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Study Says 2 In 5 Bosses Lie 446

Posted by kdawson
from the pointy-hair dept.
Freshly Exhumed writes to tell us about a Florida State University study of 700 employees indicating that nearly two of five bosses don't keep their word. The study will be published later this year. From the article: "The abusive boss has been well documented in movies ('Nine to Five'), television (Fox's 'My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss') and even the Internet. 'They say that employees don't leave their job or company, they leave their boss. We wanted to see if this is, in fact, true,' said Wayne Hochwarter, an associate professor of management in FSU's College of Business."
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Study Says 2 In 5 Bosses Lie

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  • by udderly (890305) * on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @01:45PM (#17433896)

    FTA: Finally, he said, "No abuse should be taken lightly, especially in situations where it becomes a criminal act (for example, physical violence, harassment or discrimination). The employee needs to know where help can be found, whether it is internal (i.e., the company's grievance committee) or external (i.e., formal representation or emergency services)."

    In most of the companies that I've worked for, the "grievance committee" is merely a shill for management interests.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ZonkerWilliam (953437) *
      Im curious, has anyone been verbally or physically abused by a manager or supervisor? I know I have had terrible managers in the past, some almost could be considered abusive. Just wondered how wide spread it was.
      • by the_rev_matt (239420) <slashbot@rev m a t t . com> on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @01:56PM (#17434070) Homepage
        I worked for a manager whose style would best be described as "scream, berate, humiliate, threaten". I generally threw up every morning before heading in to work because of the stress. This was during the early 90's recesssion, so finding another comparable paying job (only slightly above minimum wage) wasn't an option.
        • by BluedemonX (198949) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:29PM (#17434506)
          Yeah, but karma is a bitch.

          I worked somewhere where the managment took advantage of the REALLY terrible job market to basically say "this will be done ON our unrealistic schedule, without listening to your suggestions, or you can all find jobs elsewhere" (which they knew didn't exist). "If it takes weekends, evenings, it will get done, or you can find another job."

          Halfway through the project, at a critical juncture, when they'd sign contracts that committed the company to delivery, an employee cracked and shouted at someone else. They fired him on the spot. Half the team looked at the job market, realised it had since become VERY VERY good, and more than half the team walked out.

          Needless to say, managment were on the chopping block in a big way when the promised delivery date rolled around and there was no product. The businesses who had signed big deals for the project were demanding major price reductions or cancelling.

          Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch.
          • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @03:34PM (#17435296) Homepage Journal
            Interesting that this "2 in 5" figure nearly perfectly matches my own experience in the workplace.

            I've noticed that noticed that managers who are shitty people are usually shitty managers, too. The best approach I've found to dealing with them is to try to maintain as high a level of personal ethics and professionalism as possible, and let them simmer in their own acid. And by all means, if it's so bad that you find yourself grinding your teeth in your sleep or chomping antacids throughout the day, leave the job. Today if you can, and get that resume out immediately if you cannot. Life is too short to live in pain.

            After all, you became a techie so you wouldn't have to deal with such assholes. In most organizations, you can find other decent humans who actually care about what's best for the enterprise and their co-workers and probably also hate your boss. Find them, befriend them, but don't get into the "bitch about your boss" sessions. Positivity will bring about change, and get you noticed by the higher management, faster than complaining.

            Years ago, before I had enough personal juice to be able to actively avoid assholes, I was having trouble sleeping and actually ground my teeth in my sleep (according to my girlfriend, now my wife). I couldn't do much at the time, but I started working out every day with a heavy bag and 8-oz gloves, then swim laps for 20 minutes. The exercise helped me sleep and getting into shape made it easier to be calm and take a longer, more positive approach to my work hours. Bosses who are bullies don't enjoy picking emotionally healthy people as targets, and mine made the mistake of turning his negative attention onto a newer employee, a quiet young woman who happened to also be very talented. She also happened to be dating a lawyer who encouraged her to file a formal complaint with the company. The bad boss was transferred out of the division and within 6 months I got his job.

            By the way the same positivity and ethical behavior that was so helpful to an employee working for a very bad boss turned out to also serve me very very well as a first-time manager.

            It's corny as hell, but "Don't Be Evil" works just fine as a guiding principle in the workplace, no matter what your rank.
            • by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @04:08PM (#17435644) Homepage
              It's corny as hell, but "Don't Be Evil" works just fine as a guiding principle in the workplace, no matter what your rank.

              That being said, there's nothing wrong with pulling aside an employee that is as useless as tits on a snake and and directly dealing with the fact that they are a problem. My biggest gripe with the various managers I've had at different jobs has been this; No one wants to confront an employee directly for fear of looking like a loud mouth jerk of a boss.

