iPhoneIcon_BigQuickie post about an interesting paper I found. Now there is actual evidence of how being a jerk negatively impacts on team performance. An Israeli paper looks at how being exposed to rudeness affects teams in emergent situations.

The study
A randomised, double-blind study where 24 NICU teams (one doctor and two nurses were randomised into one of two groups who were to be exposed to a time-critical training scenario while being evaluated by ‘observers’ from ‘another hospital’. One group was exposed to rudeness before starting each segment of the scenario. The other group (control) received only neutral comments. The rude comments were made by the ‘observers’ and were faily mild, such as ‘not impressed by the quality of medicine in Israel’ and ‘wouldn’t last a week back home’.

Afterwards, videos of the teams’ respective performances were scored by blinded independent referees. Scoring was based on diagnostic performance, procedural performance, information sharing and help seeking. The referees awarded points on a 5-point scale.

Composite scores from diagnostic performance fell from 3.2 in the control to 2.6 for the group exposed to rudeness. Procedural performance fell from 3.2 to 2.8.

“It thus seems that rudeness reduced information-sharing among the physician and the 2 nurses, which, in turn, harmed their diagnostic performance. Similarly, rudeness reduced helping among the team members, which, in turn, explained the reduction in their procedural performance.”

Here’s a selection of scorings on procedural variables:

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 18.39.46


Take-home message
Rudeness has a measurable negative impact on teams.

Study lives here:
Pediatrics. 2015 Sep;136(3):487-95. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1385. Epub 2015 Aug 10. The Impact of Rudeness on Medical Team Performance: A Randomized Trial. Riskin A1, Erez A2, Foulk TA2, Kugelman A3, Gover A4, Shoris I3, Riskin KS5, Bamberger PA6.

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 18.47.11

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One Response to ON BEING A JERK

  1. No-hoper says:

    Nice guys finish first. Maybe this should be shown to some ‘old school’ consultants to help with their teaching of juniors/students.

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