Study: Bad leadership behavior in 85 percent of German companies

Desk, above dts
Desk, above dts
In a clear majority of German companies, employees complain of negative management behavior.

This is the result of a joint research project between the universities of Bielefeld and Trier and the Berlin School of Law and Economics, which the newspapers of the Funke media group (Thursday editions) report on in advance. In a total of 85 percent of the companies examined, destructive management behavior ("abusive supervision") occurs, which is expressed in bosses publicly yelling at, offending or ignoring their employees.

“It doesn't matter if there is a bad leader in a company. Poor leadership leads to the overall leadership climate becoming toxic, "said Christina Hoon, endowed chair for business administration with a focus on family business management at Bielefeld University, the Funke-Zeitung. It spreads to other management levels and costs companies money. Together with Kai Bormann (University of Bielefeld), Michael Graffius (HWR Berlin) and Christopher Hansen (University of Trier), Hoon forms the four-person team of authors for the study.

According to the study, the management climate is poor and dissatisfaction high in around every fifth company. This also has an impact on the company's performance. "We looked at the total return on investment for the study and were able to determine that toxic leadership reduces the level of satisfaction and, above all, company performance," said Hoon. According to the study, 34 percent of the companies examined have a healthy management culture and a healthy atmosphere of satisfaction.

According to the study, it is often not the direct supervisor who blames employees for the poor management culture. Only 21 percent of those surveyed rate the leadership behavior of their direct superiors as negative. However, negative leadership behavior in management is also carried over to the lower levels of the hierarchy, the authors write. The size of a company has no influence on the quality of leadership.

However, family businesses are more robust when it comes to the consequences of poor leadership. “We can only guess why that is, because there is no different management climate per se in family businesses either, there is toxic management here too. However, family businesses are often less hierarchically structured, and the entrepreneurial families often bring familiar values ​​with them. ”That could possibly help to reduce damage, said Hoon.

For the study, the four scientists evaluated complete data sets from the largest European employer evaluation platform Kununu from 2016 and 2017, analyzing over 40.000 quantitative evaluations of 430 companies.