              The best manager I've ever had was the guy that ran the warehouse where I had my first job. The place was populated with slackers, so it was ideal for a 16 year old. The work was just hard enough that they couldn't train monkeys to do it, so they used high schoolers instead. I worked hard, kept my mouth shut, and didn't have a problem. But some of the other guys did, and complained that the boss was always riding their ass about something. It didn't take much effort to put 2 and 2 together. Show up late and leave early all the time? Boss chews you out. Sit on your ass all night and not finish what you're supposed to? Meeting with the boss. Get caught stealing? You're fired. Amazing concepts, I know.

              Since then it's an entirely different attitude everywhere else. Everyplace I've worked that's been supposedly more "professional" has had bosses who avoid confrontation like the plauge. A couple specific employees have problems showing up on time? The "department" has an "attendance issue." Someone doesn't know how to answer a phone like an intellegent adult? "Customer service training" for everyone. The useless bits of societal cholesteral get the security blanket of thinking that "well, obviously I'm not the only one who's screwing up!", while the decent employees get a healthy dose of "Awww geez, not this shit again. Can't we just get to the point and fire Bob?"

              Sadly, there are useless people in the world. Useless, useless people. We all work with them and know who they are. And they survive because someone doesn't let them get culled from the pack.

              There's no excuse for wandering around your department wanting to think people live in fear of you and your pompus jackassery. But there needs to be a bit more accountability in the world. (so says the guy posting on slashdot...) Trust me, I'd love it if the boss pulled me aside and said "hey, dumbass, quit slacking." But instead, it'll come out as "Subject: Dept. Meeting, all staff are required to attend....." just like everything else.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Miguelito (13307)
                No one wants to confront an employee directly for fear of looking like a loud mouth jerk of a boss.

                I think some of it is that, but more of it is likely they think they'll be seen as a failure if they have to fire/discipline someone underneath them.

                One of my only complaints about my job is along the same lines.. noone gets fired from here for being incompetent. Unfortunately we have a few people in our group that are either incompetent, have attitudes that cause problems and get in the way.. or both mixed t
              • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @06:29PM (#17437196)
                If they discipline anyone except a white male directly, it is very likely they will be sued.

                It's an aftereffect of earlier racism. At some point, it will fade and the people will be punished or rewarded without regard to race or sex.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by ciggieposeur (715798)
                  If they discipline anyone except a white male directly, it is very likely they will be sued.

                  Care to back that up?
                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by Maxo-Texas (864189)
                    Care to back up that the sky is blue?

                    I've seen it in my personal life. I've seen minorities in my personal life threaten to do this and other minorities actually do this. I've seen the stupid lengths companies have to go to document everything so they can, if need be, prove years later that there was no racial or sexist reason for a decision.

                    Some of this was at a company where 80% of the managers were females of variety races and nationalities. The next level had one white female, two black males, a hisp
      • by tompaulco (629533) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:03PM (#17434170) Homepage Journal
        I had a boss that was verbally abusive. Sometimes he would yell, but mostly he would just quietly berate you. After a couple of years of working for him he had convinced me that I was of no worth to any other company and that I was lucky to have the job.
        I liken it to Saruman's hold on King Theoden. I was lucky to see my way through what almost seemed like a spell he had cast on me and my coworkers. I was the third to leave, and in the end 2/3 of the company quit within a space of about 3 months.
        • by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:47PM (#17434718) Homepage
          What can be a bigger problem is what I see happening to a lot of people who just graduated and are entering the professional world for the first time. You come out of school cocky, but still aware that you don't know a lot at all, but then they have a boss who basically makes them feel like they don't know anything about their chosen profession and kills their confidence, which in turn leads to more mistakes etc.

          The reason this is such a problem is while a seasoned professional who runs into a bad boss can still walk out of there knowing deep down "its a bad boss, I know my shit, I'm good at what I do even if he doesn't think so" whereas a recent graduate might think "wow, maybe I chose the wrong career path, spent all that money for nothing..." and end up working at Starbucks because they no longer have confidence in their abilities.

        • by Lord Ender (156273) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @04:19PM (#17435776) Homepage
          I had a boss that was verbally abusive. Sometimes he would yell, but mostly he would just quietly berate you. After a couple of years of working for him he had convinced me that I was of no worth to any other company and that I was lucky to have the job.

          Did your manager also have a feathered hat, wear a long, purple fur coat, and carry a cane?
      • by smilindog2000 (907665) <bill@billrocks.org> on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:08PM (#17434222) Homepage
        Yeah, I think they're focusing on the wrong kind of lying...

