These two options, however, require that the teammates have some power: when underpowered, teammates become frustrated, distracted and defensive.
Common defensive mechanisms employees use to cope with a “bad apple” include denial, social withdrawal, anger, anxiety and fear.
The two looked at how groups of roughly five to 15 employees in sectors such as manufacturing, fast food, and university settings were affected by the presence of one negative member.
For example, in one study of about 50 manufacturing teams, they found that teams that had a member who was disagreeable or irresponsible were much more likely to have conflict, have poor communication within the team and refuse to cooperate with one another. “Most organizations do not have very effective ways to handle the problem,” said Mitchell.
This ripening process can be carried out "commercially" as well; easily perishable produce such as bananas and tomatoes which must travel a long distance are often picked before they are ripe and are treated with ethylene gas on the way to their destination.
“People started helping each other, playing classical music on their radios, and going out for drinks after work.
But when he returned to the office, things returned to the unpleasant way they were.