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Thread Started by #Anonymous

Is it really common to use abusive words in a company? At present I am working in a manufacturing company where almost everyone uses abusive words. Even the MD who is well educated also uses abusive words. It has become a way of culture and no one raises objection to it. As a HR professional I find it really offensive. I come from a family where no one uses abusive words. How to stop this culture in the office because any new employee will not bear use of abusive words.?
1st August 2013 From India, Mumbai
Nowadays many people in big corporate offices think it is cool to use abusive words. They are used by both male as well as female employees. Do you think it has become acceptable?
1st August 2013 From India, Mumbai
Use of abusive words is not at all common in Organizations. It is not acceptable in any case. Use of abusive words spoils the professional environment in any Company. It may create hindrance in expansion of business worldwide. It could be a major reason for attrition.
Hence, I would advise you to discuss about this with the top management and revise the HR Policy with strict rules to make a healthy working environment. This should be implemented throughout the Organization and even top management people have to abide by this rule.
Now, it\'s your first responsibility to convince the top management people about this.
1st August 2013 From India, New Delhi
When using abusive language is construed as misconduct in standing orders or service rules of organisations, it cannot be acceptable as routine communication among employees. It is a culture issue and reflects the culture prevailing in the organisation.It is the senior leadership that is responsible for initiating or spreading any culture in the organisation.Therefore the initiative to change all this shall come from the top.There shall be education through workshops on manners and etiquette and behaviour with which the senior leadership shall be associated so that people at lower down the heirarchy take change seriously.Then you need to intrduce some practices that reflect courteous behaviour as seding thank you mail to the others etc.

1st August 2013 From India, Mumbai
In the organization where I work our Director uses the most abusive language especially to describe a very critical situation. This happens almost every day. And there are a few who think it very wise and feel it enhances their greatness in using these words.
Politeness and proper language must be used everywhere. There is no trend of using bad language even when stuck in the most difficult situation. Abusing does not solve.
I suggest, purchase a white board of a decent size and nail it at a place prominent for everyone to pass it daily. Make it a point to write good quotes for improving upon the manner and method of behavior of people in general. Shoot e-mails to all with good moral stories and enhance the self-thinking values of the staff.
I am sure it will work and you will see positive results very soon.
All the Best.
2nd August 2013 From Tanzania, Dar Es Salaam

Like other members mentioned, it's ABSOLUTELY not acceptable in any corporate environment, irrespective of the sector/domain.

And again like others mentioned, start from the TOP. And pl be ready for the long haul--such matters CAN'T be solved overnight.

First pl check what the Standing Orders/Service Rules of your Company say reg such behaviour. Usually these aspects are well-covered.

Next suggest collect some case-studies or Articles about the damage such behaviour can do Organizations & mail/send to your MD--the idea being to SLOWLY begin the change in him. Then you can discuss with him on how to take it further within the Organization--step-by-step.

If your company's Standing Orders/Service Rules do mention this aspect, raise it with him--suggest DELETE them, since anyway it's not being followed. Usually such a drastic suggestion will force anyone to THINK.

But IF your MD vetoes your suggestions, I think you are hitting th wall--MAYBE it's NOT worth your effort. Either you need to adjust [which has the downside of even you DEVELOPING such a habit/culture over a period of time--meaning you need to be on the guard all the time even while dealing with such people and YET not getting embroiled into it yourself] or if you can't just take it anymore, look for other opportunities.

All the Best.


3rd August 2013 From India, Hyderabad
Dear All,
Changing a professional working environment is a difficult task but everything has a good and a bad side. As I said earlier about changing work environment, it also has a good aspect and that is the sense of competition and eagerness for achieving something. Make it your armour. Find the workers who mostly use abusive language and on the other side find the ones who uses them least. Start appreciating the one who don't use such language in a common gathering or meeting. This will bring a feeling of competition in the employees and would help in improving the environment. But you have to be very careful as it can also have repugnant effect so you have to be very tactful and creative. All the best.
3rd August 2013 From India, Mumbai
Using abusive language in the office is definitely not right and desirable. Use of such language only speaks volumes on the very culture of such individuals. I feel no HR manager should ever agree to such usage and must bring in corrective measures, to maintain a healthy progress. In this case since you say that your MD himself is using abusive words, it is most disgusting and undesirable. What would happen if he uses such terminologies to a customer ? Try to bring in a good work culture and if things still do not improve, look for better pastures. There is always a slot for good material out there. Wish you the very best
3rd August 2013
Dear anonymous and other contributors,

