık (2018) uses the work alienation scale with 24 items and 5 dimensions (meaninglessness, powerlessness, rulelessness, isolation, and self-​alienation) developed by Seeman (1983).

Organizational alienation The issue of alienation has also been addressed in terms of organizational processes. Studies on many factors causing organizational alienation have been conducted to examine other variables such as occupational burnout, job dissatisfaction, and decreased work-​life quality. Employee efficiency and effectiveness mostly depend on their relationship with the organizations he or she works for. When the relationship between employees and the organization weakens, or when they withdraw from the organization or refuse to share their skills and knowledge, alienation from the organization occurs (Zengin and Kaygın, 2016). Employees’ alienation from the organization and their disengagement from job leads to a decrease in their commitment to the organization, which over time harms their performance and future career (Eroğluer, 2020). If organizations do not take measures against alienation, it is inevitable for them to suffer negative consequences. Besides, employees feeling distanced from the organization are not interested in the social status and recognition it may provide. They set clear boundaries between personal and organizational life. For example, they are less likely to talk about work at home or care about organizational matters, such as the management, or social activities happing in the workplace, because they lack organizational identity and satisfaction (Aslan, 2008). Sanal and Zare (2017) simply define organizational alienation as the process whereby people become detached from their workplaces, themselves, and other employees. Gayer and Schweither (1976) regard it as social and class stratification emerging in the work environment. Hirschfield and Field (2000) define it as indifference to work and the organization. According to Hoy et al. (1983) organizational alienation is just a reflection of employees’ frustration regarding their positions of employees in the organization. Agarwal (1993) thinks it refers to a lack of consideration about the work, less devoted effort than required, and more focus on external rewards.


154  Meral Kızrak, Hakan Turgut, and İsmail Tokmak Örnek and Aydın (2008) indicate that the main reason for organizational alienation is that the work environment does not satisfy employees’ needs, resulting in a high level of stress. Inadequate and poor working conditions may cause work alienation, and employees tend to view the work as a tool to make money (Eroğluer, 2020). As employees who have such negative feelings may not have any expectations regarding the present or the future, alienating work environment may lead them to spend less effort in the attainment of organizational goals. Furthermore, unresolved work-​related complaints and feelings of hostility arising from dissatisfaction and frustration in today’s working life may cause employees to become estranged from the organization (Çelik, 2019). Furthermore, factors such as the inability to share problems with anyone or reduced commitment to work may alienate employees from the organization (Şimşek et al., 2006). Elma (2003) also provides several reasons as to why employees feel detached from the organization: their emotional and cognitive mental states, the product they produce, their relationships at work, organizational structure, technology as well as the management and supervision style in the organization. In short organizational alienation can occur from stages of production or situations arising from work life, as well as from the style of consumption and leisure activities of individuals. Personal traits, desires, expectations, and beliefs and values may be effective in the formation of organizational alienation. For instance, Çalışır (2006) thinks that individual variables such as age, sex, and occupational seniority may have an important role in organizational alienation. Alienated organizational members may feel they are ineffective, useless, and frustrated. They may think they are not mentally and physically free, so they get disengaged in organizational activities (Rajaeepour et al., 2012). Unresolved employee complaints or grievances may also increase the level of conflicts and dissatisfaction at work, which is likely to cause employees to get stressed in the long run and thereby accelerate alienation between the organizations and employees (Bingöl, 1990). If employees are unhappy with the working environment, and if they think they are being treated like robots who are only responsible for making the production, or if they have to work with abusive bosses or managers, it is likely that they will react in a variety of ways by alienating them or acting aggressively (Yalçın and Koyuncu, 2014). Dissatisfaction at work, lack of effective problem-​solving or complaint-​handling mechanisms, hostile and irresponsible behaviors at work may all lead to a climate of poor working conditions in which alienation may take place (Fettahlıoğlu, 2006). Employees feeling detached from their organization may harm the process of production or the quality of products and services, negatively affecting the organizational outcomes. Minibaş (1993) suggests organizational alienation has both behavioral and organizational consequences. Behavioral consequences involve explicit reactions, neurotic and antisocial behaviors, a decrease in organizational performance, negative attitudes toward the organization, employees’ perception of their work tasks as meaningless,


Understanding alienation 155 their motivation by external incentives, and avoidance of responsibility and decision-​making. Organizational consequences, on the other hand, include burnout, job dissatisfaction, and decrease in organizational life quality (Minibaş, 1993). Çelik (2019) asserts that concepts such as participation in decision-​ making, division of labor, bureaucracy, conflict, work stress, communication, organizational climate, job dissatisfaction, organizational commitment, socialization are all closely related to organizational alienation. Güler et al. (2019) think that to prevent alienation, in addition to individual and organizational interventions, some management approaches, such as stress management, conflict management, and alienation management may be considered. Other studies indicate that organizational alienation relates to job satisfaction, burnout, mobbing, organizational support, organizational culture, and organizational justice (Kılıç et al., 2017; Mercan, 2006; Eryılmaz and Burgaz, 2011; Güler et al., 2019; Günsal, 2010; Gürcü, 2012). In most of these studies, the five-​dimensional alienation scale of Seeman (1959) is used to measure organizational alienation perceptions of employees. The scales developed by Mottaz (1981) and Dean (1961) are also used. In conclusion, organizational alienation is viewed as one of the most challenging aspects of today’s business environment. If not handled effectively, the neglect of the issue may negatively influence the effectiveness of employees, which ultimately hinders the performance of the organization (Aslan, 2008). Organizations that do not regard their members as robots, or parts of the machine, and ensure their job satisfaction can protect themselves from the detrimental effects of organizational alienation (Parsak, 2010).

Occupational alienation Alienation literature indicates that researchers often use the concepts of “work alienation”, “occupational alienation”, and “organizational alienation” interchangeably. Even work alienation and occupational alienation are treated as similar concepts in many studies (Fırat, 2012). Occupational alienation involves an absence of the purpose and meaning in one’s occupation because of role changes and dynamism at work (Şimşek et al., 2012).The alienated individual has difficulties in self-​management and self-​awareness, and often feels powerless in his/​her environment (Fromm, 2004). In some occupations having unfavorable aspects such as excessive workload or inflexible working hours, the individual may feel unhappy with the work and tend to be alienated from his/​her profession (Yıldırım, et al., 2004). Occupational alienation seems to occur more in industrialized and developed countries because they are likely to have higher levels of social problems such as crime rate, alcoholism, drug use, various psychological and social problems, as well as social stratification and unbalanced share of prosperity. In such countries, alienation weakens social relations and reduces occupational productivity (Şimşek et al., 2012). In one study conducted


156  Meral Kızrak, Hakan Turgut, and İsmail Tokmak with academicians Yıldız and Alıcı (2019), it was found that constantly changing university policies often cause confusion and concerns. In addition, the lecturers were reported to have felt alienated from themselves, their organizations and the job due to various problems, such as conflicts, rivalry, and jealousy among the lecturers, lack of time and energy, and role conflicts. Kesen (2016) reports that faculty members tend to alienate from their profession as they carry a heavy course load, face the press of conducting academic studies, teach too many students, and have various problems with the administration and peers. In a study conducted on the teaching profession, Şimşek et al. (2012) emphasize that the increase in teachers’ negative perceptions about their profession brought along the problem of estrangement from the profession.They state that among the important factors leading teachers to occupational alienation are low income and excessive workload. They also argue that primary school teachers who have been alienated from their occupation may be ineffective in teaching their students, who are in the critical period of learning and personality development. Lastly, Şenturan (2007) states that due to too many changes made at work, public employees tend to develop negative perceptions about work-​related issues and suffer from occupational alienation. In empirical studies, occupational alienation is mostly examined as an independent variable and its impacts in different occupational groups are explored (Şimşek et al., 2012; Kıhrı, 2013; Şenturan, 2007; Yıldız and Alıcı, 2019). Other studies investigate its relationship with organizational behavior issues such as organizational commitment, work motivation, and workplace happiness of employees (Fırat, 2012, Akın and Aktar, 2019). In these studies, researchers mostly use the five-​ dimensional alienation scale of Seeman (1959) and “Work Alienation Scale” of Elma (2003) due to their higher reliability and validity scores (Akın and Aktar, 2019; Şimşek et al., 2012). In conclusion, increasing occupational alienation in businesses may lead to a decrease in the workplace happiness and work motivation, therefore employees may perceive a negative organizational climate. To remove all these negative consequences of occupational alienation, it is necessary for managers to analyze factors affecting occupational alienation, to approach their employees with a fair and supportive attitude, to offer flexible working arrangements to employees in specific occupations with heavy workload and long workhours (Akın and Aktar, 2019).

