Over many years, employee entitlement and associated corporate loyalty has gone the way of the free lunch-there just isn't such a thing.

Researchers may question why the insurance industry and corporate America in general is morphing into a culture that tends to focus less on rewarding employee performance and more on the scramble-and great expense-to replace talent that has adopted job-hopping as its recourse.

Exacerbating the loss of talent is hostility in the workplace. Workplace hostility has grown to unprecedented levels, but not for obvious reasons such as the taxing burden placed on workers left behind. Florida State University researchers say it's due to a basic deterioration of supervisor-subordinate trust.

Wayne Hochwarter, the Jim Moran Professor of Business Administration at Florida State's College of Business, and research associate Christian Ponder asked more than 750 mid-level employees, including 100 working in financial services, to report how often they personally experienced their direct supervisor's "Seven Deadly Sins" at work. These untoward behaviors-wrath/anger, greed, laziness/sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony-have a history dating back to early Christian times when they were used to educate and instruct followers concerning faltering human nature. And although their use in this example may conger up a question or two about qualitative research bias, the results of the research are nonetheless stunning:

* 26% of employees said their boss frequently has trouble managing his or her anger (wrath)

* 27% of employees said their boss vigorously pursues undeserved rewards (greed)

* 41% of employees said their boss habitually pushes work on to others rather than doing it himself or herself (laziness)

* 31% of employees said their boss regularly seeks undeserved admiration from others at work (pride)

* 33% of employees said their boss makes sure that others stroke his or her ego on a daily basis (lust)

* 19% of employees said their boss can be counted on to act enviously toward others who experience good things (jealous)

* 23% of employees said their boss purposefully hoards resources that could be useful to others at work (gluttony)

No excuses offered here, but it may be that corporate management is under even more stress to "do more with less" than are their underlings. Regardless, the results indicated a variety of negative employee outcomes associated with supervisors' aberrant behavior, including impaired work productivity and poorer health. What isn't stated but might be assumed: The viral nature of employees' impaired productivity and poor health spell doom for any organization.

Perhaps when the recession clouds clear and job environments become more stable, business executives will once again focus on employee development rather than self-preservation, say the researchers. Anyone still interested in that free lunch?

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Corrected January 5, 2011 at 9:37AM: yes