The practice of using abusive language from top to floor level in that particular organisation reminds me of the Sanskrit adage " YATAA RAAJA TATAA PRAJA "! In small business establishments like shops, restaurants, workshops and the like we find most of the proprietors using abusive language whenever they find slackness in their employees and openly justify it on the grounds that such bitter treatment they received from their mentors during their formative years made them what today they are and their harshness alone can instill the sense of fear in the minds of the employees not to make mistakes.Anyway, it is reminiscent of their origins.But in a corporate enterprise, such a sordid practice is adopted unabashedly even by the chief-executive is something unheard of. May be such a CEO is a person of rags to riches quite unable to forget his lowly origin and reflects his inability in the form of abusive language when things go contrary to his expectations. An anecdote from Birbal's life in this connection: During an informal morning chat with his courtiers after the royal duties, emperor Akbar suddenly slapped Birbal who was next to him for no apparent reason other than testing his reflex response.Birbal's natural reflex system urged him to return the blow; however how can he do it when the doer is the emperor? So he slapped the gentleman next to him.The entire court as well as the man got slapped stood in astonishment for they could not find any rhyme or reason in both of their actions but suspected something is there and decided that if get slapped, simply to slap the next without asking the person who slapped.That way the slap started continuing with domino effect through out the kingdom and finally the same night during their maha cuddly mood in the bedchamber, the Queen suddenly slapped Akbar the Great straight in to his face! Yelling in pain, Akber asked the reason for the slap and the Queen replied that it is all in the game for a game is a game. Up on his insistence the Queen explained that there was a rumour through out the country that a great game has started in the court that morning and the strict rule is that one cannnot hit the person back when slapped but find some one else to slap and in continuation of the game someone slapped her and hence finally his slap had come back to him through her.So, the moral is what you sow in the wind, you will reap in the whirlwind. Try the suggestions given by the members.Still not possible, you seek for an organization of educated people.Education is entirely different from literacy.
3rd August 2013 From India, Salem
A fantastic anecdote by you Mr.Umakanthan to say you get back what you give and therefore sow the seeds of rigt culture. This succinctly sums up the issue. Thanks for sharing this slap game.

4th August 2013 From India, Mumbai
I m happy to see overwhelming response for this post. Abusive Language/Slang Language is not accepted anywhere because no culture teaches this or preaches this.One and only one solution Strictly apply rules.If it is not accepted quit the place. Like as we say to our children - either behave and talk properly with others and if others are not reciprocating properly do not mix up with such uncultured people.We hr people are very much responsible to ensure cultural growth in industry and foster healthy work environment.Let us addresss this issue and try our best to bring in good environment in the industry.
4th August 2013 From India, Vadodara
Subject - Re: Use Of Abusive Words In The Office - Hr Professional
Use of abusive language in the organisation is not at all acceptable in any organisation.
Use of abusive language in the organisation may be developed due to informal or too much friendly relations between the employees. Formal relations are required for implementing systems in the organisation. You have to discuss this issue with top management & all other related staff. Based on the directives of seniors you may issue the guidelines to all regarding maners & etiquetes. You have to closely monitor these maners & etiquetes for long period.
4th August 2013 From India, Kolhapur
I truly appreciate the reasoning and anecdote given by Mr. Umakanthan.M to clarify and highlight the results of such behaviours.

However, in my working career I have even experienced and observed Seniors (Directors and owners) from the so-called royal blood too behaving indecently.

In one instance in a meeting one of the officers left behind his pencil on his table and requested for one that were lying in plenty on the conference table but at a distance. To his request the Senior replied, "Use your foot." I was simply taken back and the next month left the company for better prospects.

In another instance the MD (belonging to a very affluent class) of a company of very high repute kicked, abused an Officer and violently thumped on the table for having made an error in one of the presentations. Everyone present were so taken aback by this behaviour that I could sense an atmosphere of extreme fear.

In a third instance at a lunch break during the monthly meeting of the company, another MD commented to the Managers and other Seniors, "Eat, Eat, this what you guys are coming here for." On hearing this some of the Managers immediately left their half finished lunch, went back to their respective offices, wrote down their resignations and tendered the same to the MD. When the MD noticed that 8 of the Managers were quitting together, he had no option but to apologise for this rude remark.

