How do you deal with jerks at work?

26 Nov 2019

work colleaguesUniversity of Queensland researchers want to know about your daily interactions with that workplace rogue.

Is there that one person who talks over you in meetings?

Or maybe you’ve had your lunch pinched from the communal fridge?

UQ School of Psychology PhD candidate Mylyn Dat is studying how and why people respond to office scoundrels.

“We’ve all had experience of someone in our workplace that has committed some kind of transgression, be it as common as receiving a passive-aggressive email or as serious as being subject to a vicious tirade of abuse,” Ms Dat said.

“We’re interested in understanding why people respond to jerks at work in the ways that they do.

“Is it with fantasies of revenge and punishment or with a focus on reintegration and harmony?

“We’re interested to unpack what someone might want to achieve with any particular response.”

Participants must be over the age of 18 and be working a minimum of three days for their employer during their week of participation. Full details are available online.

The current study follows previous research showing that people wish to achieve specific goals when they respond to workplace jerks.

“We found that employees typically report several different motives that explain their desired response to a workplace transgressor,” Ms Dat said.

“That is, when employees explain why they desire to forgive, reintegrate, punish, avoid, and exact vengeance on a transgressor they typically report specific key motives that they would like to achieve.

“This current study will help us to further explore these goals and employees’ general experience of workplace transgressions over the course of a working week.

“We want to find out how employees’ perceptions of workplace transgressors and these different motives that underlie their response to these transgressors shape job satisfaction, job engagement, and general experience of the workplace, and how these motives play-out over time.”

Interested individuals can find out more online.

Media: Mylyn Dat,; Dani Nash, UQ Communications,, +61 7 3346 3035.