Dad dot info
DAD.info form. Ask questions, get answers

Choose your bad boss – dysfunctional, or dark

Bad bosses generally come in one of two forms: dysfunctional or dark, psychologists say

 

Ricky Gervais attending the world premiere of David Brent: Life On The Road. Bad bosses generally come in one of two forms: dysfunctional or dark, psychologists say, and a prime example of the first kind is David Brent from popular sitcom The Office. Photo credit: Ian West/PA Wire

A prime example of the first kind is David Brent from popular sitcom The Office, while Gordon Gekko from the movie Wall Street epitomises the “dark” variety.

Both species of boss can cause a great deal of stress to those unfortunate enough to work for them, according to the US researchers.

Describing the “David Brent” boss, Dr Seth Spain, from the State University of New York, said: “They don’t want to hurt you. Through lack of skill, or other personality defects, they’re just not very good at their job. Largely, that’s what we would call ‘dysfunctional’.”

Dark bosses, in contrast, commonly displayed destructive behaviour and hurt others to elevate themselves.

The “Gordon Gekko” boss was characterised by a “Dark Triad” of personality traits – machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy.

“These are people who enjoy the pain and suffering of others – they’re going to be mean, abusive and harassing in daily life,” said Dr Spain.

The scientists set out to establish a “taxonomy” – or classification system – for identifying distinct types of poor-performing manager.

Not all bosses are such extreme individuals and there are varying degrees to which they might fall into one or other category, they point out.

Dr Spain added: “A person’s direct supervisor is a lens through which they view their work experience. We think, in particular, that a boss can be an incredibly substantial source of stress for people who work for them.

“We believe that these characteristics are extremely important for understanding employee development and career advancement. Understanding the role that these characteristics play in stress experiences at work is extremely important, especially since bad leaders can cause so much suffering for their subordinates.”

The findings are reported in the journal Research in Occupational Stress and Well-Being.

Related entries

We Support The Parents Promise

We Support The Parents Promise

More couples discuss what they would do if they won the lottery than how they would co-parent their children if they separated.  87% of couples have talked about how they would spend a lottery win. Just 5% admit to having discussed potential parenting...

Where’s Wally? Weekender!

Where’s Wally? Weekender!

Football School authors Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton front virtual Where’s Wally? Weekender! Join dynamic author duo Ben Lyttleton and Alex Bellos for the National Literacy Trust’s iconic Where’s Wally? fun run, which this year is a virtual run, renamed the Where’s...

Dad.info working in collaboration with Parent Ping

Dad.info working in collaboration with Parent Ping

Since becoming a Dad have you secretly wished you could read your partner's or children's mind? If you, as a Dad, could only instill one value in your children, what would it be? Is parenting for Dads today easier or harder than when you were growing up? With...

Latest entries

10 tips to support your child after break-up

10 tips to support your child after break-up

In 2020 Dad.info ran a survey asking 1000 separated parents about their experiences of divorce or separation and they generously shared their concerns and most importantly their tried and tested solutions. If you are looking for ways to save your children from being...

We Support The Parents Promise

We Support The Parents Promise

More couples discuss what they would do if they won the lottery than how they would co-parent their children if they separated.  87% of couples have talked about how they would spend a lottery win. Just 5% admit to having discussed potential parenting...

ASK DEBBIE- MY DAUGHTER DOESN’T WANT TO SEE ME

ASK DEBBIE- MY DAUGHTER DOESN’T WANT TO SEE ME

Dads, do you struggle sometimes? Who do you reach out to for help? Debbie Pattison, a qualified counsellor at Fegans can answer your questions. Send them in to Ask Debbie at info@dad.info and if she can she will answer. Today’s question is about problems in...

Pin It on Pinterest