        In my experience, physical abuse is rare, and emotional abuse is typically somewhat self-inflicted (if your boss doesn't like your work, don't make yourself crazy... just get a new boss).

        However, I find lying to some degree is far higher than 2/5. Stock options are the typical one. When you ask "How many shares are outstanding?", the typical response is "Try to imagine that each share is $10." They'll say that even when the current selling price is $0.10. Some bosses also distort information badly, if not down-right lying, to benefit themselves. If you bust your buns making the whole project succeed, it's quite likely your boss will get a bonus or stock options, and you'll get nothing.

        In the end, you've got to fend for yourself, while forming a positive relationship with your boss, even though he doesn't always tell you the whole story.
        • by BewireNomali (618969) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @03:26PM (#17435206)
          Re: fending for yourself. You're exactly right.

          I consult with small and mid-cap investment firms in the NYC area - evaluating media opportunities. In my capacity as a consultant I see how many bosses deal with employees and I am grateful and humbled that I have the opportunity to build a business the way I do, where I mostly report to myself.

          One of my clients - head of a small sized hedge fund has two analysts that report directly to him. Both are Ivy educated, under 30, and scared out of their mind at this man.

          Because I spend a significant amount of time with him out of the office - I have a true gauge for the kind of man that he is. This is what he told me: His hires are based on psychological profiles. He hires overachieving young men with father issues (this guy strikes kind of a very photogenic prototype father figure - I've heard many an employee comment on how great a father he'd make). He uses this ammunition to twist these guys into knots - competing with one another, betraying one another for "fatherly" favor... working ungodly hours to one-up one's "sibling" - setting the two in diametric opposition. I asked him why he did it - he said that fear lasts longer than love. He also said, in the NY finance market, there are plenty of opportunities for well educated finance guys - in order to retain talent (other than with significant financial compensation) one has to get the employee so emotionally invested in the task at hand, to the struggle the firm is trying to overcome, make it so the firm's fight becomes personal. These guys hate each other and do everything they can to outwit one another, and to this boss, it's a big joke. It's what he does.

          I've seen other bosses develop a method of manipulating underlings that utilizes a code. They run it in meetings - wide open. One manager might make a reference to having a headache - and the other manager replies that they are out of brand X of medicine for headaches, but brand Y seems that it would be most effective in this situation (the situation being a particular impasse with the team). They gauge situations and resolve them by manipulating workers in real time using pre-established "plays" or social strategies - I've watched employees react like puppets, on cue.

          Women in the workplace are controlled in a similar way - but using aesthetics and attractiveness as the meter. Even women who profess to not be affected by it become embittered when the boss champions the hot chick, so the other women work doubly hard to prove their worth on different merits. Checkmate, boss wins. I've seen the hot chick go from belle of the ball to also ran when a new round of hiring brings in younger, hotter eye candy.

          The best thing an employee can do in my experience is NOT INTERNALIZE the firm's business, and be aware that almost EVERY ACTION by a boss is done to manipulate you to HIS ENDS. Objectivity goes a great way. FEND FOR YOURSELF and realize that your skills and experience determine your market value - and realize that a bosses' power relies totally on the self-sacrifice of those under him.
          • by smilindog2000 (907665) <bill@billrocks.org> on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @04:09PM (#17435658) Homepage
            Holly cow, that's harsh!

            I make a poor manager, so I let others run the small business I founded. However, I do recruit guys and have a plan for getting the most out of our employees... I try to do it above-board, and let them know about my tricks during the interview.

            In short, I try to hire super-bright guys right out of school, with salaries slightly lower than competing offers. I also explain that I expect them to work like heck, and eventually quit when other companies offer them salaries I can't match. In return, I promise they will have a chance to learn everything I know about EDA, and instead of fixing bugs in someone else's code for a living, they'll have a chance to make a major contribution. I tell them they'll have a chance to see their efforts directly help grow the company. I buy them laptops so they have a chance to work around the clock, both at home and at work.

            In Silicon Valley, this strategy worked very well. It works fairly well in NC, but the laptops don't work out. Around here, people just don't seem to take work home with them. Partly, I blame the favorable ratio of girls-to-guys here relative to Silicon Valley, and the stronger focus on families. It's also just the culture. I also have difficulty getting the guys here emotionally committed the way that they do in Silicon Valley, which makes a big difference. I moved here partly figuring that since salaries are 25% lower, I could start the company with less capital. That was wrong... the guys in Silicon Valley make up for their pay with 25% more work.

