Getting angry at your job means you’re less likely to quit

A new study says you’ll chicken out

You rarely hear people talk about how their burning hatred for their boss motivates them to out of bed and go to work each morning.

But a study from the Cambridge Judge Business School has challenged the conventional wisdom, by saying that if you’re angry at work, you’re actually less likely to quit your job.

The study found that these generalisations are often a myth: When an identification with a company is high, anger over job situations often decreases (rather than boosts) a person’s intention to leave because such employees want to stick it out and improve the organisation rather than walk out in a huff.

Credit: Click Jim

Credit: Click Jim

Researchers at the Cambridge Judge Business School found that, “for an individual highly-identified with the organisation, anger directed toward the organisation is similar to self-blame because the organisation is part of their self-definition, and hence such people are less likely to respond to negative feelings by disengaging.”

Put another way: if you care enough about the company or organisation you work for, being pissed off at work and hating your boss might actually motivate you stick it out.

The practical implication of the research, the authors say, is that it is companies should think twice before trying to promote certain emotions in the workplace as being beneficial or detrimental to their organisation.

“The study suggests that company policies that are designed to promote positive emotions or minimise negative emotions may in fact not have the intended effect,” says Jochen Menges, University Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour at Cambridge Judge Business School and Professor of Leadership at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany. “So rather than seeking to suppress certain workplace emotions, companies should instead adopt practices that seek to encourage greater organisational identification.”