Conclusion The analysis of individuals’ alienation dates back to ancient times. However, it was the enlightenment period and the intellectual and philosophical movements that emerged afterward that accelerated the individuals’ detachment from themselves as well as the society they lived in (Kızıltan, 1986: 9). In our age, technology seems to be one of the critical factors in the formation of alienation. Too much interest in technological progress has turned into addiction after a certain point, where people become the captive of


Understanding alienation 157 technology and industrialization. So, despite the improvements it has brought to the lives of people, technology is one of the critical variables leading to negative consequences at work or in private lives (İmamoğlu, 2006). For example, it is common that individuals who cannot get satisfaction from their work and who experience alienation due to various organizational reasons may develop physical and mental illnesses. Due to these problems stemming from alienation, employees become dissatisfied and unhappy both in and out of the workplace (Turan and Parsak, 2011). An expanded version of the concept of alienation, work alienation has been addressed in various studies of management and organization, organizational behavior, and psychology, which indicate that it may result in significantly detrimental long-​term implications for organizations (İşçi et al., 2013). For example, employees who experience work alienation are likely to withdraw from social groups, lose their interest in the work they do, exert less effort on the job, and seek external rewards (Agarwal, 1993; Özbek, 2011). Work alienation refers to a state in which employees’ control over the work environment in which they operate decreases, which leads to a feeling of helplessness; therefore, it is an important variable that organizational behavior scholars must take into consideration (Naktiyok and Yıldırım, 2018). An individual alienated from his/​her work may not be happy at work, which causes him/​her to view work as an obligation to perform certain tasks. Therefore, businesses must take preventive measures that will ultimately reduce employees’ levels of work alienation (Babadağ and İşcan, 2017). One of the dark sides of organizational behavior, alienation of employees from their occupations or organizations for various reasons has an important role in the success or failure of their organizations because it may cause workplace dissatisfaction, burnout, intention to leave, narcissism, organizational cynicism, psychological contract breach, organizational conflict, psychological breakdown, high turnover, poor performance, low production, psychological disorders, mental deformation, psychosomatic illnesses, and so forth (Aytaç, 2005). Therefore, organizational decision makers should give importance to the issue of alienation to fully utilize their workforce, and make necessary structural and social arrangements to prevent it.

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9 Counterproductive aspects of teamwork Meral Kızrak and Alperen Öztürk

Introduction Since the early days of the Hawthorne studies, “effectiveness of teamwork” has become a field of inquiry, still occupying the minds of practitioners and theorists (Sundstrom et al., 2000). Researchers have conducted fine-​grained analyses to examine how variables at multiple levels (individual, group, societal) affect the relationship between teamwork and performance (Mathieu, Wolfson and Park, 2018). In fact, the generalizability of the relationship has been tested across different types of teams, and a positive relationship has been found repeatedly (Rasmussen and Jeppesen, 2006). There are even mathematical modelling studies that support the positive relationship between teamwork and organizational performance (Askari et al., 2020). Extensive studies across sectors and industries also confirm that there is a positive relationship between teamwork and performance. For instance, researchers underscored the positive outcomes of teamwork in the automobile industry (Kuipers and Witte, 2005), healthcare (O’Leary et al., 2011; Siassakos et al., 2011; Wright et al., 2009), clinical operations (Schmutz, Meier and Manser, 2019), education and learning (Hwang, 2018; Manzoor et al., 2011; Oyelere et al., 2021), military (Meslec, Duel and Soeters, 2020), banking (Berber, Slavic and Aleksic, 2020), sports and athletics (McEwan, 2020). There are other studies that show the positive effects of teamwork on various organizational phenomena, such as crises resolution (Boet et al., 2019), organizational learning (Gonzalez, 2021; Körner et al., 2016), innovativeness (Hoegl and Gemuenden, 2001), public management (Tenrisanna et al., 2021) and software development (Hoegl, Parboteeah and Gemuenden, 2003; Lindsjørn et al., 2016;Weimar et al., 2013, 2017). As seen, the motto of “better teamwork, better performance” (Siassakos, 2011) has strong theoretical and empirical support in the extant literature. However, just as a coin has two sides, the concept of teamwork may also have another side, a darker and more controversial one. In this chapter, major factors that may lead to counterproductive teamwork will be discussed. Firstly, we aim to investigate social and psychological mechanisms of intragroup relations relying on the assumptions of social comparison theory. The theory offers a viewpoint to understand DOI: 10.4324/9781003376972-9


Counterproductive aspects of teamwork 167 intra-​ team interactions and team members’ cognitive inferences about themselves, as well as their teammates. We present how upward and downward comparisons made by team members shape their perception of reality. Secondly, we explore the potential negative effects of social comparison process on the relationship between the team leader and team members, briefly touching on the leader–​member exchange dynamics. Then, again utilizing the assumptions of social comparison theory, we aim to explain under what conditions team members lower their performance although they exhibit more effort and higher performance while working individually. In doing so, we investigate the concept of social loafing, its extrinsic and intrinsic sources, and preventive measures to mitigate its effects. Finally, we discuss groupthink phenomena in detail to understand how team members collectively make poor decisions that may result in irreversible consequences.

Social comparison theory Social comparison theory proposes that people in their everyday life, passively, if not actively, analyze their immediate social environment in a comparative way, and place their performance and self-​image into a higher or lower positions in the cognitive social hierarchy (Wheeler and Miyake, 1992). The social comparison process is regarded as a simple ranking and ordering apparatus for people to make sense of the external world (O’Connor et al., 2000). In groups, the inferences made from repetitive comparisons constantly shape group norms and group members’ behavioral patterns (Hogg, 2000). This fundamental element of socialization can be realized consciously or unconsciously (Suls, Martin and Wheeler, 2002). Social comparison theory has roots in evolutionary psychology (Allan and Gilbert, 1995; O’Connor et al., 2000; Thwaites and Dagnan, 2004). Research indicates that, similar to human beings, baboons make comparisons to evaluate their self-​image and adjust their performances according to their inferences (Dumas et al., 2017). Social beings constantly compare themselves to those in a relatively better (upward comparison) or worse (downward comparisons) positions to make sense of their social world and to enhance their psychological well-​beings (Taylor and Lobel, 1989; Wills, 1981). For instance, a downward comparison may boost self-​esteem by meeting emotional needs while an upward comparison may motivate individuals to invest more in personal development (Taylor and Lobel, 1989). To illustrate, people who frequently use Facebook exhibit lower levels of self-​esteem as a result of conducting many upward social comparisons (Vogel et al., 2014). When people experience misfortune, poverty, dissatisfaction, adversity and calamity they are more prone to perform actively or passively downward comparisons to restore their sense of well-​being (Wills, 1981). Although the upward comparison is likely to lower the perceived sense of well-​being, and downward comparison tends to increase it (Wheeler and Miyake, 1992), there is no definitive consensus on the outcomes of the comparisons (Stets and Burke, 2014).


168  Meral Kızrak and Alperen Öztürk Social comparison creates a specific context in which individuals can validate their actions and be able to make self-​evaluations in a partly objective manner (Festinger, 1954). It helps them to set social standards that provide the necessary information to make self-​evaluations (Mussweiler and Stract, 2000). With social comparison people shape their perception of reality about their beliefs systems and future expectations (Suls, Rene and Martin, 2000, 2002). Thus, social comparison may be regarded as a vital tool for constructing social reality. Research suggests that there are other reasons behind individuals’ social comparison tendency. Self-​ evaluations, self-​ enhancements and self-​ improvements are regarded as the primary motives to make social comparisons (Dijkstra et al., 2008). Even basic cost–​benefit or risk analyses regarding daily decisions are centered on social comparison (Linde and Sonnemans, 2012). Garcia, Tor and Schiff (2013) assert that the main causes of the phenomena may relate to both individual and contextual factors. Individual factors include personal characteristics, the relative prominence of the performance to the agent, and the similarity or proximity of the performer with the actor. Contextual factors consist of the perceived value of being competitive, relative closeness, the number of competitors and the density of competition. Schneider and Schupp (2014) indicate that people differ in their level and frequency of making social comparisons to evaluate their life satisfaction. Social comparison has a more significant place in neurotic people’s daily lives because they are more inclined to carry out depressing upward comparisons (van der Zee, Buunk and Saderman, 1996). Giordano, Wood and Michela (2000) posit that having a dysphoric or non-​dysphoric personality may affect the frequency of social comparisons made by individuals. Another study points out that there is a continuous cyclical relationship between narcissism and frequently making a downward comparison, mainly because of the need for self-​esteem (Krizan and Bushman, 2011). Similarly, strong support has been found between a high level of intolerance of uncertainty and the need for social comparisons to maintain a personal image (Butzer and Kuiper, 2006). In another study, factors that cause social comparison are categorized as social cognition, evolutionary features, and the importance of personal and contextual differences (Buunk and Mussweiler, 2001). Based on these explanations, it can be asserted that social comparison is an inevitable part of social life, and has a profound impact on social processes in work settings, specifically in work groups and teams. We will now examine the potential detrimental impacts of social comparison processes on the interaction between the team leader and team members with a discussion of leader–​ member exchange mechanisms. Leader–​member exchange theory Leader-​ member exchange (LMX) theory simply advocates that leaders create two sets of followers in their team: an in-​group (i.e., inner circle)


