Passive aggression at work.
I was talking with a friend about passive aggression in the workplace today and he has what I think is a wrong-minded view. Consider this scenario:
A worker is assembling a mechanical device but forgets a critical step, such as installing a certain o-ring, and a co-worker sees the error but says nothing. Whose fault is it?
My friend’s view is this: The bottom line is that the worker who did the improper work is totally responsible because they performed improper work.
I’ve seen people take the view that in this scenario the worker doing the faulty work should be absolutely absolved because another saw his mistake and did nothing but I think this is wrong-minded as well.
My thought is that the worker in this scenario is responsible for the bad work they did, and it needs to be appropriately addressed, but the MUCH bigger problem is the passive aggression of the other worker; their inaction caused the company harm and they cannot be trusted.
Workplace bullying gets plenty of attention but it seems to me that passive aggressive behavior is a very serious problem that largely remains covert.