In their book Unleashing Human Energy Through Culture Change: From a Toxic Culture to a High Performance Organization, Don Rust and Alan Weinstein identify six key factors that will lead to a toxic, unproductive work environment in any business, no matter what its sector. Those factors are:

  1. Conflict between employees and management, or “industrial warfare”
  2. Employee disengagement from their work. Alan and Don describe this as “industrial depression”
  3. Bully management, a coercive management style that uses threats, aggression and discipline
  4. An over emphasis on short term profits
  5. Lack of job security
  6. Work that is dull and uninspiring, and poor working conditions