While there is growing recognition about the role of informal networks in organizations and the importance of energizers in the workplace, chances are that managers and organizations are missing a potentially devastating expense: de-energizers. Over the past decade we’ve studied the effects of negative or de-energizing ties, defined as enduring, recurring set of negative judgments, feelings, and behavioral intentions towards another person. While de-energizing ties may represent a relatively small proportion of ties, they have a disproportionately potent effect on individuals, other employees, and teams within organizations. At the individual level de-energizing relationships can result in blocked opportunities, decreased motivation, and even organizational isolation. The consequences include decreased levels of thriving, lower performance, and increased likelihood of exit. The effects on others are very similar. Countless co-workers often get sucked into these negative situations. At the team level de-energizing ties can cause more conflict, lower team cohesion and trust, and decrease boundary spanning activity. The result is less access to critical information, a decrease in the ability to solve problems, and overall lower team performance. De-energizing ties are not insurmountable, though. Managerial actions, such as conflict resolution, training and mentoring, as well as staffing changes, can change the dynamics of informal organizational networks and minimize the effects of de-energizing ties. Likewise, individual actions such as better awareness and strategic management of one’s own network can decrease the effects of de-energizing relationships. In this article we detail these and other recommendations for leaders and individuals to manage the effects of de-energizing ties
Parker, A., Gerbasi, A., & Porath, C. L. (2013). The effects of de-energizing ties in organizations and how to manage them. Organizational Dynamics, 42, 110-118.