Counterproductive aspects of teamwork 169 and an out-​group (i.e., outcasts). Whereas in-​group members receive more incentives, responsibility and attention, and enjoy being in the inner circle of communication, out-​group members of the same team are kept out of the leader’s inner circle, given less attention and rewards and subjected to formal rules and regulations (Lunenburg, 2010). To put it differently, leaders may divide their followers into two subgroups: one consists of center-​positioned, favored/​privileged/​high LMX members, and the other is made up of low LMX employees, who occupy periphery positions in the group (Danserau, Graen and Haga, 1975; Graen and Schiemann, 1978). The division among team members may contribute to the likelihood of counterproductivity of teamwork. Du et al. (2022) point out that social comparison can result in high levels of perceived inequity, which negatively affects team creativity in R&D departments. In their longitudinal study, Pan and his colleagues (2021) report that employees in low LMX positions tend to feel harmfully envious toward their superiors, and tend to socially undermine them. If employees perceive that they are forced to have low LMX relations and stay in insignificant positions in the teams’ social network structure, they develop malicious envy, which leads to deviant behaviors in the workplace (Sterling, 2013). For instance, they may exhibit uncivil behaviors against higher LMX coworkers (Sharma et al., 2020). On the other hand, employees with high LMX may have to face ostracism and exclusion from social groups (Wang and Li, 2018). When a specific team member is given a rewarding opportunity, such as attending a training program to develop business skills or competencies, members with low LMX perceive this as a status threat and eventually lower their performance (Zhang et al., 2020). In work settings, where the perception of inequity in the implementation of organizational policies and processes is pervasive, the existence of high LMX members eventually gives rise to hostile emotions and harmful behaviors (Tse et al., 2018). Effectively controlling the outcomes of LMX may be challenging for the leader. When a leader establishes close relationships with some of the in-​ group members, their self-​esteem and task performance levels may increase (Afshan et al., 2021). However, this favoritism leads to constant competition and adverse rivalry in the leader’s inner circle. In competitive business environments, competition may not be limited to the inner circle. In competitive work contexts, there can be a dual-​vertical undermining process between managers and coworkers not only for current ranking order but also for potential future positions in the hierarchy (Reh, Tröster and Quaquebeke, 2018). Correspondingly, one can say high LMX may simultaneously cause an inner-​circle versus outer-​circle conflict as well as inner-​circle versus inner-​ circle competition. Perception of having close ties with the leader may positively affect job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior (Hu and Liden, 2013). Nevertheless, evaluations of employees mostly rely on subjective assessments and intuitive rankings (Vidyarthi et al., 2010). Inferences about who is close to the leader and who is not can lead to confusion within the organization.


170  Meral Kızrak and Alperen Öztürk It can be foreseen that the leader will not be able to influence or control the minds of both the in-​group and the out-​group members in a desired way. If some of the in-​group members have high levels of self-​importance or self-​ worth and perceive that each in-​group member is getting the same level of attention, they will not be motivated by high quality LMX relationships (Lee et al., 2019). Having a high LMX relationship may not always be appealing as it seems from the perspective of low LMX team members. Privileged focal team member generally experiences constant self-​ threats and challenges (Marr and Thau, 2014). The long-​term impact of high LMX on individual performance may not be positive. If a high status team member somehow loses the privileged position, his or her performance may fall below those with low LMX (Marr and Thau, 2014). Social loafing Social loafing has been a focal point for managers since the emergence of group-​dependent work, and scientific studies can be traced back to the first quarter of the twentieth century (Kravitz and Martin, 1986). Regardless of its source, social loafing occurs when team members show less effort and low performance while they can exhibit more effort and higher performance working individually or coactively (Karau and Williams, 1993). Working coactively means that each team member’s performance is measured as a separate output although they still work in a team (Karau and Williams, 1993, 1995). Social loafing can take place in every form of work, task and practice (Simms and Nichols, 2014). The concept seems to be a tendency of the human mind that may occur in physical, cognitive, creative and work-​related tasks (Karau and Williams, 1995). The reasons of social loafing may stem from extrinsic factors, such as task visibility or the reputation of the profession (Byun et al., 2020), or the phenomenon may originate from personality differences (Sherif, 2022) or lack of motivation (George, 1992). People in teams may decrease their efforts due to simple cost–​benefit analysis, or they may loaf and withdraw their performances just to conform to group norms (Kidwell and Bennett, 1993). Especially in teams, there is a strong relationship between fatigue and social loafing (Orden, Gaillard and Buunk, 1998). When team members do not exhibit any kind of harmony or belonging, social loafing is almost be inevitable (Karau and Hart, 1998). Decreasing or avoiding social loafing heavily depends on leaders’ cohesion and norm building skills (Hoigaard, Safvenbom and Tonnessen, 2006). Social comparison provides significant insights into social loafing behavior of team members. Social comparison dynamics may either inhibit loafing or facilitate it. Hertel, Niemeyer and Clauss (2008) directed their lenses on inferior team members, and they concluded that inferior members are more likely to make upward comparisons and willing to increase their performance if they believe the task is meaningful and their effort can alter the total output of the team. Therefore, social comparison may function as a point of


Counterproductive aspects of teamwork 171 reference for team members and decrease social loafing only if the outcomes of the members became almost visible (Shepherd et al., 1995). Reducing social loafing depends on effective integration of both personal variables such as personal orientation to teamwork and situational factors such as task interdependency (Stark, Shaw and Duffy, 2007). Structuring the team based on personal characteristics of each employee and designing a unique working environment for the team can be a challenging task. Considering design, coordination and communication costs, some degree of social loafing may be tolerable if it will become less costly. A team designer architect should also be aware of each member’s beliefs, assumptions and inferences. In other words, management has to monitor social comparison tendencies of members in the team. Research indicates that if a team member has a big ego and his or her individual performance is indistinctive, social loafing is likely to occur (Hoigaard and Ommundsen, 2007; Huguet, Charbonnier and Monteil, 1999). Moreover, a high performing member may choose to decrease the effort not to loaf but to conform to the rest of the team (Zhu and Wang, 2019). For a team member, it is very hard to differentiate between perceived social loafing and actual social loafing (Zhu and Wang, 2019). In contemporary business environments, there is a major shift to the service industry from the manufacturing industry so, it’s very hard to come across a worker who is specialized in one job (Schettkat and Yocarini, 2006). Each day individuals have to deal with several tasks and assume responsibility for many duties, which means each employee can be a member of diverse teams. In this context, identifying who is putting their best effort into a team task or who is deliberately lowering their performance becomes critical. Contemporary technological developments and improvements seem to be a remedy for social loafing. With the help of new software and portable devices, managers can efficiently lessen or prevent social loafing. However, new improvements in computer and communication technologies may unexpectedly create an environment for social loafing to emerge (Simms and Nichols, 2014). For example, the risk of social loafing can be higher in virtual teams due to the immense number of members, long distances and the lack of emotions during communication (Chen, Zhang and Latimer, 2014). Zhang, Chen and Latimer (2011) show that one can frequently face social loafing in virtual teams as a result of subjective social comparisons. Team leaders must invest heavily in structuring the group to deter social loafing. They should explicitly avoid asynchronous work groups (Chen et al., 2014). A team leader who wants to prevent social loafing in online teams should design a meaningful task for each member, avoid large groups, increase the visibility of individual performance, and maintain a high level of interdependence between tasks (Piezon and Donalds, 2005). Some software programs have a feature to exhibit individual performance to the others in the team, which, however, may cause undesired consequences such as undermining or opposing behaviors (Cress, 2005). In online teams, especially highly dispersed and crowded ones, members are prone to social loafing because individuals


172  Meral Kızrak and Alperen Öztürk often feel less responsible for their actions (Alnuaimi, Robert and Maruping, 2010). Furthermore, implementing normative sanctions is ineffective, and communicating with artificial profiles may hinder the functioning mechanism of social facilitators (Alnuaimi, Robert and Maruping, 2010). A high-​ ranking member of the team can easily manipulate the norms and moral values of the team, which may result in low creativity, high authority, and vertical interaction (Srinivasan, Maruping and Robert, 2010). In one online team case reported by Suleiman and Watson in 2008, although researchers provided performance feedback to each member separately to reduce social loafing, there were high social loafing ratings due to the uncontrollable social comparison processes. It seems that rather than solving social loafing problems, new communication technologies create more fertile contexts to give rise to it. Counterproductive aspects of teamwork are not limited to the decreased individual performance of team members, stemming from a comparative analysis of the social reality made by team members. Team performance may also be at risk when team members collectively fall prey to groupthink tendencies and make poor decisions that may result in irreversible consequences.

