Careers 9/10/2009

Sept. 8, 2009
A recent study of 1,200 employees found many felt their immediate supervisor was narcissistic and overly self centered. Engineering majors have about the same drop-out rate as other disciplines such as those in the liberal arts.

Study Says Many Bosses Preoccupied with Themselves

Narcissistic boss research,

Nucleus Research Inc.,

Edited by Leland Teschler

Though the results are not exactly a news flash, a recent study of 1,200 employees found many felt their immediate supervisor was narcissistic and overly self-centered.

Two professors at the Florida State University College of Business who performed the analysis say 31% of those polled feel their boss is prone to exaggerate accomplishments to look good in front of others; 27% reported their boss brags to others to get praise; 25% reported their boss had an inflated self-view; 24% reported their boss was self-centered; and 20% reported their boss will do a favor only if guaranteed one in return.

“Having a narcissistic boss creates a toxic environment for virtually everyone who must come in contact with this individual,” says Wayne Hochwarter, study coauthor. “The team perspective ceases to exist, and the work environment becomes increasingly stressful. Productivity typically plummets as well.”

Those who reported working for a narcissistic boss had lower levels of job satisfaction, saw their stress levels rise over the previous year, were less appreciative of their work and organization, reported lower levels of effort and performance, and were more prone to sadness and frustration at work.

“Most organizations simply do not consider the adverse effects of narcissistic bosses on worker productivity and stress,” Hochwarter said. “In fact, many companies encourage it since narcissists are often seen as outgoing and confident — traits considered necessary for success in any managerial role. However, there is a fine line between self-confidence on the one hand and selfishness that negatively affects others on the other.”

Want to be More Productive? Skip the Facebook Profile
Nearly half of all office employees access the Facebook social-networking site during work. And their employers effectively lose an average of 1.5% of total office productivity as a result.

So says a new analysis from Nucleus Research Inc., a technology research and advisory firm in Boston. Nucleus interviewed 237 randomly selected office workers about their use of Facebook and found 77% of them had Facebook accounts. Of those, nearly two-thirds accessed Facebook during work hours spending an average of 15 min daily on the site.

No surprise, 87% of those dallying on Facebook couldn’t define a clear business reason for doing so. And 6% of Facebook users only accessed the site at work, meaning one in every 33 workers built their entire Facebook profile during work hours.

Of the 13% users who accessed Facebook for business reasons, most didn’t use it for personal networking. They used the site to promote a business, product, event, or fan site to Facebook users — and Facebook was just one component of an overall marketing strategy, says Nucleus. None of these users had measured the comparative effectiveness of Facebook over other marketing strategies, so it’s unclear if their Facebook efforts delivered positive returns.

About the Author

Leland Teschler

Lee Teschler served as Editor-in-Chief of Machine Design until 2014. He holds a B.S. Engineering from the University of Michigan; a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan; and an MBA from Cleveland State University. Prior to joining Penton, Lee worked as a Communications design engineer for the U.S. Government.

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