The study defines negative workers as those who do not do their fair share of the work, are chronically unhappy and emotionally unstable, or bully(4) or attack others.
Felps said he was inspired to investigate workplace conflict by his wife's experience with a "bad apple" and what happened when the worker was out sick for several days.
"When he was gone my wife said the atmosphere of the office changed dramatically," Felps said. "People started helping each other, playing classical music on their radios, and going out for drinks after work. But when he returned to the office, things returned to the unpleasant way they were."
"He truly was the bad apple that spoiled the barrel," Felps said.
The researchers said they found that a single "toxic(5)" or negative team member can be the catalyst(6) for a group's downward spiral(7).
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