Definition of Bad News and Its Impact on Employment Relationship: Analytical Essay

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Table of contents

  1. Part 01- Literature review
  2. Theoretical definition of bad news
  3. Impact of bad news on the employment relationship
  4. Process of delivering bad news
  5. Analyzing the delivery of bad news
  6. Qualitative methodology
  7. Qualitative data collection techniques
  8. Target population and sample
  9. Potential access and ethical issues
  10. References

Part 01- Literature review

In this section, at first, we give the definition of bad news and its impact on the employment relationship. Secondly, we describe the process of delivering bad news. Finally, we analyze the delivery of bad news. The delivery of bad news is very difficult in organisation. The people who deliver the bad news may be threatened by the victim (DFTB, 2017). The bad news in corporations' is related with poor performance, customer complaints and termination etc. The manager should take care when they deliver the bad news because it is an emotional matter. The manager should deliver bad news in such way which doesn't affect the employee and management relationship. The manager should plan and organise the bad news for delivering which doesn't affect the organisation's performance. Otherwise, the poor delivery of bad news may affect the performance and enhances the employee dissatisfaction rate.

Theoretical definition of bad news

The definition of bad news is understood by the perspectives of psychology, medical practitioners, and sociologist. Baumeister and Vohs (2001), they tried to conduct research how people respond both bad events and good events. Good events are positively taken such as pleasant, desirable, and beneficial outcomes. Bad events are oppositely unpleasant, undesirable, and harmful (Gilmore, 2012). They also construct the definition of bad news from different two approaches. First approach is focused on negative news which is accepted as bad news generally. For example, negative performance feedback, termination and job layoff are always considered as bad news. Second approach of bad news is asked the participants for defining the bad news. It is related to qualitative research studies such as request refusal; blame management and bad news managed by supervisors. The researchers conducted the case study based on professionals' perceptions gives different definitions (Bies, 2012). From the perspective of doctor, bad news has changed the expectation of the future. They can't expect that bad news is affected the patient's health so badly. Another approach from behavioral, cognitive and emotional, bad news is sustained after receiving the news. Experts said that bad news is persistent in brain sometimes after receiving the news. When a certain time went, a man took the bad news easily. Bad news is negatively affected the personal and professional life of an individual. Experts said that the effect of bad news is higher than good news. The bad news is affected five times more than good news. People overestimated the effect of bad news than good news. Bad news wears off slowly than good news. People remembered the bad events large time than good events. Overall, it is found that bad events are highly affected the performance of individuals.

Impact of bad news on the employment relationship

It is observed that impact of bad news is negatively affected the performance of employees. When an employee gets bad news about their job, it discourages them to work ineffectively. Bad news also deteriorates the relationship between employee and employer (Cutler, 2018). An employee has less confidence on the employer, and they generate a negative impression about the employer. When the leader of an organization gives bad news like salary cut, promotions postpone and transfer; it affects the performance of individual employee negatively because they can't give concentration on their task. It is also found after gets bad news mistake rising in working place. Overall, bad news has a negative impact on employment relations.

Process of delivering bad news

The effect of bad news depends on the process of delivery. When a manager can deliver the bad news in a friendly manner, it reduces the impact. On the other hand, a harsh message of bad events may increase the impact on performance. McClenaghan and Lofland (1976) made the distinctions of bad news in two approaches. One who has delivered the bad news in personal life is called an amateur (McClenaghan and Lofland, 1976). In contrast, one who has delivered the bad news in occupation is called a professional. Amateur is delivered bad news without any formality. They said that you failed in the exam. But professionals should maintain formality for delivering the bad news; they should understand the emotion and magnitude of the receiver (Lepore, 2012). Sometimes they used the formal written letter for providing bad news. They should always emphasize on the magnitude of employee. US Marshal delivered the bad news in three ways such as preparing, delivering and shoring. Preparing stage, people should ensure about bad news. In delivery stage, they should deliver the actual news to the receiver. In the shoring stage, sometimes the delivery may change the message based on needs and demand. Sometimes, it is very difficult to provide actual news (Amber, 2014). For example, when one knows about death of her colleague, she should not tell the colleague that your father is no more. In contrast, she can say that your father is sick and hospitalized so I think you should go now. This message is not directly harmed right now. This is the technique of delivering the message. One should be responsible for delivering the message. Clark and LaBeff (1982) found the same three processes of delivering the bad news such as preparing, delivery and transition. They should warn previously before delivering the bad news (van Zuilen, Caralis and Granville, 2013). One should not give bad news directly. In the preparation phase, the manager should give advance warning, create paper trail, provide an opportunity for voice, create a disclaimer, and give rehearsal. In the delivery phase, the leader should create timing of delivery, medium of delivery, face management, and truth-telling etc. In final stage of transition, they should engage in public relations, scapegoats, and appeal procedures.

