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Worrying about office politics can trip you

Posted on Aug 02, 02:03PM | IANS

Worrying a too much about office politics can really trip you, says a new finding from Canada.

A study by University of British Columbia (UBC) Sauder School of Business reveals that paranoia about negative gossip or being snubbed leads people to seek out information to confirm their fears, ultimately annoying the colleague and increasing the likelihood they will be rejected or subverted.

"It may be best to ignore impulses that tell you that you're the victim of office politics," says Karl Aquino, professor at Saunder, who led the study, the journal Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes reports.

Aquino explains that it is natural for people to wonder how others view them, especially when social acceptance in the workplace is often rewarded with power and financial compensation, according to an UBC statement.

"However, our research shows employees should do their best to keep their interactions positive and ignore the negative. As the expression goes, kill them with kindness," says Aquino.

In one of the experiments, researchers discovered that people who more readily interpret interactions with others as negative are also more likely to try to root it out through means such as eavesdropping or spying.

Another experiment showed that individuals who reported wanting information about unfair treatment within a group were more likely to have angered their group members and be the focus of rejection.

A third experiment measured study participants' comfort level with a co-worker who is worried about unfair treatment as compared to other types of employees.

Rather than be saddled with a worrywart, participants were 3.5 times more likely to choose individuals who demanded feedback on work quality.

Participants were 16.5 times more likely to prefer working with others keen to get information on work group dynamics as a whole.