So, each instance in life teaches us something. We have to only keep our eyes and ears open and be alert.
5th August 2013 From Tanzania, Dar Es Salaam
Yes, Satish, the so called blue-blooded people too at times exhibit indecent behaviour and use abusive language like riff-raff when they lose their equanimity because of emotional overwhelming. Sooner or later, they will repent for such inappropriate rudeness and at least appologise for as an assuaging attempt. Of course it is understandable for uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. But, there are people in the higher echelons of the management who indulge in enjoying the saddistic pleasure of rude behaviour with others because of the positional advantage eventually they gained. That is condemnable. So, the enmasse resignation of the 8 managers in the episode you've quoted is a right response to the M.D's dirty comment for it made him understand that managing is an act of interdependece.As I mentioned in my previous post that many people notwithstanding their academic achievements remain mere literates because of their use of intemperate language in critical moments. Only shock-treatments like the above can mend them.
5th August 2013 From India, Salem
Use of abusive words are neither common nor accepted in the service sector companies, IT, or any other for that matter, but in factories!! it is like a must and should requirement, it is so common that the people used to it have accepted them as normal...... The reasons are: in factories maintaining the labour is the biggest issue, they majorly consist of hardly literates, and the people who are accustomed to the harsh kind of lifestyles......

I remember an illustration in United Breweries (UBL), the HR is well educated and so cool, i could have never expected harsh words from him at all, when we were discussing regarding some issues related to education and projects, all of a sudden a person entered who is a labour at the factory, he was about to enter his office ,the HR just got up and shouted at him with harsh words, with slang ofcourse, he had so angry look on his face, hearing that the labour left the office, and all of a sudden the HR was cool again and smiling!, I did not understand at first later i came to know that the labour was drunk and he had no work there and intentions were mala-fide , and i kept observing such behaviours and realised that in those kind of situations harshness does help rather than any other kind of behaviour, majorly because of the reason that those labour force understand the tone behind the language and strictness behind the voice and they hardly listen to the words, if you speak in normal language they hardly reply and keep repeating the same most of the times!! another reason behind HR shouting at him was the female presence in their, he did not wanted those drinkers to misbehaviour or misconducts...... there are chances of where labour misbehave even outside the office, so it was treated at the Office itself......

Employees, even at the government sector, they are so accustomed to the slang language, if you are not strong enough to defeat them you will be the poppet tomorrow at their hands, you can not expect them to listen to you and neither they do their work nor they take you seriously, everything behind such language is just the "FEAR of Authority", no office will have any intention to abuse anybody, it's a kind of practices, trust me many try to avoid a lot but when it is a practice then it is a practice........

the same examples in Police department, gods, it's worst their......

I do not support that but i can not at the same time oppose ..... i do not know why, but it has great impact!!

So all I wanted to say is, never let it touch you and bother you,, because they will have no meaning there as well as no intentions behind those words, just consider them as the practice and try your best not to use them by yourself in future....... you can not change the system, some systems have nothing so strong so that we can break them to built any good, some good may happen many times and sometimes bad, but certain sectors can never be run by politeness and simplicity.........
10th August 2013 From India, Bangalore
.............." The industrial world would be a more peaceful place if workers were called in as collaborators in the process of establishing standards and defining shop practices, matters which surely affect their interests and well-being fully as much as they affect those of employers and consumers."
11th August 2013 From India, Bangalore
the same examples in Police department, gods, it's worst their...... (sorry, plz correct it as there.....)
11th August 2013 From India, Bangalore
Somebody have suggested you to have a talk with the top management regarding such environment, but that mostly leads to your discharge from the company as soon as possible, being an HR it is always expected to manage everything to the maximum extent and try to bring changes, once such complaints reaches the top management it shows the incapability to adjust to the environment and failure to co-operate with the coworkers and incapability of self dependency one of the most important criteria of an HR, to execute such plans you must become the thorough employee of the organisation first and then expect the respect for your ideas and implementations..... these crucial observations must never neglect in the present competitive practical world....... i suggest you be the optimist and try to adapt yourself and make sure you have a strong base, because these are very sensitive issues not just affecting the ego of the co-workers and also the issues of sociability and authority................
11th August 2013 From India, Bangalore
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