Horrible Bosses not Limited to the Silver Screen

New Captivate Office Pulse identifies four types of bad bosses - and reveals an uncomfortable fact

Jul 21, 2011, 08:30 ET from Captivate Network

CHELMSFORD, Mass., July 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Captivate Network, the leading digital news and entertainment network engaging and empowering millions of people on-the-go during the workday, has released a new Captivate Office Pulse survey of more than 670 North American white-collar workers on their experience of bad bosses. Some of the results might shock even the most hardened denizens of the continent's cubicles.

Bad bosses have been around forever. If you look at pop culture they're easy to spot: Mr. Slate, Fred Flintstone's short-tempered boss at the quarry; Montgomery Burns, Homer Simpson's cruel task-master; Franklin M. Hart Jr., of 9-to-5 fame; the bumbling Michael Scott from The Office and most recently Jennifer Aniston's character – Dr. Julia Harris – in Horrible Bosses.

"Our research has identified four types of bad bosses," said Mike DiFranza, president of Captivate Network. "The 'Time is Money' boss, the 'Workaholic' boss, the 'Judge and Jury' and the 'Empty Suit' boss. The research also found something that might cause people to reconsider just how often they gripe about their bosses."

The "Time is Money" Boss

This boss simply overworks employees because they rely on them too much. The "Time is Money" boss tends to make employees feel like they are squeezed and must focus only on what impacts the bottom line. How can you spot a boss that overworks employees? Start with the engineering department at a large company.

The "Workaholic" Boss

The "Workaholic" boss works so much and tends to be compelled to do all of the work himself, leaving employees to feel micromanaged. Employees with a workaholic boss tend to be the most likely to be in the market for a new job. How can you spot a workaholic boss? He or she takes no time for personal activities during the day.

 The "Judge and Jury" Boss

A judgmental boss spends a lot of time taking lunch, making personal calls while in the office or running errands – passing judgment on those in the office. Do your peers rate your performance very high but your boss rates you much lower? If so, you might work for a judgmental boss. How can you spot someone who works for one of these bosses? Employees most affected by these bosses have no work life balance and are very unhappy with their life, are generally between 35-54,  work in a small office and/or makes between $40-$75K.

The "Empty Suit" Boss

An unproductive boss may or may not be easy to spot because they tend to be out of the office a lot and might be one of the easiest to deal with. Because the typical age of employees with an empty suit boss is 50-65, it's a good bet that many of them have a boss younger than they are. How can you tell you have an unproductive boss? He or she may lead you to excessive drinking.

The Shocking Truth

While many bosses on TV and in the movies may be over-the-top, real people do have real gripes with their real bosses. Consider some of typical boss behavior reported in the Office Pulse: heading out for lunch (56%), work-time gabfests with family and friends (45%), planning parties and get-aways (42%), running errands (30%) and skipping out early (10%). Thankfully, unlike the picture painted by Aniston's character, only a small percentage of employees (3%) indicated their bosses engaged in sexual activity during the workday.

People who complain about their bosses might want to think twice before they complain too loudly. The fact is, when it comes to bad behaviors in the workplace, employees are far more likely to engage in them than their bosses. How much more likely? They're 50% more likely to take a smoke break, 75% more likely to go for a stroll, 53% more likely to go out shopping and 91% more likely to shop online. But it doesn't stop there – they're 72% more likely to check their personal email, 131% more likely to go onto Facebook, Twitter or other social networks and 50% more likely to engage in sexual conduct during the workday.

About Office Pulse

Captivate Office Pulse research is designed to offer an empirical glimpse into the white-collar work place.  Office Pulse is an ongoing research initiative that offers timely analysis and insights that help a variety of audiences – particularly marketers (and bosses we hope) – make better business decisions.  Our proprietary panel of upscale professionals in the top markets in the country consists of 4,000+ influential consumers and business decision makers.  The "Horrible Boss" findings are actually part of a bigger survey on work/life balance that will be released soon, so stay tuned.  For more information about Captivate Office Pulse, visit officepulse.captivate.com

Additional Resources

A video of "on-the-street" interviews around the Office Pulse Bad Boss surveys can be viewed on YouTube. Captivate Office Pulse can be followed on Twitter as well as on Facebook.


The research used to develop this study was based on the responses to an online blind panel in July, 2011 by 673 people in 14 major metropolitan centers in the US and Canada. Captivate commissioned MarketTools, the leader in software and services for Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) and Market Research to build and manage panelists across Captivate's Footprint of 1,000+ class A office buildings. The panel, consisting of over 3,500 white-collar professionals, is the source for workplace behavior and advertising communications measurement for dozens of Fortune 500 companies and their agency partners.

About Captivate Network

Captivate is the leading digital news and entertainment network engaging and empowering millions of people on-the-go during the workday. Captivate operates the largest network of office elevator screens in North America and delivers unique video content and targeted advertising through elevator displays, in-building events, and digital assets. Captivate was founded in 1997 and acquired by Gannett in 2004.  The company is headquartered in Massachusetts with offices throughout North America. For more information visit www.captivate.com.

SOURCE Captivate Network