The researchers note that the increase in retaliation afforded by the option to passively punish was attributed entirely to women in the survey. This finding is consistent with previous research that has shown men are more likely to be directly aggressive. Women chose to get back at the boss much less than men when the only option was direct retaliation (under a time crunch, for example). But when offered a passive way to strike back, the percentage of women willing to retaliate in either active or passive ways rose to 68 percent, while men remained unchanged at 51 percent.
Getting back at the boss is seen as more acceptable when the retaliation is an act of passive resistance rather than a direct attempt to do harm. Mismanagement may therefore carry high hidden costs.