What are the consequences of a bad work relationship?


Relationships are part of human nature. They affect who we love, hate or even who we are most comfortable spending time with.

Work relationships are no different and establishing positive ones can go a long way to improving productivity levels and employee engagement.

But what happens when the relationship isn’t rosy and an employee and boss don’t see eye-to-eye?

According to a recently released study from Michigan State University (MSU), it all depend on whether both parties are on the same page – positive or negative.

Published in the Academy of Management Journal, researchers studied 280 employees and their bosses. According to responses, when an employee believes they have a good relationship with their employer, but the boss thinks differently, motivation and productivity drop.

When the roles were reversed, the same notion was displayed. Both parties were kept separate so each party didn’t know they they felt about each other.

However, if both parties understand and accept they have a good or bad relationship, productivity can actually increase.

Fadel Matta, lead investigator on the study and a management researcher in MSU’s Broad College of Business, explained this in more detail.

“Seeing eye-to-eye about the employee-supervisor relationship is equally, if not more, important than the actual quality of the relationship,” he said.

Mr Matta said that it was impossible for employers to have good relationships with everyone, but it was human nature to want everyone to like you. However, he stated it was more important to have an open and honest relationship.

“Some people would say it’s better to fake it, but our results indicate that the opposite is true,” he concluded.

“At the end of the day, it’s better for everyone to know where they stand and how they feel about each other.”

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