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The High Cost of Workplace Drama


Did you know that unresolved workplace drama could be costing your organization millions of dollars?

A large New England hospital wanted to discover what conflict cost it in one year. It hired outside analysts to do the work. The results were astonishing. In one conflict alone, involving a doctor and two nurses, the cost to the hospital was $60,916. This was the average cost of each conflict at the hospital. And, the hospital had over 200 conflicts in that year for a staggering cost of $12,183,200.

Hospitals are not alone. Since the Great Recession, an unhealthy mixture of anxiety, fear and stress has caused extraordinary upheaval in many organizations. Burned out, overworked, and underappreciated employees who were fortunate enough to keep their jobs are now acting out. Under pressure to meet unrealistic expectations, they are blaming, backstabbing, and bemoaning. The deluge of workplace drama is hampering productivity and personal effectiveness.

Meanwhile, overwhelmed leaders are barraged daily with demands to perform more with less. Trying to stay afloat from the crushing blows to their bottom line, they rarely consider the high cost of unresolved conflict.

According to Gallup research, negative behavior costs the U.S. economy more than $350 billion dollars annually in lost productivity.

Similarly, research by CPP Inc.—publishers of the Myers-Briggs Assessment and Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument—found that U.S. employees spent 2.8 hours per week dealing with drama, or the equivalent of 385 million working days. That’s a lot of unproductive time and money spent complaining, gossiping, and retaliating; time not spent doing the job employees were hired to do.


In addition to wasted time and money, unaddressed workplace drama leads to poor morale, high absenteeism, and attrition. Increased stress-related medical conditions, safety issues, and grievances are also costly side effects of conflict.

It’s time to stop bleeding hearts and bottom lines, and start influencing positive, sustainable culture change. Holding dicey conversations requires a courageous leader who has a spine. By learning how to talk about unmet expectations, unkept commitments, and unacceptable behavior in a way that resolves conflicts while building people up, businesses will become stronger, more profitable, and friendlier places to work. It takes time, energy and effort – but compared to the real costs of unresolved workplace drama, finding healthy resolutions is a win-win solution for everyone.

Insight Management Consulting of Crofton, MD influences positive, sustainable change in the workplace by teaching leaders how to have a spine. Please contact us and learn how to diffuse the drama in your workplace. We will teach you how to use tools you already have – your spine, heart, mind, mouth, eyes, ears, hands and feet – to make your organization a stronger, more profitable and pleasant place to work. For more information call Beth Rudy at 717-615-3646.

About The Author

Beth Rudy is a Senior Consultant with Insight Management Consulting, an organizational and leadership development firm that focuses on communications training. She uses her passion, personality, and positive energy to influence individuals to become better communicators. She has found that being an excellent communicator has helped her gain confidence to express her thoughts more clearly, share information more effectively, and resolve conflict more respectfully. To bring a communications class to your workplace please contact Beth.