The worst co-worker

consider a current or past coworker who has low levels of either job performance, organizational commitment, or both. You are asked to draw on concepts from the course to explain exactly why this coworker is so ineffective, and how you and his/her supervisors might react, given that knowledge. The paper should be 1000 words in length (all inclusive). Double spaced, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman, APA format.
If you cannot identify a worst coworker in your own experience, interview a fellow student, friend, current coworker or other acquaintance who can describe a worst coworker. Use that description as the basis of your paper.

Your paper can focus on either a current coworker or a past coworker. The coworker should be a real person, as opposed to an amalgam of multiple individuals. Moreover, some portions of the paper work better if the coworker is of a similar hierarchical level to you–as opposed to a boss or a supervisor. The paper should include the following three sections:

  1. Background (about 150 words)
    ➢ Describe the coworker. Give enough detail that it’s clear why you feel the way you do about this person, with enough richness that the section “brings the person to life” for the reader. Feel free to omit or disguise any details that might be sensitive in nature
  2. Explanations (about 500-750 words)
    ➢ Applying the concepts we have discussed so far in class, why do you think this person was so bad? As in, what caused them to be this way? Did it have to do with their satisfaction, emotions, motivation, stress or perceptions of trust, justice,? Name specific concepts and describe how they apply to your coworker. What exactly qualifies them to be considered the worst? Was it their performance? Is it their commitment to the company and colleagues? Or perhaps it had to do with some other kind of behavior or attitude?
    ➢ Drawing on key terms from Chapters 4-7 and 9, provide an explanation of why, in your estimation, this employee has low levels of job performance and/or organizational commitment. When I say “key terms”, I’m referring to the words that are bolded in the chapters and that appear in the Key Terms section at the end of each chapter.

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Sample Answer


I’ve had my fair share of bad coworkers over the years, but there’s one who stands out as the worst. Let’s call him “Dave.” Dave was a software engineer on my team at a large tech company. He was intelligent and technically skilled, but he was also lazy, entitled, and a negative force in the workplace.

Dave was always late for work, and he would often leave early. He would also take long breaks, and he would frequently disappear for hours at a time. When he was at work, he would often be found browsing the internet or playing video games. He rarely worked on his assigned tasks, and he would often dump his work on his teammates.

Full Answer Section


Dave was also very negative and critical. He would constantly complain about his job, his coworkers, and the company. He would also make snide remarks and put-downs. This created a very toxic work environment, and it made it difficult for everyone else on the team to do their jobs.


There are a number of factors that contributed to Dave’s poor job performance and organizational commitment.

  • Lack of motivation. Dave simply didn’t seem to care about his job. He didn’t see the point in working hard, and he didn’t seem to have any ambition. He was content to coast along, doing the bare minimum.
  • Negative attitude. Dave’s negative attitude was a major factor in his poor performance. He was always complaining, and he was always looking for the downside. This created a very negative work environment, and it made it difficult for everyone else to stay motivated.
  • Lack of skills. Dave was technically skilled, but he lacked other important skills, such as time management and teamwork. This made it difficult for him to get his work done, and it also made it difficult for him to work effectively with others.
  • Personal problems. Dave was going through some personal problems during the time that I worked with him. He was going through a divorce, and he was also dealing with some health issues. These personal problems may have contributed to his poor performance and organizational commitment.

How to address the problem

There are a number of things that could have been done to address the problem of Dave’s poor job performance and organizational commitment.

  • One-on-one meetings. Dave’s manager should have had one-on-one meetings with him to discuss his performance and his attitude. These meetings should have been used to identify the specific problems that Dave was facing, and to develop a plan to address them.
  • Performance improvement plan. If Dave’s performance didn’t improve, his manager should have put him on a performance improvement plan. This would have given Dave a clear set of goals to achieve, and it would have also given his manager the authority to take disciplinary action if Dave didn’t meet the goals.
  • Termination. If Dave’s performance still didn’t improve, his manager should have terminated his employment. This would have been the only way to ensure that Dave’s poor performance and attitude didn’t continue to affect the team.


Dave was a difficult coworker, and his poor job performance and organizational commitment had a negative impact on the team. There are a number of factors that contributed to his problems, but the most important factor was his lack of motivation. If his manager had taken steps to address the problem, it’s possible that Dave could have turned things around. However, as it was, Dave’s poor performance and attitude eventually led to his termination.

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