            I also have another way of motivating a programmer. If I look over their shoulder, and sneer at some code that wasn't done quite right, I find that's much more effective at getting them fired-up and coding right than trying to directly teach them how to do it right in the first place. Their own code is very personal to them, and they'll work like heck to make it meet my standards, but no one likes to simply be lectured about how to write code in the first place, especially if they're very bright and use to writing better code than their teachers.
      • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:16PM (#17434318)
        Never by a manager, but we did have an engineer on a team who thought he was tough sh*t and made threats to that effect.

        I don't look like much, but one day I brought one of my grip exercisers to a meeting. During the meeting (while this bozo was shooting his mouth off), I just sat there quietly, squeezing the handle, but I made sure it was visible to everyone. When the meeting let out, I intentionally left it lying on the table. A few witnesses told me that this guy picked it up and nearly busted his gut trying (unsuccessfully) to move it. After that, he quieted down quite a bit.

      • by lawpoop (604919) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:42PM (#17434666) Homepage Journal
        I had a manager when I worked at a gas station who was verbally abusive. It wasn't a matter of volume; it was the tone. It was like he was hocking venom at you or flicking daggers.

        "I can't believe this shit..." Made you feel like you were a three-year-old. I was 18 at the time and I didn't know how to mentally disengage from him. I was the best employee ( the other long-term employees were adults with no education and just didn't care at all ). I did a good job; he told me I was his best employee. I wanted to do good, but when I screwed up, however minor, he would berate me like he did the others that worked there. I just took it like a bitch; while the other folks would get in heated arguments. I felt bad about myself. I had all kinds of stress responses -- headaches, muscle aches, etc. I developed GIRD (gastro-intestinal reflux disease) and the doctor prescribed me Nexium -- at 18 years old. So much for western medicine. The real answer was to leave the mentally and emotionally unhealthy environment. Which I did.

        I think the reason that there is so much anti-depressant use these days is because, as our economy slowly swirls the drain, we have no mental health care industry to take care of people dealing with the fallout of not having enough resources to provide for themselves and their families. Having more opportunities to talk about our feelings would be good, but I think the real answer is more power to the individual in the workplace.

        In pursuing my anthropology degree in college, we watched a video of a native healer in Uganda or somewhere. His patient was having general sickness such as tiredness, upset stomach, etc. The healer guy went into his trance and danced around wildly. The healer diagnosed the problem being with the man's father-in-law or something like that, and within minutes, the father-in-law was in the room, and they were having it out -- emotionally airing their grievances, arguing, and coming to a new agreement, all mediated by this crazy medicine man. The whole village was gathered around, watching, and I have no doubt that they would help enforce the new agreement.

        It would be great if I could have sat down with my then-manager and explained what he was doing wrong. If he could learn to manage by also being nice. But no, my doctor had no authority to call him into the office, I had no authority as a kid to question how "The Real World" works, and, being the best manager in the district, the oil company had no incentive in getting him to change his ways. He continued emotionally abusing people, perpetuating burn-out and turnover. So the abusive, destructive environment continued.

        In the US, do whatever BS management tells you or get fired. The rest of the department has been outsourced, so you have to do the jobs of 3 people. With unions on the wane, it is just a lowly individual against a vast corporation. The working class had their jobs outsourced to the 3rd world, and now it is happening to white collar jobs. All the while the media tells us that we can mitigate our unhappiness with new cars, alcohol, and bling. Terrorists attack us on our own soil, we are entering an endless war against a nebulous enemy called "Terror" and Bush says the best thing we can do is go shopping.

        I realize a lot of slashdotters are well-educated and many of them have decent jobs. It seems to me that this is a child-like view of "Things are going well for me; if anyone else is having a problem, they are just not working hard enough." Well, the $#i+ seems to be hitting the fan with outsourcing and now the white-collar middle class is beginning to feel the effects of limitless corporate power. If left unchecked it will lead to virtual slavery and serfdom.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Eccles (932)
          I had a manager when I worked at a gas station who was verbally abusive. It wasn't a matter of volume; it was the tone. It was like he was hocking venom at you or flicking daggers.

          "I can't believe this shit..." Made you feel like you were a three-year-old.


          Sheesh, I don't need a boss like that. My wife does that enough already.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by jcr (53032)
          Too bad you didn't have the option of taking your manager to Uganda, and leaving him there.

          -jcr

      • Verbal abuse (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @04:25PM (#17435836) Homepage
        Yep.

        Not only that, but in a horribly inappropriate place, too.

