Last Updated Dec 9, 2009 3:45 PM EST
Why people blame
Research authors Nathanael J. Fast, an assistant professor at Marshall, and Larissa Tiedens, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University, found that common traits of chronic blamers include defensiveness, narcissism and insecurity.
Specific situations can also trigger blaming behavior. "Blaming becomes common when people are worried about their safety in an organization," said Tiedens in a USC press release. "There is likely to be more blaming going on when people feel their jobs are threatened."
What it does to your company
The study found that when members of an organization publically blame others, the behavior can spread quickly throughout the company. "Blame creates a culture of fear, and this leads to a host of negative consequences for individuals and for groups," said Fast.
The negative consequences for employees of companies in which a blaming culture is prevalent include the facts that they will be less willing to take risks, less creative and less likely to learn from mistakes.
How to stop blaming behaviors
The researchers suggest techniques for managers to employ to make blaming behaviors less common:
- Publically acknowledge your own mistakes.
- When blaming employees, do so privately; when praising, do so publically.
- Make sure your company embraces mistakes as learning opportunities.
Image courtesy of Flickr user fontplaydotcom, CC 2.0.