TOXIC VERSUS COOPERATIVE BEHAVIORS AT WORK: THE ROLE OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AND LEADERSHIP IN CREATING COMMUNITY-CENTERED ORGANIZATIONS

Jacqueline Gilbert, Norma Carr-Ruffino, John Ivancevich, Robert Konopaske
2012 International Journal of Leadership Studies   unpublished
Recent headlines highlight the literal toxicity spewing from companies such as BP (oil spill), Hillandale Farms (salmonella poisoning), and W.R. Grace (vermiculite/asbestos poisoning). These incidents bring to mind an earlier rash of visible and high profile executives from such companies as Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco, who made headlines because of their self-centered, covetous, and irresponsible behavior towards shareholders and employees (Ivancevich, Duening, Gilbert, & Konopaske, 2003).
more » ... paske, 2003). Scholars suggest that such toxic behavior on the part of organizational leaders and managers exerts a negative impact on employee and firm productivity (Goldman, 2008; Vega & Comer, 2005). In this paper, we define the concept of a toxic workplace and discuss what factors contribute to its development. When leaders in organizations routinely display toxicity toward their employees (exhibited through excessive employee monitoring, micro-management, and politically-motivated performance appraisals), the outcomes will be radically different than from organizations in which community or collaboration is practiced. We argue that managers and leaders should attempt to reduce the amount of toxic influence within their organizations while consciously attempting to cultivate a community-centered organizational culture. We develop several testable propositions that explore how these two contrasting organizational models may influence important human resource and organizational outcomes. We conclude the paper with a discussion of community-centered organizations and provide suggestions on how to test a sample of our propositions with future research.
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