        Was on a trade show floor, in our booth, and the boss was unhappy about how some code was implemented. He went ballistic on me and a coworker... RIGHT THERE IN OUR BOOTH!!!!

        I kept my mouth shut, but was thinking, "You know, there's a time and a place for everything, and this is neither the time nor the place."
    • by Chyeld (713439)
      Then you really need to shop around for companies to work for that actually have competant HR departments.

      Management typically is intelligent enough to know that an abusive supervisor is more of a liability than a boon, since it generally costs more to hire and train a new worker than it is to retain someone who already knows the job. Abusive supervisors tend to have far higher turnover than ones who actually know how to do their job, and typically produce poorer quality work.

      It's always in a company's intr
      • Never seen ONE.

        They're the ones who hire the assholes in the first place.

        A much better bet is a small company where the big cheese is the HR department. That way you only have one potential asshole to worry about.

    • I Believe This (Score:3, Insightful)

      by broward (416376)
      The 40% figure is close to my own experience since the Dotcom Crash. I don't classify it as "lying", though, but as "deceit". And I've learned to be far more critical in evaluating new job positions. My latest experiences in December -

      http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme?entry =dicey_projects [realmeme.com]
  • correction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bastard of Subhumani (827601) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @01:46PM (#17433898) Journal
    More like 2 in 5 knowingly lie.
    • by Cerberus7 (66071)
      I'd go further than that, and correct it with 4 out of 5 knowingly lie, the other one does it out of ignorance. All bosses lie; it's just a matter of how much, and how bad the lie is.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Survey says: 2 out of 5 bosses lie - the other 3 lied about whether they lied.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Bovarchist (782773)
      This supports my theory that 40% of all people are assholes.
  • Boss == work?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by denebian devil (944045) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @01:48PM (#17433932)
    "They say that employees don't leave their job or company, they leave their boss."

    I think that's true to a point. In many cases, the environment at a company is colored by the behavior and the policies of the boss (or bosses). So it may be too simplistic to say that the boss is entirely to blame, but they can be responsible for things about a company that don't at first glance appear to be directly their fault.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fm6 (162816)

      In many cases, the environment at a company is colored by the behavior and the policies of the boss (or bosses).

      Your immediate boss doesn't "color" your environment; they are the single individual that has the most to do with creating your environment. They set your deadlines and goals, help you get resources, evaluate your performance, give you permission to take time off... it's a big list.

      I've never worked for a big company that wasn't dysfunctional and overbureaucratic to some degree. I think it's j

    • Re:Boss == work?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lazlo (15906) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:14PM (#17434286) Homepage
      The flip side of this study is also true. In the last 15 years, I've worked for 9 different companies. I've had 2 bosses. I've had many of the same co-workers.

      Loyalty is to people, not organizations.

      • Good point. I've also followed bosses, and had them and co-workers follow me. If you get a good team together, it can last a lot longer than your average start-up. It's just a simple human tragedy that so many people stick with poor relationships with their boss for so long. I've had two great bosses, and one who was barely a boss at all but wound up having a great team anyway. Three of my bosses basically didn't work for me, and I'd love to say it's all their fault, but two of them are still highly re
    • by Llywelyn (531070)
      Just anecdotally, I've seen a few cases where the entire team was great, the problems existed above the boss at the level that manages him or her.

    • Re:Boss == work?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:20PM (#17434384)
      From what I have found, the best bosses are usually those which act as advocates for the employees benieth them. This means that your boss will act in your best interests at all times; there are lots of benefits to the company from this in that Employees are usually happier, more productive, take less sick days and stay around longer. Someone who is deceptive is usually attempting to protect themselves and is typically not acting in the best interests of anyone else; whether they lie to others (taking credit for your work) or lie to you (about upcomming work) they are not looking out for you.

      As an example of how a boss can act as an avocate for you, I have worked in a company where we ended up doing (paid) overtime through November and into mid December in order to complete a project on time. My boss at the time worked it out with HR for everyone to recieve extra vacation time in order for everyone to have the week off between Christmas and New Years; it was a small gesture, but the additional 2 (or 3, I can't remember) days off made everyone happier and more refreshed when we came back and most people felt far better towards the company for giving them the time off. I'm not positive, but I suspect the extra days off probably prevented sick days from being taken in January through March because most people didn't become over tired.
      • So true. I have recently gone from a bad boss (guilty of lying and so much more) to a boss who does exactly as you describe, providing what we as employees need and insulating us from upper management and office politics. Otherwise, he pretty much stays out of our way, and we get our work done. I don't have much experience in the work force, but I can tell you that I'm infinitely happier now than I was working for my previous employer.
    • by jedidiah (1196)
      There's a saying that goes something like this...

