Drug Abuse in Upper Management

While substance abuse among lower-level employees is quite common, and almost expected, upper management can still fall prey to the same vices. How often does this happen? Is it with the same frequency as lower-level employees? Is this behavior even tested or reported as often?

Employee perception of safety is one of the most important factors in developing strong leadership among a group of employees. When employees are exposed to abusive behavior and careless reactions, they begin seeing their working environment as threatening. This can not only result in the destruction of employer-employee relationships, but also in employees quitting en masse.

In a study involving the role of supervisors, it was found that even though a company may have delineated rules on alcohol abuse, the environment of the workplace is more important and therefore more influential than the guidelines set down by the company. The working environment is a community and a collection of individuals who will be spending a lot of future time together. Therefore, when alcoholism becomes a problem, members of the working community may not actually report these incidents or show any measurable reaction to the circumstances. [1]

It is important to understand that, if change is desired, behavior must alter as well. If there is a problem with substance abuse in upper management, the problem must be dealt with effectively.

Research on employees’ perception of safety discusses how important it is to encourage a belief in a safe workplace. The research shows that employees who are confident and assured of workplace safety achieve higher productivity and have better organizational potential. Supervisors who exercised better authority over safety rules received higher ratings from their employees and were more equipped to maintain their leadership roles over their staff. [2]

There are other factors which affect whether or not upper management is reported for irresponsible behavior. A study by Granville King describes how coworkers and employees are more likely to report a wrongdoing if the action is considered or perceived as intentional. However, even lower-level employees are far less likely to report incidents which are perceived as unintentional, accidental, or naïve. Drug or alcohol abuse by upper management can be seen as intentionally irresponsible and as a form of betrayal, but differences in status can negatively affect proper reporting to the correct authorities. [3]

Even management can “fall off the wagon” concerning substance abuse. It is crucial to provide all workers a safe, peaceful and creative environment by which to make a difference in the goals of the organization. Make sure that all levels of your company are tested for drugs and alcohol using high quality testing equipment. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Ames, Genevieve, and William Delaney. “Minimization of Workplace Alcohol Problems: The Supervisor’s Role.” Wiley Online Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2011. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1530-0277.1992.tb01362.x/abstract.

2. “The relationship between employees’ perceptions of safety and organizational culture.” ScienceDirect – Journal of Safety Research . N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2011. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V6F-45W35GF-2&_user=10&_coverDate=09%2F30%2F2002&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=gateway&_origin=gateway&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1687672856&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=6744e224e4a0c37a90845d0803a5a11f&searchtype=a.

3. “Perceptions of Intentional Wrongdoing and Peer Reporting Behavior Among Registered Nurses.” SpringerLink – Journal of Business Ethics, Volume 34, Number 1. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2011. http://www.springerlink.com/content/nq6076mwg3m411nx/.

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