Book Smarts

The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business and What to Do About It, by Christine Pearson and Christine Porath, Portfolio, $25.95 (240 pages)

Most Americans have encountered unpleasant or even hostile colleagues and bosses, but incivility is more than just a human resources problem: it also has a financial cost, argue Pearson and Porath, management professors at Thunderbird School of Global Management and the University of Southern California, respectively. The authors identify the range of behaviors that may be perceived as rude (e.g., inappropriate use of cell, texting during meetings, shutting someone out of a network or team) and quantify the costs of lost time and productivity by disgruntled workers making reduced efforts and possibly suffering from weakened commitment, stress, or health problems. Citing such companies with positive cultures as Cisco Systems and Starbucks, the authors illustrate how strong leadership nurtures an environment of cooperation and respect. While the data on the prevalence of rudeness in the workplace is disturbing, the authors maintain an optimistic tone and provide credible, useful tips for managers who recognize that valuing people is not only the right thing to do but the key to profit and productivity.

Reprinted fromPublishers Weekly