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"Horrible Bosses" Are Way too Common

As bad as your boss is, chances are (I hope) that you're not planning to have him or her murdered, as do the three lead characters in the recently-opened movie Horrible Bosses. Which leads to the question asked by Wayne Hochwarter, the Jim Moran professor of Business Administration at Florida State University: How bad are bosses, really?

Hochwarter surveyed 400 mid-level employees in a variety of industries to get a bead on the state of boss-dom today. He found:

  • Bosses who put themselves first. 42% said their bosses were more concerned with saving their own skins than they were with enabling their employees to be productive. And 29% of employees said they believed their boss would 'throw them under the bus' if that's what was required for the boss to keep his or her own job.
  • Bosses who don't keep their word. 42% of workers said that during the past year, their boss had failed to follow through on a promise he or she had made to them. More than 25% said this had happened to them at least five times in the past year!
  • Bosses who are duplicitous. A third of workers said their boss is 'two-faced,' saying nice things to them in person but then saying negative things about them behind their back.
  • Employees who run for cover. Two-in-five of the survey respondents said they would not acknowledge their boss if they ran into him or her on the street.
  • Bosses who lie. Almost a quarter of workers--24%--said they had caught their boss in a lie but never received any explanation or apology.
Hochwarter notes that because the job market is so bad in so many industries, many employees don't have a "Plan B," giving bosses a bit more leeway to be lousy.

How bad is your boss? Do you think most are as bad as these?


Image courtesy Marco Gomes
Kimberly Weisul is a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant. Follow her on twitter at