Thursday, 16 August 2012

Passive–Aggressive Behavior

Passive–Aggressive Behavior

Passive-aggressive behavior is an umbrella term describing certain types of behavior in interpersonal interactions. It is characterised by an obstructionist or hostile manner that indicates aggression, or, in more general terms, expressing aggression in non-assertive, subtle (i.e. passive or indirect) ways. It can be seen in some cases as a personality trait or disorder marked by a pervasive pattern of negative attitudes and passive, usually disavowed, resistance in interpersonal or occupational situations.
Passive aggressive behavior should not be confused with passive resistance (also called conscientious objection). In conflict theory and Marxist philosophy, passive resistance is a rational response to demands that may simply be disagreed with. Passive-aggressive behavior should also not be confused with covert aggression, which consists of deliberate, active, but carefully veiled hostile acts and is distinctively different in character from the non-assertive style of passive aggression.
Passive aggressive behavior can manifest itself as learned helplessness, procrastination, hostility masquerading as jokes, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.

Signs and symptoms

The book Living with the Passive–Aggressive Man lists 11 observations that may help identify passive–aggressive behavior:
Ambiguity or speaking cryptically: a means of creating a feeling of insecurity in others or of disguising one's own insecurities.
Intentional Inefficiency: Intentionally being late and forgetting things, another way to exert control or to punish.
Convenient forgetfulness: To win any argument with a dishonest denial of actual events.
Fear of competition
Fear of dependency
Fear of intimacy as a means to act out anger: the passive–aggressive often cannot trust. Because of this, they guard themselves against becoming intimately attached to someone.
Making chaotic situations
Making excuses for non-performance in work teams.
Victimization response: instead of recognizing one's own weaknesses, tendency to blame others for own failures.
A passive–aggressive person may not display all of these behaviors, and may have other[clarification needed] non-passive–aggressive traits.

In the workplace

Main article: Workplace conflict
Passive aggressive behavior is a common response from workers and managers which is particularly noxious to team unity and productivity. In workers, it can lead to sabotage of projects and the creation of a hostile environment. In managers, it can end up stifling teams creativity. De Angelis says "It would actually make perfect sense that those promoted to leadership positions might often be those who on the surface appear to be agreeable, diplomatic and supportive, yet who are actually dishonest, backstabbing saboteurs behind the scenes.
In brief, to respond to this kind of hostile behavior, people need to control performance expectations, parcel out important tasks so there are several responsible people involved, and re-check frequently to see how much delay the passive aggressive worker can generate before the team leader stops him."

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