Groupthink theory Teamwork shows its dark side when team members collectively make faulty, irrational or even bizarre choices during critical decision making, which may ultimately bring about devastating consequences for the team as well as the whole organizational performance. Especially teams’ consensus seeking dynamics may cause pathological group behaviors, poor decisions, flawed strategy formulation and increased capital and labor costs (Chapman, 2006; Cleary, Lees and Sayers, 2019; Riccobono, Bruccoleri and Gr€oßler, 2016; Shirey, 2012). These group dynamics that lead to disastrous decisions can be explained by groupthink theory, which has an interdisciplinary appeal in various fields of social sciences (Turner and Pratkanis, 1998b). The term groupthink was first used by William H.Whyte Jr. in his Fortune magazine article in 1952, but it is Yale psychologist Irving Janis who drew researchers’ attention to the groupthink phenomena (Macleod, 2011). Janis (1972, 1982) developed groupthink model after his qualitative analyses of historical and political fiascoes such as American invasion of Cuba, Nazi Germany, Pearl Harbor, Bay of Pigs,Vietnam War. He defined it as “a mode of thinking that people engage in when they were deeply involved in a cohesive group, when members striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraised alternative courses of action” (p.9). Following Janis, various researchers have made contributions to the original groupthink definition. For example, Ahlfinger and Esser (2001) conceptualize it as group members’ premature striving to reach a unanimous agreement on a team decision. Similarly, McCauley (1989), and Yim and Park (2021) view groupthink as premature concurrence-​seeking resulting from group members’ tendency toward collective compliance.


Counterproductive aspects of teamwork 173 Reaching a collective opinion and consensus is often desirable in teams in order to provide smooth coordination, but when consensus building efforts prevent team members from considering pros and cons of decision options, groupthink may arise (Burnette, Pollack, and Forsyth, 2011; Macleod, 2011; Riccobono, Bruccoleri and Gr€oßler, 2016). Therefore, groupthink is a situation where team members are motivated to achieve a complete agreement at the expense of a deep analysis and evaluation of solutions to a problem (Chapman, 2006; Whyte, 1998). Braun, Frey, Brodbeck, and Hentschel (2015) describe groupthink as biased information processing leading to poor decisions. They note that groupthink happens when team members fail to efficiently process relevant information with a critical judgment before a final decision is made. Fernandez (2007) writes that groupthink arises in a group culture where there are members with dominant personality traits who try to impose their values, ideas and beliefs, and denigrate the contributions of other members to developing quality team decisions. Similarly, Cleary, Lees and Sayer (2019) think that groupthink is seen because of a group culture in which dominant team members interrupt the free flow of ideas and perspectives within the team, or they exert influence on others with opposing ideas to conform with the majority’s viewpoints for the sake of the team solidarity. Groupthink concept seems to lack clear conceptualization, leading to ambiguities and elusiveness (Turner and Pratkanis, 1998b). Researchers have developed conceptual models to better understand the theory and provide solid operationalization. Extending Janis’ groupthink model in 1982 and other studies on groupthink phenomena, Neck and Moorhead (1995) proposed a comprehensive framework and specified the relationship between antecedent conditions with groupthink symptoms and moderator variables. In the following section, we present Neck and Moorhead’s (1995) groupthink typology and configuration to show how multiple mechanisms operate to develop groupthink in teams.

Antecedent conditions Type A antecedents: Decision makers constitute a cohesive group Type A involves the level of group members’ cohesion. According to Bollen and Hoyle (1990: 482) cohesion refers to “an individual’s sense of belonging to a particular group and his or her feelings of morale associated with membership in the group”. Janis (1997) theorizes that cohesive teams are likely to adopt a concurrence-​seeking tendency to maintain harmony within the team. Team solidarity is especially important when team membership provide its members with goal attainment and need satisfaction (Braun et al., 2015). In highly cohesive groups, with the increased group identification, boundaries between members’ personal sense of self (i.e., I) and collective sense of self (i.e., we) become blurry (Forsyth, 2020). In such cases team members may exhibit groupthink symptoms and make irrational choices to protect the team solidarity.


174  Meral Kızrak and Alperen Öztürk Type B1 antecedents: Structural faults of the organization The antecedents relate the insulation of the group, lack of tradition of impartial leadership, lack of norms requiring methodical procedures, homogeneity of social background and ideology. Insulation of the group: Teams being in an insular environment often leads to a loss of perspective and objectivity (Neck and Moorhead, 1995) because insular teams tend to limit their social interactions with the outside world and fail to learn outsiders’ opinions and update their existing knowledge (Yim and Park, 2021). In time the team turns into a structure whose members share similar thoughts, and who disregard any beneficial information from external sources that is contrary to their shared beliefs (Forsyth, 2020). They even may start to suspect well-​intentioned outsiders and view them as possible enemies (Shirey, 2012). Lack of tradition of impartial leadership: Impartial leaders are unbiased and unprejudiced ones who are concerned with making fair and objective decisions. However, some leaders may not overcome their personal biases when leading a team.These leaders often do not challenge their belief patterns, consider opposing perspectives, or feel unsafe when they are introduced to new information that may help solve a critical problem (Sherman, 2015). Promoting their own preferences and tendencies (Moorhead, Ference and Neck, 1991), they even may develop intolerance of opposing viewpoints and resentful feelings, which ultimately results in an organizational environment where team members become reluctant to disagree with their leaders (Whyte, 1998). Lack of norms requiring methodical procedures: Researchers agree that the lack of adequate decision-​making procedures may be one of the causes of groupthink. Specifically, the team’s collective efficacy due to repeated success in their earlier operations (Whyte, 1998) may prevent the team from methodically gathering and critically evaluating information, analyzing alternatives and applying problem-​ solving techniques (Aldag and Fuller, 1993; McCauley, 1998). Homogeneity of social background and ideology: Team members having similar race, social class, educational background or gender may also have similar viewpoints, which leads to a lack of differing perspectives that may improve the quality of the team’s decisions (Moorhead, Neck and West, 1998). This like-​mindedness may increase the possibility of high level of cohesiveness within the team, causing the members to exhibit concurrence-​ seeking behavior. Type B2 antecedents: Provocative situational context These antecedents pertain to the role of stressors, such as recent records of failure (Burnette, Pollack, and Forsyth, 2011), urgencies or moral dilemmas. Highly consequential decision: While decisions may have negative consequences for some, they may impact others positively. Such moral


Counterproductive aspects of teamwork 175 dilemmas may create stress on the part of team members especially when they have to act under unexpected and urgent situations (Neck and Moorhead, 1995). Exposed to such a stressful situation team members are likely to rely on readily available information, disregard alternatives and make poor decisions without considering possible consequences (Suedfeld, 1986). Pressures due to constraints of time:Time pressures may also contribute to groupthink. High level of stress may arise when team members are exposed to pressures from time limitations to complete a task or make a critical decision (Aldag and Fuller, 1993; Moorhead, Neck and West, 1998), which increases the likelihood of erroneous decisions (van der Vegt et al. , 2020).

