Review of "No Asshole Rule"

Topics: Organizational studies and human resource management, Employment, Abuse Pages: 9 (3329 words) Published: June 2, 2011
“The No Asshole Rule” by Robert Sutton effectively illustrates the multitude of detrimental effects abusive staff members can have on fellow employees. Sutton discusses in detail how to identify both certified and temporary assholes, how to deal with and reform these assholes, and how to keep from becoming an asshole oneself, supplemented with anecdotal examples and studies that reinforce his opinion that the removal of these types of destructive people will maximize workplace productivity and relieve the workplace of asshole poisoning. For employees that cannot leave their current job situation, he offers advice on how to survive these kind of people and how to negate their damaging influence. By primarily focusing on how to build a civilized workplace through rules and guidelines that successful companies have implemented in the past, he provides valuable information that management should heed regarding the negative influence these people have both on direct and indirect interactions with fellow employees. Closer examination of the three theories of motivation, job satisfaction and organizational commitment from an organizational behaviour perspective will provide a deeper insight and understanding into the aforementioned problem of workplace incivility. Topic 1: Motivation

Motivation is based on three schools of thoughts: Expectancy, Goal-Setting, and Equity Theory. In this book, Equity theory and Expectancy theory are most applicable to the concept of asshole employees in an organization. Equity theory acknowledges that motivation does not just depend on your own beliefs and circumstances but also on what happens to other people, while Expectancy theory states that an employee expects to gain compensation directly related to his or her efforts. For equity theory, assholes decrease equities by making others feel worthless and incompetent, and if such feelings translate into depression and lowered productivity while the asshole maintains his work efficacy, employees may experience underreward inequity. For expectancy theory, if an asshole gets the same or more benefits than other employees (e.g. snatching sales clients aggressively), other employees will either start to lose motivation for work by shirking since their efforts would not lead to an adequate amount of compensation, or see that it’s effective to be an asshole, and become an asshole. Expectancy theory is more apparent when the boss is an asshole (Tepper, 2007). The employees believe that no matter how hard they work, their reward will not correlate with efforts because the asshole boss belittles their value and tries to take advantage of them. They may give up trying to work in the company’s best interest if the company tolerates such an asshole coworker/boss. This forms a cascade effect where everyone decreases their productivity because no one is motivated. The consequence is that either productivity goes down, or employees would have low cohesiveness due to unwillingness to collaborate. Sutton attempted to quantify the loss in productivity by employing the concept of Total Cost of Asshole (TCA) which lists the costs of tolerating an asshole employee on productivity (Sutton, 2007). Some examples include damages to other coworkers (e.g. psychologist visits due to depression, increased vacation days, etc.). Sutton made many anecdotal cases of how assholes can decrease motivation in the workplace (Sutton, 2007). However, there is a possibility that the decreased motivation levels of employees are due to the effects of organizational policies, and that the employees deflect their problems by attributing them to an asshole employee. One of the ways that companies encourage assholes to thrive, as Sutton alluded to, is the company’s indifference and tolerance to assholes (Sutton, 2007). Another way would be for assholes to hire more assholes, as like begets like. This raises the question: can employees be motivated despite...
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