It’s natural to hold employees committing time theft accountable–after all, they are responsible for their own misbehavior. But are these employees fully at fault if their work environment tacitly condones the behavior?
Crystal Harold and her co-authors found that laissez-faire leaders contribute to an environment where time theft is normalized.
Employees model their own behavior after their leaders’, and this hands-off approach to management signaled that time theft isn’t as serious as it actually is. Employees high on conscientiousness were less inclined to indulge, even with absent leadership.
Laissez-faire leadership still has a time and place; Harold advises leaders to adopt management styles best suited to the nature of their work and employees.