      There's no such thing as a bad soldier, just bad leadership.

      Some managers just can't manage and don't have any better people skills than the social misfits they have firing authority over.
  • Great news! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Weston O'Reilly (1008937) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @01:48PM (#17433936)
    3 out of 5 bosses DON'T lie! That should melt a few ice cold cynical hearts out there.
  • Oh really? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Azathfeld (725855) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @01:49PM (#17433950)
    Studies show that 100% of my employees are mouthy SOBs who don't know what side their bread is buttered on. Lie at work? Abusive relationship? You shouldn't have talked, kids; now you'll really know what an abusive boss is like!
  • ...managers are human.

    C'mon - did you read the list?


    Thirty-one percent of respondents reported that their supervisor gave them the "silent treatment" in the past year.
    Thirty-seven percent reported that their supervisor failed to give credit when due.
    Thirty-nine percent noted that their supervisor failed to keep promises.
    Twenty-seven percent noted that their supervisor made negative comments about them to other employees or managers.
    Twenty-four percent reported that th
  • Control subjects? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PurifyYourMind (776223) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @01:52PM (#17434010) Homepage
    How often do non-bosses lie?
    • by extern_void (1041264) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:06PM (#17434212)
      50% less.
      When they lie more often, they are promoted.
    • by Matey-O (518004)
      Bout 40% of the time. It's just like saying 40% of all sick days are taken on Monday or Friday.
    • How often do non-bosses lie?

      I don't have numbers on how often a person in authority lies or how often a person with someone in authority over them lies, but since a lot of people fit in both categories those numbers are hard to come by. It is well documented, however, that facts become more quickly distorted when moving up through an authoritative hierarchy than down. That implies that people are more likely to mislead their bosses than to be misled by them. Logically, this follows since providing the tr

  • by onion2k (203094) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @01:54PM (#17434038) Homepage
    The other 3 lied in the survey.

    And now I add some more text, ruining the joke, because the lameness filter has no sense of humour.
    • And now I add some more text, ruining the joke, because the lameness filter has no sense of humour.

      Uh huh. Sure. That's just what you want us to believe...
  • Not very scientific (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101 ... Nom minus author> on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @01:55PM (#17434056) Homepage Journal

    I'm not saying there aren't bad bosses, but there are a LOT more bad employees than bad bosses, just because of the raw numbers. Given the bosses are just employees (duh, I hope), the rate of bad employees ought the be the same as the rate of bad bosses. If we assume that the average boss has an average of ten grunts, then we have ten bad employees for every bad boss.

    So how many of these employees are bad-mouthing their boss because they're lazy idiots who expect a paycheck for as little work as possible and skewing the statistics? This study doesn't seem too interested in this question.

    • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:20PM (#17434392)
      If we assume that the average boss has an average of ten grunts...

      Ditzy secretary: "I've never had a boss last that long."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816)

      Given the bosses are just employees (duh, I hope), the rate of bad employees ought the be the same as the rate of bad bosses.

      Huh? You think managers are representative of the people that work for them? If promotions were decided by cutting a deck of cards, that would be true. But they're not. Managers are chosen, and by criteria that are very different from those used to hire the people under them.

      Two groups that have similar labels don't automatically have similar statistical features.

      And there's a b

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Given the bosses are just employees (duh, I hope), the rate of bad employees ought the be the same as the rate of bad bosses.

      Well, if promotions were given simply by seniority this would be true. It is both fortunate and unfortunate that companies are likely to give promotions based on merit ; it is largely dependant on what a company determines to be merit that is worth rewarding with a promotion.

      Companies which reward high performance as a way of promoting people will (often) find that they're promotin
      • by asuffield (111848) <asuffield@suffields.me.uk> on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @03:29PM (#17435248)
        Personally, I believe if a company rewards people who have strong social skills, a decent moral backing, and adequate technical skills they're probably going to have the best chance at having good management.


        I would say that a company which thinks "management" is a promotion from "non-management" has no chance at having good management *or* good workers. Selecting your management via some kind of reward process is a fundamentally flawed concept - the skills required are entirely different. You should select your management as part of the hiring process. While people can conceivably change into or out of the management roles, this should be seen as a "sideways" move in the organisation, like any other change of deparments - neither promotion nor demotion.

