Do you have a fickle-minded boss or someone who’s always a jerk? A team of US researchers have suggested that employees, whose superior is consistently unfair, are actually less stressed and more satisfied with their job than employees with an erratic boss.
According to researchers, employees with fickle bosses were more prone to stress, job dissatisfaction and emotional exhaustion than people who were treated poorly all the time, finds a study.
“Our research has found that employees are better off if their boss is a consistent jerk rather than being a loose cannon who’s fair at times and unfair at other times,” said lead researcher Fadel Matta from Michigan State University.
“We found that inconsistent treatment is much more stressful than being treated poorly all the time,” Matta explained.
The study included both a lab experiment in which participants’ heart rate was monitored for stress level and a separate field study of workers and supervisors from 95 employers representing a host of industries.
The researchers monitored participants’ heart rates - a common indicator of stress - and found that those who were treated inconsistently experienced more stress than those who were treated unfairly all the time.
The findings were replicated in a field study in which the researchers surveyed workers and their bosses daily over a three-week period.
People appear to value consistency and predictability in fair treatment as much or more than fair treatment itself, said Brent Scott, associate professor of management. “However, if supervisors are going to be unfair, the results suggest that they would be better off behaving that way all the time,” Scott stated.