Symptoms of groupthink According to the revised model proposed by Neck and Moorhead (1995) based on earlier work of Janis (1982), groupthink manifests itself with eight symptoms. Type 1 symptoms: Overestimation of group While teams contaminated by groupthink overestimate the knowledge and skills of the team, they underestimate others’ capabilities, expertise knowledge or advice, leading to illusions of invulnerability and morality. It is believed that Type B2 antecedents (provocative situational contexts) may lead to Type 1 symptoms explained below (Neck and Moorhead, 1995). Illusions of invulnerability: When a team experiences groupthink, they falsely believe that they are invulnerable and immune to failures.This illusion often results from their earlier impressive achievements (Fernandez, 2007; Henningsen et al., 2006), which creates excessive optimisms and confidence (Braun et. al.; Forsyth, 2020; Macleod, 2011). Since team members have developed a fixed mindset that what they have always done works well in each situation, they take extreme risks, ignore warning signs of danger and fail to consider other choices (Cleary, Lees and Sayers, 2019; Moorhead, Ference and Neck, 1991; Fernandez, 2007; Forsyth, 2020; Shirey, 2012;Yim and Park, 2021). Additionally, from the psychological perspective, illusions of invulnerability refer to control compensation, one of the defense mechanisms to reduce the anxiety felt in stressful contexts and to compensate with the team’s strength for their weaknesses (Chapman, 2006). Belief in the inherent morality of the group (illusions of morality): When groupthink occurs, the team has an unquestioned belief in their moral stance (Ahlfinger and Esser, 2001; Macleod, 2011). Dealing with issues, team members are certain that the decision they make is always for the good of all without taking into consideration ethical or moral consequences (Moorhead, Ference and Neck, 1991; Shirey, 2012). They adopt a psychological defense mechanism to manage possible value conflicts, failing to question the existing moral values of the team or to accept others’ worldviews on what is right and wrong (Chapman, 2006).


176  Meral Kızrak and Alperen Öztürk Type 2 symptoms Closed mindedness: Teams with groupthink shows a tendency to be closed to new points of view, different ideas or negative feedback (Braun et al., 2015). Especially in critical situations team members seek information that supports their approach to problems, and become indifferent to evidence that is inconsistent with their shared beliefs (Forsyth, 2020). Closed mindedness shows itself in collective rationalizations and stereotypes of others taking an opposite position. It is believed that Type B2 antecedents (provocative situational contexts) may lead to Type 2 symptoms explained below (Neck and Moorhead, 1995). Collective rationalizations: This is a situation in which team members collectively discredit and explain away warning signs or negative feedback that is contrary to their belief systems, because otherwise they will have to reconsider their previous position (Ahlfinger and Esser, 2001; Ahlstrom Wang, 2009; Cleary, Lees and Sayers, 2019; Macleod, 2011; Shirey, 2012;). Team members construct their rationalization and convince themselves by relying on their past record of success or manipulating facts for their own agenda (Chapman, 2006; Moorhead, Ference and Neck, 1991). Stereotypes of out-​groups: This groupthink symptom involves having negative attitudes toward others that, physically or cognitively, do not belong to the team. Team members develop negative and faulty generalizations about the out-​group members, and stereotype them as weak or ignorant (Ahlfinger and Esser, 2001; Cleary, Lees and Sayers, 2019). They view their perspectives as useless and unworthy of consideration (Moorhead, Ference and Neck, 1991).These cognitive shortcuts help the team reduce uncertainty and handle complex issues (Neck and Moorhead, 1995), as well as attribute the team’s own weaknesses to the opposing sides (Chapman, 2006). Type 3 symptoms Pressures toward uniformity: Team members collectively or individually put pressure on the team to take a particular standpoint on an issue to maintain solidarity and harmony. Team members are discouraged to break team norms (Forsyth, 2020) or oppose the majority viewpoints (Cleary, Lees and Sayers, 2019; Macleod, 2011). Teams generate uniformity pressures through self-​censorship, illusion of unanimity, direct pressure of dissenters and self-​ appointed mindguards. It is believed that Type A, B1 and B2 antecedents (cohesive group, structural faults of the organization and provocative situational context) may result in Type 3 symptoms explained below (Neck and Moorhead, 1995). Self-​ censorship: Self-​ censorship happens when several team members censor their doubts about the majority’s decision or do not express their disagreement with the team’s position (Ahlfinger and Esser, 2001; Macleod, 2011; Shirey, 2012). They remain silent and withhold information that may be critical to the team’s performance, believing that presenting arguments


Counterproductive aspects of teamwork 177 that may challenge the team consensus may cause them to be seen as deviant (Forsyth, 2020). Despite the silence, these members often show their reservations and concerns via some nonverbal signals, such as frowns or tense movements and posture (Riccobono, Bruccoleri and Gr€oßler, 2016). Illusion of unanimity: Team leader or the majority falsely believe that every member of the team is in agreement because no one speaks out. In other words, the silence is attributed to team members’ agreement (Macleod, 2011; Moorhead, Ference and Neck, 1991; Riccobono, Bruccoleri and Gr€oßler, 2016). Team members assume that the majority’s stance is unanimous and accepted by all without any objection (Shirey, 2012). They are interested more in group consent than divergent opinions that may force the group to reconsider the perceived unanimity (Moorhead, Ference and Neck, 1991). Direct pressure of dissenters: In teams contaminated by groupthink, the team leader and several group members may apply direct pressure on anyone who intends to express their discontent so that they should not harm the team’s uniformity (Ahlfinger and Esser, 2001; Riccobono, Bruccoleri and Gr€oßler, 2016).Therefore, silenced team members become reluctant to pose questions or provide arguments against a given decision (Moorhead, Ference and Neck, 1991). The pressure to hold back contradictory opinions about the team consensus is created by the team norm that encourages agreement and punishes dissenters (Ahlstrom and Wang, 2009).This is a form of defense mechanism the team employs to eliminate any alternative ideas that may challenge the status quo (Chapman, 2006). Self-​appointed mindguards: When groupthink occurs, one or two group members may take on the role of guarding the minds of the others in the team (Moorhead, Ference and Neck, 1991; Shirey, 2012). These members attempt to protect the team or the leader from any information contradictory to the team’s shared ideas and decisions (Henningsen et al., 2006). They may also try to shield the team from threats that may weaken the members’ confidence in their decisions (Ahlfinger and Esser, 2001; Macleod, 2011).

Moderator variables Neck and Moorhead’s (1995) enhanced groupthink model also provides the role of contexts that explain under which conditions groupthink antecedents may or may not cause groupthink symptoms. Accordingly, closed leadership behaviors and methodical decision-​making procedures are proposed to have a moderating effect on the groupthink phenomena. Methodical decision-​makingp: If a team specifies how to make objective and evidence-​ based decisions, and establishes a decision-​ making system that is based on structured discussions, open-​ mindedness, and thorough investigations of facts and events, it is highly unlikely that team members will seek total uniformity within the team (Neck and Moorhead, 1995). Therefore, according to Neck and Moorhead’s model, teams with a high level of Type A, B1 and B2 antecedents may not experience Type 3 symptoms


178  Meral Kızrak and Alperen Öztürk when they use methodical decision-​ making procedures. Moreover, the researchers expect that a high level of Type B2 antecedents will cause Type 1 and 2 symptoms of groupthink when the team does not implement methodical decision-​making procedures. Closed leadership behaviors: According to Neck and Moorhead (1995), closed leaders are the ones who engage in behaviors that prevent the team members from actively participating in meetings, and who express their positions right at the beginning of discussions. They do not promote an environment in which all team members are welcome to express their disagreements, nor do they prioritize making sound decisions for both the team and the organization. In this sense, Neck and Moorhead (1995) think that teams with a high level of Type A, B1 and B2 antecedent conditions are expected to show Type 3 symptoms of groupthink when they have closed leaders. Similarly, teams having a high level of B2 antecedent conditions may have Type 1 and 2 groupthink symptoms when their leaders exhibit closed leadership behaviors. Social identity maintenance approach to groupthink Turner and Pratkanis (1998b) contributed groupthink theory by providing explanations in the framework of their social identity maintenance (SIM) model based on social identity theory and self-​categorization theory. Turner and Pratkanis (1998a) suggest that groupthink is the outcome of the team members’ motivation to protect and enhance the shared positive view of their team. According to these scholars, members of a highly cohesive team define their own identities in relation to their group membership; therefore, when there is a threat to the qualities of their team, such as its norms, beliefs, values or decisions, team members develop a concurrence-​seeking tendency to protect their social identity, which ultimately leads to the groupthink phenomena. Groupthink resulting from the motivation to protect and maintain the ­possible image of their social identity, is also associated with self-​categorization, which stems from team members’ need for collective self-​esteem (Turner and Pratkanis, 1998a). Accordingly, groupthink happens because members of a highly cohesive team categorize themselves as “us/​ in-​ group”, and thus, they have the desire to view themselves as different from “them/​out-​ group” (Turner, 1981). In case of a social identity threat, team members’ main concern is to protect their distinctiveness at the expense of a rational understanding of reality. How to prevent groupthink Group decision-​making is likely to be faulty when the majority or all the signs of groupthink are present. Researchers (e.g., Janis, 1972; Turner et al., 1992; Shirey, 2012) outlined seven signs of the flawed decision-​making