        Sadly, very few companies work this way. One notable company that does is IBM - and their management staff is appreciably better than average, as most workers there will attest. That's not to say that getting this right solves all problems, but it almost certainly does help significantly.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Abcd1234 (188840)
          I'd mod you up if I could. That's an excellent comment, and echos my own thoughts on the subject. And from another standpoint, the idea that "advancement" implies movement into management really leaves us pure technical folk out in the cold. There are many of us that are perfectly happy working as senior technical staff, and either don't have the proper skills or inclination for management above the technical lead level. IMO, these people should not be punished, but in your average corporation, you eith
  • In other news... (Score:2, Informative)

    by DivineOmega (975982)
    Scientists discover grass is green, the sky is blue and dirt tends to be a brownish colour.
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @01:55PM (#17434060)
    • Thirty-one percent of respondents reported that their employee gave them the "silent treatment" in the past year.
    • Thirty-seven percent reported that their employee failed to give credit when due.
    • Thirty-nine percent noted that their employee failed to keep promises.
    • Twenty-seven percent noted that their employee made negative comments about them to other employees or managers.
    • Twenty-four percent reported that their employee invaded their privacy.
    • Twenty-three percent indicated that their employee blames others to cover up mistakes or to minimize embarrassment.


    The truth is, we're all like that.

    I'm pretty certain everyone has experienced a boss not give them credit where it's due - and I'm pertty certain, whether we want to admit it or even recognize it ourselves, others have complained about us doing exactly the same.

    Bosses fail to keep promises? And no employee has ever failed to deliver a project they swore they'd deliver? They've never cut corners on something they promised would be thorough?

    Bosses make negative comments to other colleagues? How dare they? Don't they realize that no employee has ever bitched about the boss?

    The sad truth is: we all do things that people consider negative. It's not a boss quirk, it's not an employee quirk, it's a human quirk.

    Then again, it's always easier to judge others than look at ourselves.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's part of a manager's job to not act in the petty, divisive, close-minded ways that is part of everybody's human nature. In fact that's pretty much their entire job, as 99% of all work actually gets done at the lowest levels of any organization.

      I get paid to produce something. Managers get paid to make this process run smoothly. If they are lying, cheating, and generally making people not want to work then they are not doing their job.
  • "'The abusive boss has been well documented in movies ('Nine to Five'), television (Fox's 'My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss') and even the Internet.'"

    What.... no mention of Dilbert?

  • by susano_otter (123650) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:01PM (#17434146) Homepage
    Study says most bosses honest.
  • by also-rr (980579) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:02PM (#17434158) Homepage
    I have never lied to *anyone* who has worked for me.
    • by TERdON (862570)
      I have never lied to *anyone* who has worked for me.

      In other words, you haven't ever been an employer? :P
  • I have been a victim of lying bosses, but since leaving that work environment, I have found happiness in a unionized work environment. Over here, your boss cannot do a thing to you. All workers appear to be treated equally which is good. This environment has its problems I agree, but I like it anyway.

    So the answer to lying bosses could be: UNIONIZE!

    • Curious; where is "over here"? Never heard of unionized IT employees, even in Europe.
      • by bogaboga (793279)

        Curious; where is "over here"? Never heard of unionized IT employees, even in Europe.

        I will borrow a leaf from politicians and therefore not comment on individual situations. But what I can say is that I am very happy "over here." The other thing is all workers are in a union and are not segregated on a department by department basis.

        That's our strength. In addition to all other perks, we get subsidized training on new technology.

  • The boss in charge of this study lied about it - it's actually 4 out of 5 bosses that lie!

    Oh, and the fifth one recommends sugar-free gum.

  • by MECC (8478) * on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:08PM (#17434230)
    FTFA:"The abusive boss has been well documented in movies"

    Well documented in the ... movies?! ...

    How about also well documented in Mad Magazine...

  • Did anyone look at the picture of Prof.Wayne Hochwarter, and assume this was an actor posing to look like a jerk boss for the article?
  • I'd just like to point out that I have no less than total and complete respect for and faith in my boss, and I'll stand by that statement for as long as it takes me to get home and post to Slashdot via a connection he doesn't run or monitor.
  • ...four out of five people lie.
  • Not saying it should be this way, but during the gravy period at Microsoft, abuse WAS the culture.

    It was so common, that instead of shrinking from it, 99% of those abused took it as a challenge, instead of a personal slight. In the course of an hour, you could go from Genius to Asshole comments about you from the same boss. If you had worked 20 days straight and needed a day off to see a doctor about feeling dizzy, you were branded a slacker or a pussy if something needed to ship and your module was late.

    • by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @03:12PM (#17435036) Homepage

      Only when Microsoft started hiring more women and minorities did things change to a large degree. Of course, Microsoft's productivity also took a hit right around that time too.

