Counter Productive Work Behaviour - Workplace Politics

What are Workplace Counterproductive Work Behaviour?

Counterproductive Work Behaviors (CWBs) are intentional acts done by individuals with carelessness and indifferences. Few acts such as the not capable of completing a task successfully or getting involved in accidents are not involved in CWBs. However, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reckons that losses of worth $145 million per year due to accidents are faced by companies.

Even though all the top organizations offer high standards in safety for their employees, still there has been considerate increase in accident-related incidents in recent past. Most of the employees are young, and less socially adjusted to their co-workers and workplace.

Employees who face abuse from their supervisors, few of them will directly reciprocate or leave the job as they fear being out from a job in present day but in reality they counter strike their employer by following counterproductive work behaviors. These employees can abuse supplies and services, quality of working time, production and quality of their output as employees control many of the organization’s resources.

In bad scenario, the workplace experiences ignite the worker to act by his indifferent attitude towards feedback and lax productivity and slackened working speed. Any employee will become less productive when not satisfied with the situations he is working in.

Below factors influence the Counter-productive Work Behavior (CWB) −

Informal Organizational Hierarchies

Multiple factors such as company goals, size of the company, number of resources, and the type of leader decides the informal hierarchies of the workforce. With the different job roles and authority being introduced in the organization, this hierarchy keeps changing. People understand who the boss is and whom to depend on for information and the office gossip. People who find themselve not fitting into this casual or not formal organizational model might end up exhibiting counter-productive behavior.

Office Gossip

Office Gossip

This is used as a tool of having the control over the conversation and extracting information through a mutual information sharing. People involved in gossip hope for a 50-50 chance of getting genuine information from the person who gossiped. This creates a sense of hostile environment where there is no longer trust between them. The person on whom the gossip goes against will reduce his work efficiency.

Personal Aims

People always not practice Office Politics having promotion as their motive, they just simply wants a greater influence or power. Most of them are people with low self-esteem which makes them to indulge in office politics to earn respect. They fear the competition with their colleagues and plot traps to get their competition out of race.

Experts say that Office Politics is not at all a bad thing to do. A team manager who feels deserving use skillful manipulation will turn a decision to his favor and might get a promotion as well as a stable project to his team. In such cases, working with the people whom he trusts will make his personal motive an advantage to others and for any wrongdoing they won’t ever accuse him.

Mind Games

To keep the organization motivated and preventing people from negative feedback, mind games are necessary. Mind games are not all bad; some bring out the truth from employees. When employees face “No Bad News", they diminish the information which might result negative reaction from their manager, bringing the time into consideration.

Even then, considering the usage of Mind Games in Leadership is bad. Managers and supervisors when engaging in such a game of "Divide and Conquer” puts the employees against each other such that they do not unite and threaten his stance someday.


Cronyism is termed after the act of showing favoritism to long-standing friends, and not giving them corrective feedback, or by ignoring their mistakes,for putting them in higher positions of authority even though they are less qualified.

  • CWB behavior rises at these places where cronyism is practiced mostly observed among those deserving employees who feel shortchanged and cheated.
  • Organizational Politics is unavoidable when working in an organization full of ambitious people having different thought processes and priorities in life.
  • They have to learn to take this in their stride and cannot be overwhelmed in the face of these oppositions. This doesn’t mean that they have to exhibit office politics but they have to treat Office Politics as the norm rather than the exception.

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