(A Global look at possible those at risk and how to fix this issue)

In this fast-paced work environment of the 21st century, there is a toxic work culture spreading at an alarming rate. According to the recent report by Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI), the results show that employees working in organizations with four to seven significant changes in 12 months were two times as likely to say they observed misconduct than employees working in an organization without any significant changes. Until more is done to sustain high-quality ethics in the work environment more and more cases of mis-conductance will be reported.

At the workplace the firms need to understand to prioritize compassionate behavior over pressurizing the work colleagues to obtain results. People need to be kind and considerate rather than showing negative competitiveness. In the race of climbing the success ladder people are forgetting about the basic essence of life that is human respect. It is very important to show respect towards another human being and try to be humble in nature. But the million-dollar question is, ‘Who is responsible for toxic work culture? Is its behavioral problem or is it due to the working system?’

According to the Deccan Chronicle newspaper article “Horrible bosses, toxic work culture exposed online”, there are some examples of horrible bosses mentioned by Nivi Shrivastava in her research that will move you off your feet (Shrivastava, 2020).

Story 1: Shivani Mehta, a senior brand consultant, recalls her awful work experience at her last job. “In my last job at a PR agency, I faced a very disturbing work culture. My boss was a complete bully who was always shouting at us. He created unnecessary work pressure and overloaded us with work. I was asked to attend events at odd hours and my payments were delayed if I argued about anything. It was a small firm and there was no one to report to, so I quit after a few months.”

Saad Mughal, a team leader at a social media and content marketing firm, shares that a particular ex-colleague created problems among the team to get “attention”.

Story 2: A senior fashion editor, who requested anonymity, talks about the common sight in many offices of women not supporting other women. According to her, the job is less dependent on talent and more on how much you can kiss ass. 

“To top it all, I was a single mom. So when I had to go for my son’s parent-teachers’ meeting or report card day I was told that a day’s salary would be cut. When I was a feeding mom, I never got any help from my boss who would often ridicule me and say that companies should not hire mothers.”

The senior editor laments about how offices don’t have crèche or flexible, work-from-home options. “And, sadly you were never considered for a promotion if you were family-oriented,” she adds.

Story 3: Anushka Sharma, who currently works in an IT firm, shares with us her experiences when she worked in a hospitality chain. “I had to go through seriously unacceptable work conditions. Right from ugly politics of top management to no work-life balance, long unpaid hours, and an unsupportive boss — I went through a tough time and struggled with mental and physical health issues. I was stressed, depressed, and suffered from hormonal imbalance. I quit the job to save my sanity.”

Emtrain analyzed over 2.5 million data points collected from 40,000 employees at 125 companies in 2019 to reveal the behaviors that contribute to healthy – and unhealthy – workplaces. More than 80% of workers say they would not report harassment if they saw it, and 41% say even if they did report harassment, their managers wouldn’t take them seriously. As per the 2020 Workplace Culture Report, the research on responses obtained from a database narrates that around 40,000 employees in more than 125 companies traces workplace conflict reverting to six main key indicators: three people indicators (unconscious bias, social intelligence, and pre-existing mind-sets) and three organizational indicators (in-groups and out-groups, power dynamics, and norms and practices) (Emtrain,2020).

Success measures to fix the toxic work culture


Step 1: Leaders must explore their journey to self-discovery and start taking responsibilities for their mis-conductance towards their team members in the firm. A manager or a leader is equally responsible for creating toxic working as an abuser by turning a blind eye on the issue and knowingly allowing bad behavior to exist and be acceptable in the team. This is the first and foremost approach to eradicate the virulent culture at the workplaces.

Step 2: Communication is a key to solve all the problems. By having the conversation out in the open and being transparent to each other is highly recommendable to sustain a healthy work lifestyle. If by conducting meetings and discussing each other’s viewpoints in the office can solve the complex operational or financial problems, then why not let’s try to discuss internal conflicts. To have a transparent discussion can lead to attain a non-biased or unfavorable working environment in the industry. So, let’s talk.

Step 3:  By observing and becoming familiar with root causes of internal conflicts one can learn a lot about the real problem that led to this unlikely situation. We need to ask ourselves who are the people that dominate the workplace and undermine their work colleagues? Are there people who are being suppressed for having a different opinion than others? Is someone getting bullied at the workplace?

Step 4: After settling on the same page or rather say, when everyone’s on board, it is very important to conduct a reflection. One needs to understand the feedback received by the employees and work accordingly to boost morale and to restore unity.

Step 5: Lastly, in order to maintain a healthy work environment and to prevent future violations of work ethics, there is an urgency to address the structural problem that led to this situation in the first place. Strict rules and regulations against deterring behavior at the workplace must be introduced and serious actions must be taken against the abusers.


  1. Shrivastava, N., 2020. Horrible bosses, toxic work culture exposed online. Deccan Chronicles, [online] p.1. Available at: <https://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/culture-and-society/210720/horrible-bosses-toxic-work-culture-exposed-online.html> 

  2. Emtrain, 2020. Emtrain Workplace Culture Report 2020 Reveals Key Causes of Toxic Workplace Culture, Little Progress Has Been Made Despite MeToo Movement. [online] San Francisco: prnewswire.com. Available at: <https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/emtrain-workplace-culture-report-2020-reveals-key-causes-of-toxic-workplace-culture-little-progress-has-been-made-despite-metoo-movement-301020369.html> [Accessed 29 January 2021].

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