Counterproductive aspects of teamwork 179 process that might result from groupthink: (1) incomplete analysis of the options, (2) insufficient analysis of the goals, (3) lack of risk analysis of the recommended course of action, (4) failure to reconsider previously rejected 6 options, (5) inadequate information search, (6) selective bias while processing the information available, (7) failing to establish contingencies in place. Therefore, when there is groupthink, incorrect assumptions result in poor judgment, which then results in the formulation of faulty strategies and the implementation of potentially harmful organizational change (Turner et al., 1992). Braun et al. (2015) list groupthink prevention and intervention techniques based on empirical research in the literature. Accordingly, the effects of groupthink are minimized if (1) the group leader functions as an unbiased coordinator, (2) self-​assured minority members are encouraged to speak openly, (3) the opinions of outside experts are included in the group decision, (4) the group decision process is artificially conflicted (e.g., using devil’s advocacy or dialectical inquiry techniques), (5) each group member is kept individually accountable for the decision process and its outcome and (6) various subgroups are formed to facilitate independent decision-​making. Shirey (2012) suggests four main groupthink prevention strategies; namely, group formation strategies, organizational-​structural strategies, provocative situational context strategies, time limitation strategies. Group formation strategies involve promoting group member diversity and choosing the right team members using member vetting procedures. This strategy may also minimize the damage caused by high team cohesiveness (Cleary, Lees and Sayers, 2019). The organizational–​structural strategies in Shirey’s categorization (2012) include putting standards and processes in place to guide group activity while retaining certain checks and balances. Another strategy to be used to address organizational structural flaws may be to use external subject specialists who can offer new information, a different viewpoint and opposing ideas to simulate alternative scenarios. The organizational–​structural strategies also involve rewarding group members to pose challenging questions. Thirdly, including independent thinkers in the group may prevent groupthink. Such accountable and strong people are more likely to resist internal and external pressures to make ethical decisions because they are aware of their responsibility to the group and their decision-​making duties. As for the group strategies, developing group processes, thorough reflection and meticulous decision-​making should all be given enough time. In order to make sure that the final choice is the best one feasible, time limitation strategies also call for considering second-​chance meetings and revisiting potential alternative solutions. Burnette, Pollack and Forsyth (2011) emphasize the significance of leadership style to avoid groupthink. From their point of view leaders may discourage open discussion if they adopt directive styles. Rather, they should use a leadership style that encourages member participation and involvement, and inclusiveness, allowing all team members to openly express their views.


180  Meral Kızrak and Alperen Öztürk Empirical and experimental research on groupthink Despite groupthink’s enormous appeal and significant influence in organizational life, the evidence for groupthink received from empirical research or experimental investigations is weak or inconsistent. More research studies are needed for conclusive findings, but, according to Turner and Pratkanis (1998b), conducting group research is extremely challenging. From their point of view, the groupthink model makes matters worse because it uses a lot of independent and dependent variables, and because its theoretical explanations are often ambiguous.The number of variables increases the power needed for controlled experimental study and creates coding challenges for archival case research. Despite these difficulties, the following research studies have been carried out to understand the nature of groupthink phenomena. Riccobono, Bruccoleri and Gr€oßler (2016) focused on the influence of interpersonal relationships and personality traits in reducing the detrimental effects of groupthink on project performance. Their findings corroborate the body of literature on groupthink by demonstrating that groupthink’s tendency to seek consensus during group decision-​making negatively affects project outcomes. Additionally, they discovered that the detrimental effects of groupthink on project performance are mitigated by high levels of perceived control, conscientiousness and, to a lesser extent, interpersonal evaluation among group members. On the other hand, gathering group members who are overconfident and have a high level of prior relationships amplifies the detrimental effect. Callaway and Esser (1984) hypothesized that group cohesiveness and the presence or lack of formal decision-​making processes are the key indicators of groupthink, and that this leads to poorer decision-​ making when groupthink is present. Their research offered mixed support for groupthink: (1) decisions of the highest quality were made by groups with a medium level of cohesiveness, (2) the worst decisions were typically made by highly cohesive groups without sufficient decision-​making processes, and (3) lack of disagreement and a high level of confidence in the group’s decisions were indicators of groupthink. In their study, Callaway, Marriott and Esser (1985) examined how task structure (decision-​making procedures), and an individual variable (dominance) influence the effectiveness of group decision-​making, anxiety,and groupthink symptoms. Their findings showed that groups with members who were extremely dominant produced better decisions, displayed reduced anxiety levels and took more time to decide. Additionally, they tended to express disagreement and agreement more often, and procedures for making decisions had a minimal impact. Kroon, Hart and van Kreveld’s study (1991) investigated how different accountability structures (i.e., individual and collective accountability) affect the emergence of groupthink. The findings showed that individual accountability was more effective than collective accountability at reducing groupthink tendencies in situations when collective avoidance is more likely to occur. Nevertheless, group members who know that they will be accountable collectively still showed less groupthink


Counterproductive aspects of teamwork 181 symptoms than control groups. Accountability encouraged group members to try to influence the decision-​making process, which resulted in a more equal distribution of influence within the group and less risky decisions. Accountability caused groups to demonstrate greater difficulty in reaching consensus. Laboratory studies also offer interesting findings about groupthink. Fodor and Smith (1982) conducted an experiment with college students to examine the effect of the group leader’s power motive and the group’s cohesiveness on the quality of group decision making. They found that groups with a leader having lower power motivation participated in group discussion with more factual information, and produced more ideas for action, compared to groups led by a leader with high power motivation.The experiment also showed that group cohesion had little impact on how well decisions were made. Turner et al. (1992) conducted experiments to explore the effects of a threat to a group’s members’ self-​esteem in decision quality, with a cohesion manipulation using the perspectives of social identity and self-​categorization. Their results showed that groupthink and poor decision-​ making symptoms were influenced by group cohesion and threat.The results also indicated that groupthink behavior is a collective effort made to counteract any potential criticism toward the group and to maintain the group’s positive social identity. According to the results of a longitudinal controlled field experiment conducted by Riccobono, Bruccoleri and Gr€oßler (2016), groupthink concurrence-​seeking behavior negatively affected teams’ project performance. Their study also revealed that team members’ perception of control, conscientiousness and interpersonal evaluation reduced the detrimental effects of concurrence-​seeking behavior. Their confidence and prior relationships enhance this negative outcome, even though they directly improve performance. In Leana’s (1985) experimental study, it was reported that fewer solutions were proposed and considered in groups with directive leaders, but more information was communicated by high-​cohesion groups than low-​ cohesion ones. Ahlfinger and Esser’s (2001) laboratory study revealed that in comparison to groups with nonpromotional leaders, groups with promotional leaders (i.e., leaders promoting their favored solutions) exhibited more groupthink symptoms, talked about less factual information and, as expected, made decisions more quickly.

Concluding remarks In this chapter we do not claim that group work is an inefficient method to complete a task, nor will it certainly lead to high levels of social loafing or frequent groupthink behavior. In every organization teamwork is one of the popular management practices that results in not only increased outputs, but also social satisfaction and individual rewards. Therefore, we support effective and efficient use of teamwork and believe that managers or researchers shouldn’t simply disregard the negative and counterproductive aspects of teamwork.The relationship between positive outcomes and group


182  Meral Kızrak and Alperen Öztürk work shouldn’t be conceptualized as a taken for granted phenomenon. For many years, managers tried to form workgroups overly to complete any task without hesitation and they regarded the relationship between positive outcomes and group work as an ideology (Sinclair, 1992). The practice of allocating employees to various groups can damage each employee’s sense of self and may cause hostility toward upper management (Ezzamel and Willmott, 1998). It can be argued that one of the most fundamental qualities of a manager is, without being blinded by the romance of teams, knowing when group work is certainly a necessity to achieve a specific task (Allen and Hecht, 2004).