      So, what am I saying? Decide that for yourself.


      You're a misogynistic racist who has no idea how to motivate workers? Hey, if you're also a habitual drunk, you win a prize!

    • by version5 (540999) <altovideo@@@hotmail...com> on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @05:39PM (#17436622)
      If you had worked 20 days straight and needed a day off to see a doctor about feeling dizzy, you were branded a slacker or a pussy... Only when Microsoft started hiring more women and minorities did things change to a large degree. Of course, Microsoft's productivity also took a hit right around that time too. So, what am I saying?

      You are saying that its awesome to be so weak-minded that you can be bullied into risking damage to your health so you can ship some bullshit product that will be obsolete in a year and a half. Also, you are saying that its a wondrously manly virtue to treat yourself and others as if they are empty shells with no intrinsic value outside of their ability to perform a function. In our society, men are trained to believe in the virtue of "taking one for the team." In practice, this means:

      • pretend to be invulnerable, ignore your basic physical and emotional needs and desensitize yourself to pain
      • take extremely dangerous jobs where you could be hurt or killed and don't complain about it
      • join the military and risk violent and bloody death for "patriotism" and "loyalty" -- which are code words that really mean "you have the obligation to die" -- even though war mainly benefits a handful of rich people
      • men are taught to believe that they are worthless if they don't have a job. This is why the suicide rate rises with the unemployment rate.
      • men are 5 times more likely to kill themselves than women, partly because men are not permitted to express emotional pain
      • men are 4 times more likely to be murdered
      • male life expectancy is 5-10 years less than women, partly because male virtues include recklessness, aggression, competition and emotional repression leading to suicide
      From an early age, men are suckered into the macho cult of invulnerability, aggression and competition, and taught that it makes us powerful. But it doesn't, it kills us off in large numbers. But it sure works out well for the wealthy. Are you having a hard time finding workers willing to be shot at, burned or buried alive, have their limbs torn off by machinery and their bodies subjected to toxic chemicals? Just tell them they are a bunch of pussies, and not only will they be begging you for the chance to prove their manhood, they'll also do free recruiting. Men are taunted, bullied and humiliated to the point that even their basic humanity is taken -- something that no-one has the right to take -- and then taught they can earn it back by suffering and dying for some rich person on a literal or metaphorical battle field. Those that survive turn around and hand their sons the same raw deal.
  • Use buzzwords such that whether they are lying or not is undefined...
  • "that nearly two of five bosses don't keep their word"

    It's more like zero in five bosses keep their word. Welcome to the wonderfull world of work.

  • I've only been in the work force for about 2 years now, but I've already changed jobs once - and it was for exactly the reason of leaving my boss. I'm not going to go into too many details, but it was for not only lying, but also for verbal abuse based on unwarranted assumptions and a generally hostile attitude (not anything so drastic I could make a legal case about, unfortunately, although it would be hard to get blood from a rock). It also didn't help that the HR department consisted entirely of the bo
  • I doubt that the results would be any better if you surveyed a the general public to find out whether they told the truth or lied. Honesty is an important that's sorely lacking in our society, one that we each need to indepenantly work to develop. When you take your 13 year-old child to an amusement park, do you say to him "you look 12" and use that to get a discounted children's rate? Do you lie your way out of parking tickets? Honesty is a trait that everyone needs to develop. You can't expect your boss t
  • All too often socially discouraged behavior is very hard to quantify in a questionairre.

    In questionairres where the socially/morally disapproved behavior is put directly to the interviewee you get a really small number of truthful responses. ex. do you use heroin?

    If they tested the behavior in a more indirect way. Ex. When I party with my friends I use A) alcohol, B) Pot, C)Heroin. And then a little later on a similar question. Ex. I prefer A) alcohol B) pot C) heroin. If the truth is being told, there'
  • While I was in college, I worked in the tech support department of a small mom-and-pop ISP (with 8000 customers or so). The department 'manager', if you will, wasn't as technically adept as the snot-nosed brats he had to look after, but he kept a good sense of humour about him.

    His big joke was to fire me at every staff meeting.
  • I had a boss like lumburgh. Always missing the point and rewarding butt kissers who spent all day emailing so they didn't have to do any actual work. The greatest glory I received was an email, forwarded to me by a friend, after I had quit. It was from HR and advised anyone caught defacing the bathroom or tampering with the "mechanical function" of the toilets would be fired. I left a steaming sub in each of the men's rooms the night I quit. I quit on a Friday.
  • "...of bosses, and NONE of them ever lied to me!"

    (signed), your boss

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