Entitled employees experience more job frustration


Veterinary team members who feel superior to others at work are more likely to lash out at their coworkers and engage in other abusive behaviors.

Employees who feel entitled at work are more likely to show frustration at work and insult or gossip about coworkers, according to a new study.

Paul Harvey, a management professor at the University of New Hampshire, surveyed 223 full-time employees from a variety of organizations and found that those with strong entitlement-driven self-perceptions, such as believing they’re superior to coworkers, were often more frustrated and dissatisfied at work than more objective coworkers. Employees who feel their inferior coworkers are receiving undue rewards often display this frustration, Harvey says. The study was published in the latest issue of the journal Human Relations.

Entitled employees were also more likely to engage in abusive behaviors, such as insulting, breaking promises, and spreading rumors about coworkers. They were also more likely to engage in political behaviors like flattery, self-promotion, and doing favors, actions that can be used to promote favoritism and influence an uneven distribution of rewards.

But talking to entitled employees is a tricky task, Harvey says. He found that while supervisor communication reduced job-related frustration among employees with low levels of entitlement, it actually increased frustration among employees with high levels of entitlement. But don’t let problematic employees run your practice, says Veterinary Economics Hospital Management Editor Mark Opperman, CVPM, owner of VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colo. Seek feedback from more than one employee and evaluate each team member regularly. If a team member’s negatives outweigh the positives, it’s time to say goodbye.

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