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Note: Page locators in bold represents tables. Adams, Andrea 20 affective conflict 39, 41; dysfunctional effects of 40 African Development Bank 108 Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (USA) 90 aggression, acts of 25 alienated labor 144 alienation: affects on organization 150; anomie and reification 147; causes of 150–​2; concept of 140–​1, 143, 147; definitions of 148, 149; in Durkheim sociology 147; effects of 152; employee alienation at work, issue of 139; Feuerbach’s theory of 140; history and evolution of 139–​44; Marcuse’s theory of 142; Marxist theory of 140, 142, 150; occupational 155–​6; operationalization of 144–​7; organizational 153–​5; physiological and psychological health problems related to 150; problem of 143; psychological and social 151; relationship with other organizational behavior variables 148; role as a mediator or moderator 148; at work 148–​53; work alienation scales 152–​3; working conditions causing 151–​2 alienation management 155 altruistic intention 126 American Dream 101 Andrea Adams Trust 20 anomie, concept of 147 antecedents, in groupthink: Type A 173; Type B1 174; Type B2 174–​5 anti-​burnout strategies 62–​4 anti-​nepotism policies 2, 7, 13 anxiety disorder 29, 60 applicant pool 14–​15

assault behaviors, classification of 23 attraction-​selection-​attrition (ASA) framework 6 baby boomers 62 blind economic powers 142 board seats, held by women globally 100 bullying 20, 77; acts of physical attack and threat 23; concept of 85; defined 23; versus harassment 85; mobbing and 23 Bullying at Work (1992) 20 burnout syndrome 53, 155, 157; anti-​burnout strategies 62–​4; Cherniss’ theory of 57–​8; conservation of resources model 56; defined 53–​5; as a driver of adversities in daily work life 62; Golembiewski’s theory of 58; job demands–​resources model 56–​7; Leiter’s process theory of 58–​9; perspectives of 59–​62; problem-​focused coping 62; significance of 65; theoretical bases of 55–​9; work-​life model of 57 capitalism 140 Chishol, Shirley 107 Civil Rights Act of 1964 (USA) 90 cognitive social hierarchy 167 collectivism, idea of 4 Columbia Space Shuttle disaster (2003) 121–​2 commodification of labor 144 communication channel 42 communication skills 46, 64, 90; training 64 communication technologies 171–​2 company’s sameness over life, rise in 6 complaint-​handling mechanisms 154 conflict: concept of 24; management of 37, 39, 41–​3, 46–​8, 155


Index 191 consumer identities 142 cooperative conflict resolution behavior 42 coping with mobbing: as an individual 31–​2; as an organization 32–​3 corporate culture, against gender discrimination 110 corporate power 25 cost–​benefit analysis 170 counterproductive work behavior 148 cultural identification, regarding nepotism 4 cyber abuse 86 cyberbullying 86 cyber harassment 86–​7 cyberstalking 86 decision makers, in cohesive group 173 decision-​making 8–​9, 33, 112, 122, 151, 155, 174, 179; quality of 131; role of effective communication in supporting 45 Decree on Prevention of Violence and Threat in the Workplace (1993) 90 Decree on Victim in the Workplace (1993) 90 defensive silence 126 Deloitte Global 99 depression 20, 27, 29, 60, 62, 79 deviant silence 125 diffident silence 126 Disabled Americans Act of 1990 (USA) 90 disagreement 24–​5, 33, 36, 38–​41, 84, 176, 178, 180 Discrimination Act of 2008 (USA) 90 disengaged silence 126 division of labor 140–​1, 143–​4, 148, 151, 155 domestic partners 1 drug addictiveness 152 Durkheim, Emile 141 Durkheim sociology 147 dysfunctional conflict: definitions of 36; due to lack of communication quality 44; five stages of 42; minimizing outcomes of 41–​7; “one best” approach in management of 43; origin of 38–​41; outcomes of 40; paradoxical effects of 39; between partners 45; trust-​based versus bureaucratic 41; “win some, lose some” strategy 43 East Asian economies, growth of 100 emotional abuse 78, 129

emotional detachment 58 emotional exhaustion 54–​9 emotional intelligence 46, 59, 61, 63, 110 emotional labor 59 employee: alienation at work, issue of 139; burnout 53, 56, 58–​62, 65, 131; complaints/​grievances 154; disengagement, concept of 126; dissatisfaction 123–​4; efficiency and effectiveness of 153 Employee Support Advisor 92 equality, principle of 8 Equal Treatment Act of 2006 (Germany) 90 estrangement from the profession, problem of 156 ethical leadership 128 evolutionary psychology 167 Exit-​Voice-​Loyalty model of dissatisfaction 123–​4 exporter–​importer relationship 45 expulsion from job 25 Facebook 167 familial factors, in nepotism: degree of kinship 11; expectations of the nepotee 6–​7; family goals and values 9; finances and socioeconomic status 9–​10; generational status 10–​11; inheritance 8; position in organization 7; positive/​ negative situations 8–​9 family and corporate dynasties 2 family goals and values 9 family heritage, ideologies of 7 family-​owned business 8, 10–​11; decision model 8; definition of 15; family ownership 14; impact of nepotism on 3, 14; versus nonfamily-​owned businesses 15 female high achievers 101 feminine leadership, traits of 113 Fortune 500 companies 99; 2005 Catalyst Census of Women Board Directors of 104 Fortune magazine 172 Fromm, Eric 142–​4 gender-​based discrimination 101, 114 gender equality 99–​100, 108–​10, 113–​14 gender gap, in boardrooms 99 gender inequality 110; detrimental effects of 113 gender stereotypes: in leadership positions and tokenism 101; in South Korean society 100


192 Index glass ceiling: in the 21st century 107–​10; and balancing multiple roles 112; barriers to 101–​7; board seats, held by women globally 100; concept of 97–​9; corporate culture and 110–​12; defined 99; global perception of 99–​101; leadership development and 112–​13; method to shatter 110–​14; political changes 113–​14; prevalence of 105; working of 107 Glass Ceiling Act 98 Glass Ceiling Commission 98 group formation, strategies for 179 groupthink 172–​3; antecedent conditions 173–​5; approach for prevention of 178–​9; closed leadership behaviors 178; closed mindedness in 176; collective rationalizations 176; decision-​making system in 177; direct pressure of dissenters 177; effectiveness of 180; empirical and experimental research on 180–​1; illusion of unanimity 177; illusions of invulnerability 175; illusions of morality 175; key indicators of 180; mindguards, self-​appointed 177; moderator variables in 177–​81; overestimation of group 175; pressures toward uniformity 176; prevention and intervention techniques 179; self-​censorship 176–​7; significance of leadership style to avoid 179; social identity maintenance approach to 178; stereotypes of out-​g roups 176; symptoms of 175–​7 hate speech 77 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich 139–​40, 144 high-​performance work systems 64 high-​stress work environment 28 Hirschman, Albert. O. 123–​4 horizontal organizations 28 human consciousness 142 human resource (HR) policies 13, 91, 101 impartial leadership 174 inappropriate practices, at workplace 28 inclusive fitness, concept of 11 in-​depth counselling 92 individual factors, in nepotism 2–​6; cultural values 4; experience and education 2–​3; gender 6; intentions 4–​5; personality 3–​4; personal objectives 5 individualism, idea of 4

individual’s sense of belonging 173 ineffectual silence 126 injustice–​silence relationship 124 interdepartmental conflict 43 intergroup conflicts 38, 43 International Labor Organization (ILO) 21 interpersonal conflict 38, 43, 44 interpersonal relationships 80, 82, 128, 152, 180 intragroup conflict 38–​9 intra-​organizational conflict 38 invulnerability, illusions of 175 isolation, concept of 146 Janis, Irving 172–​3, 175 job dissatisfaction 61–​2, 124, 150, 152–​3, 155 job experience and training 3 job identity 151 job opportunities for women 105 job performance 5, 60, 129, 150 job quality 88, 132 job satisfaction 20, 124, 132, 155, 169; impact of mobbing on 129; for men at their workplace 86; silence related to 124 job security 9, 56, 151 job uncertainty 80 kin selection, concept of 11 kinship, degree of 11 labeling, process of 25 labor market, discrimination of women in 106 Law on Protection from Workplace Violence, Psychological Harassment and Sexual Harassment (Belgium, 2002) 91 Law on the Welfare of Employees in the Work of 1996 (Belgium) 91 leader-​member exchange (LMX) theory 167, 168–​70; impact on individual performance 170 Leymann, Heinz 20–​1, 23, 25–​7, 76–​8, 80, 82–​5, 129 life satisfaction 79, 168 Lorenz, Konrad 20 male-​led organizations 105 man’s self-​destruction 140 Marcuse, Herbert 139, 142 Marxian alienation 140 Marx, Karl 139–​44, 150


