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Bosses using violent rhetoric affects employee ethics, study says

While many bosses like to motivate their employees with “fighting words,” a new study says they may want to rethink their tactics because their violent rhetoric affects their employees’ ethics.
Faith Heaton Jolley, KSL Modified: August 13, 2014 at 5:17 pm •  Published: August 14, 2014
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While many bosses like to motivate their employees with “fighting words,” a new study says they may want to rethink their tactics because their violent rhetoric affects their employees’ ethics.

A Brigham Young University business study said that bosses who use violent wording like "We're going to kill the competition" or "We're going to war" may actually do more harm than good for their employees. BYU professor of accounting David Wood, BYU political science professor Josh Gubler and Monmouth College political science assistant professor Nathan Kalmoe published the study in the Journal of Business Ethics after conducting experiments with 269 participants.

In the first experiment of the study, employees were sent the following message from their CEO that used violent rhetoric. “To this end, I am declaring war on the competition in an effort to increase our market share. I want you to fight for every customer and do whatever it takes to win this battle. To motivate you to fight for this cause, I will be rewarding the top 10 sales associates and a guest an all-expense-paid vacation to Hawaii.”

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