Analyzing the delivery of bad news

Researchers argued that bad news has strategic functions analysis. There are different primary and secondary functions affected which are described below.

Performance correction: It analyses that bad news helps to correct the performance. When an employee gets information about their poor performance, they improve their performance for avoiding punishment.

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Blame management: Many employees pass their responsibility shoulders of another. They don't take any negative responsibility (Shaw, Dunn, and Heinrich, 2012). Negative feedback reduces blame management. They can't give blame to another.

Commitment and support: When employees get negative feedback from management, they are committed to their job because they are fired for consequently poor performance. They support the organization to achieve the organization's goal and objectives.

Self-management: Employees can't ignore their mistakes because a manager monitors the activity (Legg and Sweeny, 2015). Managers should concern about bad news when they are positioned in the employee. They should provide softly.

Qualitative methodology

The qualitative methodology focuses on charter, attitudes, and behavior of respondents. The researcher collects data for deep understanding of individual emotion, feelings, and attitudes. There are two approaches of qualitative research such as inductive and deductive research approach. Inductive research approach focuses on established theory. It only proves the established theory from a case study. On the other hand, the deductive research approach is more appropriate when a researcher wants to find out new relationships and theory. Experimental research follows the deductive research approach. In the previous research part 1, a researcher used the qualitative research method and deductive research approach because it is focused on case study and qualitative data. There are two research philosophies such as interpretivism and positivism. Interpretivism emphasizes on qualitative data, small sample, and systematic procedures. In contrast, positivism focuses on quantitative data, large sample, and unsystematic techniques. Ontology philosophy refers to the study of concept such as existence, being and reality (Bell, Bryman, and Harley, 2019). It considers the question of how entities are categorized and groups into the fundamental level. Epistemology philosophy refers to the study of knowledge, origin, scope, nature, and rationality. In part 1, we use the epistemology philosophy for hospital.

Qualitative data collection techniques

A researcher should collect data by following appropriate techniques because it enhances the data quality and reliability. Accurate data gives accurate research outcomes, and it enhances the credibility of research (Saunders, Saunders and Spradlin, 2017). There are different approaches of qualitative data collection such as semi-structured interviews, unstructured interviews, and focus group and diary studies. Semi structure interview means that a researcher takes appoint from the respondent and prepare the question for interview (Lemon, 2017). An unstructured interview refers to the random question without any selected question. Focus group is conducted when the respondents are illiterate and village people. The researcher asks certain questions on topic. In diary study, a researcher writes everything which they see or listen from respondents. In part 1, a researcher should use a semi-structured data collection procedure because it gives the opportunity to ask formal and informal question. They get accurate information from managers. This helps us to know the performance of hospital where I work.

Target population and sample

A researcher should select the target respondents and population for conducting research. They should take decision who is the target population for research. The target population is selected based on research objectives and aims. The research objective is how a leader should deliver the bad news to the employee without destroying the employee and management relationship. In this perspective, the researcher should select the manager, supervisor, and employee of organization for target population (Speight Vaughn, 2019). The researcher should also choose sample size for research which is the representative of population. The sample size should be 30- 50 because qualitative research takes small sample size.

Potential access and ethical issues

A researcher should not act in a way that is harmful for individuals and organizations. The researcher should take permission before takes information. They can also take appointments for data collection. They should disclose any personal information which may affect the personal life of respondent (Velip, 2018). The researcher should not disclose the name of participant to the public. They should ensure confidentiality about information. They should disclose the objective of research to the participant before takes information. The researchers have not right to use any vital and confidential information of organisation.


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  15. van Zuilen, M., Caralis, P. and Granville, L. (2013). Breaking Bad News: A Small Group Session Teaching Communication Skills for Delivering Bad News. MedEdPORTAL Publications.
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