Index 193 Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) 55, 58 mass media 92, 142, 151 mathematical modelling, to study effectiveness of teamwork 166 Men and Women of the Corporation (1977) 107 Mills, C. Wright 143 mindfulness training 64 mindguards, self-​appointed 177 Missing Pieces Report 99 mobbers: characteristics of 26–​7; narcissist personality 27; psychological state of 26 mobbing 78; association with organizational culture and structure 28; and bullying 23; causes of 26–​8; concept of 20–​1; and conflict 24; consequences of 28–​31; coping with see coping with mobbing; costs of 30, 31; defined 21, 22, 23; effective way of resisting 32; effects at societal and national level 31; impact on job performance/​job satisfaction 129; impact on mental health of an individual 23; impact on self-​esteem of employees 21; list of things experienced by victims during 27; main targets of 27–​8; organization, effects on 29; preventive measures against 24; process of 24–​5; recommendations to the victims of 31; and sexual harassment 24; stages of 25; victim, effects on 29; victim’s personality traits 27–​8; and violence 21–​3 mobile vulgus, meaning of 21 modern society, development of 141 monotony, at a workplace 28 Moorhead, G. 177–​8 morality, illusions of 175 motherhood penalty 99 Neck, C. P 177–​8 nepotee, selection of 13 nepotism: benefits of 2, 14; concept of 1–​2; contemporary 2–​3; domestic partners 1; experience and education 2–​3; extension and acceptance of 2; familial factors in see familial factors, in nepotism; and family business 3; individual factors in see individual factors, in nepotism; as methods of obtaining employment 5; moral and legal implications of 1; opportunistic 4; organizational factors in see organizational factors in, nepotism; preferential treatment 1; risk of 14;

self-​determined 3–​4; traditional 3; as unethical act 2 “no news is good news” 123 nonfamily-​owned businesses 12; family-​owned versus 15 non-​nepotist companies 12 nonprofit organizations 28 “not conveying the bad news”, culture of 122 obscene e-​mails 86 occupational alienation 145, 155–​6 occupational productivity 155 Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (USA) 90 “old-​boy” networks 105 on-​the-​job-​training 99 organizational alienation 153–​5 organizational barriers, to advancement in women’s career 104–​6 organizational behavior 123, 130, 139, 147, 148, 156–​7 organizational citizenship behavior 169 organizational climate 81–​3, 87, 127, 148, 155–​6 Organizational Codes of Acceptable Behavior 89 organizational communication 121, 133 organizational conflict 47, 157; process of managing 41 organizational cynicism 130, 148, 157 organizational development 130–​1 organizational discrimination 97 organizational effectiveness 37, 43, 44 organizational efficiency 102 organizational factors in, nepotism: applicant pool 14–​15; available opportunities 13–​14; company age 14; company goals and values 12–​13; company size 14; family-​owned versus nonfamily-​owned businesses 15; HR selection policies 13; positive/​negative situations 12 organizational identification 126 organizational identity 150, 153 organizational injustice 124 organizational intrapreneurship 111 organizational learning 38, 130–​2, 166 organizational mentoring programs 110 organizational productivity, definition of 130 organizational psychology 76 organizational (employee) silence: antecedents of 126–​9; concept of 122–​3, 125; consequences of 129–​32;


194 Index defined 121; development of 133; evolution of 123–​5; Exit-​Voice-​ Loyalty model of dissatisfaction 123–​4; factors affecting 129; forms of 121, 125; future research on 132–​3; Hirschman’s model of 123–​4; impact of organizational culture on 127; outcomes of 130, 132; related to job dissatisfaction 124; relationship with organizational commitment 131; as social phenomenon 122; as threat to employees’ psychological wellbeing 132; types of 125–​6 organizational stimulation 57 organizational trust, concept of 128 organizational voice 122–​3, 130 organization-​based psychological ownership 126 partnerships, deterioration of 46 personal development 167 personal/​individual barriers, to advancement in women’s career 106–​7 perspectives of burnout syndrome: contextual/​organizational perspective 60–​1; individual perspective 59–​60; regulatory perspective 61–​2 problem-​solving 43, 45, 58, 154, 174 process mobbing 24–​5 professional development 149 professional identity development training 64 psychical terror 78 psychodrama-​based psychological empowerment training 64 psychological adjustment training 64 psychological contract breach 157 psychological distress 60 psychological empowerment 64, 133 psychological harassment: anti-​harassment policies 89; versus bullying 85; causes of 79–​81; concept of 76; cyber harassment 86–​7; definition of 78–​9; difference with workplace violence 79; directed at subordinates 77; due to modernization and change in working life 82–​3; due to personal factors 79; economic costs of 88; impact on organizations 87–​8; influence of organizational culture/​climate on 81–​3; legislation on 90–​1; models of 84–​5; nature of 77; non-​measured violence and 84; organizational policies and codes of practice dealing with 89; organizational responses to 88–​90; organizational

structure as cause of 80–​1; people involved in 83–​4; prevalence rates of 76–​7; risk of escalation in 89; role of the victim’s personality characteristics on 83; versus sexual harassment 85–​6; social costs of 88; social values, norms, and modernization 81–​2; by stalking (abusive behavior) 86; work environment causing 80 psychological intimidation 86 psychological pressuring 32 psychological safety of employees 129 psychological violence 21, 23, 24, 79, 83 psychological well-​beings 86, 167 psychosocial interventions training 64 psychosomatic disorders 20, 25 psychosomatic illnesses 157 public management 166 Queen-​Bee Syndrome 101, 104, 106 racial disharmony 38 relational mutuality 42 relational silence 125–​6 resiliency and stress management training 64 restructuring of an organization 28 rowdyism, among children 20 Safe Zone 32 Seeman, Melvin 144–​7, 156 self-​awareness 155 self-​confidence 27, 31–​2, 126, 130 self-​determination, principle of 3–​5, 64, 141 self-​esteem 21, 27, 32, 56, 59, 126, 167–​9, 178, 181–​2 self-​estrangement 144, 146 self-​image, evaluation of 167 self-​management 155 Senate Concurrent Resolution 62 (SCR-​62) 109 service industries, rise of 143 sexual harassment 24, 38, 78; defined 85; versus psychological harassment 85–​6; at work 85 “shadow of the past” 41 Shepard, Jon M. 144, 146 silence behavior 121, 123, 127–​9 Simmel, Georg 139, 142–​3 social capital 64, 113 social cognition 168 social comparison theory 166, 167–​72, 170, 172


Index 195 social identity maintenance (SIM): approach to groupthink 178; for protection of social identity 178 social isolation 145–​6, 148 social loafing: concept of 167; reasons of 170; remedy for 171; risk of 171; in teamwork 170–​2 social media 77, 86–​7, 148 Social Modernization Law of 1992 (France) 91 social psychology, principle of 15 social reality 168, 172 social status, concept of 9 social stratification 155 societal barriers, to advancement in women’s career 102–​4 software development 166 stalking (abusive behavior), psychological harassment by 86 stress management 155 structural faults, of the organization 174 structural organizational deviance 124 substantive conflicts 41; conflict management strategies of 41 supervisor–​subordinate relation 76 task conflict 39, 44; effects of 40 task interdependency 171 task performance 169 task-​related conflicts 39 team leader 132, 167–​8, 171, 177 team performance 40, 80, 172 team solidarity, protection of 173 teamwork: antecedent conditions 173–​5; counterproductivity of 169; dual-​vertical undermining process between managers and coworkers 169; effectiveness of 166; groupthink theory 172–​3; homogeneity of social background and ideology 174; inner-​ circle versus inner-​circle competition 169; inner-​circle versus outer-​circle conflict 169; leader-​member exchange (LMX) theory 168–​70; mathematical modelling to study relation with organizational performance 166; pressure to hold back contradictory opinions about 177; provocative situational context of 174–​5; social comparison theory of 166, 167–​72;

social interactions 174; social loafing 170–​2 technological developments 142, 171 think manager-​think male, concept of 108 tokenism, concept of 103–​4 transformational leadership 64 unanimity, illusion of 177 United Nations (UN) 76 value conflicts 57, 175 verbal abuse 36 vertical organizations 80 violence: concept of 21; and mobbing 21–​3; perception in the society 22; physical 23; psychological 23, 24; at work 23 “Violence at Work” report (1998) 21 voice, concept of 125 Volkswagen Company case 122 Waggeh, Nafei 133 Wall Street Journal 98 well-​being, sense of 167 white-​collar employees 143 Whyte, William H., Jr. 172 women’s career, organizational barriers to 101 women’s occupational mobility 105 women’s promotion, to higher level positions 98 women’s work–​lifestyle preferences 106 Work Alienation Scale 152–​3, 156 workforce, women’s participation in 108 work harassment 78 Working Environment Law 90 work-​life balance policies 110 work-​life model, of burnout process 57 work-​life quality 153 workplace: abuse 78; dissatisfaction 157; harassment, prevalence of 76; stressors 54, 58–​9, 62 Workplace Organization Law of 2001 (Germany) 90 work-​related interactions 148 work satisfaction 148 World Health Organization (WHO) 21; Mental Health Conference (2005) 82 yoga intervention 64