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Abused employees often stay silent about treatment

world Updated: Jan 06, 2012 00:22 IST

Employees are often unable to cope with stress of abusive treatment at work, as they tend to keep mum and avoid confronting their boss about their obnoxious conduct, a new study has revealed.

A study from the University of Haifa stated that employees coping with the stress of abusive treatment prefer to avoid direct communication even though it would be the most effective tactic in terms of emotional wellbeing.

“Abusive supervision is highly distressing for employees. Our study shows that the strategies being used by employees to cope with the stress caused by such behavior do not lead to the most positive outcomes,” said Prof. Dana Yagil, who headed the study.

The study examined five types of strategies used for coping with the stress factor of abusive treatment: directly communicating with the abusive supervisor to discuss the problems; using forms of ingratiation — i.e., doing favours, using flattery and compliance; seeking support from others; avoiding contact with the supervisor; and what is known as “reframing” — mentally restructuring the abuse in a way that decreases its threat.