Free «Workplace Jealousy / Envy» Essay Paper

Free «Workplace Jealousy / Envy» Essay Paper

Envy/jealousy is known to be an affective-cognitive structure, which includes evaluation, anticipation (anticipation of possession), comparison, and the experience of shame, interest, guilt, and attachment. Envy/jealousy marks prospective and achievable values. Emotional components of envy/jealousy include anger due to withdrawal, aversion to the present state and shame for the transition to another state, destruction, and the alleged satisfaction from possession. Certain studies point to the fact that the feeling of envy/jealousy is not constructive for the organization and HR management. At the same time, some other researches show the benefits of the envy and jealousy for the HR management (including such HRM practices as compensation, absenteeism, training and development, performance appraisal, turnover, and staffing). Therefore, the feelings of envy and jealousy create the favorable conditions for the proper staff’s functioning within an organization as this feelings serve mostly as a motivational tool for the employees at the workplace.


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The Essence of Jealousy and Envy at the Workplace

The essence of envy and jealousy finds its extensive application in various fields of human knowledge. For instance, the philosophers consider the phenomenon of envy/jealousy to be an anthropological characteristic, which is rooted in human nature due to its imperfection, the desire for comparison and the superiority over the others (Haris, Saidabadi & Niazazari, 2016). Sociology defines envy/jealousy as a social phenomenon and focuses on the causes of its emergence and its forms, drawing attention to social stratification. The economy sees the reasons for envy/jealousy in the prevailing social setting oriented on the consumption and enrichment, accumulation of material goods and the differentiation of opportunities for the latter (Huang, Dong & Wyer, 2016). In psychology, envy/jealousy is defined as a feeling of vexation, irritation due to the recognition of the superiority of another person, connection of the feeling of envy/jealousy with self-dependence and self-esteem, and the desire to dominate (Huang, et al., 2016). According to the psychological compound of Andries (2011),

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“envy implies a desire to have what someone else already has: material goods, social status, traits or skills (such as intelligence, beauty, etc.). Envy is manifested in relation to property belonging to someone else, jealousy in relation to an asset that belongs to us already and we are afraid to lose it” (p. 35).

From the psychological perspective of the study, envy/jealousy is suggested to be related to gender and age characteristics, features of character, value orientation, communicative intolerance, defensive mechanisms, cynicism, subjective well-being, perfectionism, life satisfaction, narcissistic personality manifestations, psychological health, and a locus of control.

There is the problem of developing a unified definition of the concept of envy/jealousy in service relations. Terminological polysemy is determined by the variety of forms in which envy/jealousy is manifested in service relations, for the definition of which various terms are also used (Huang, et al., 2016). The complexity of creating a single concept is due to the fact that scientists from different countries conduct independent research in parallel and use different terms to determine envy/jealousy in official relations (Huang, et al., 2016). The prospects for further theoretical research lie in the development of a single field of values ​​in the sphere of investigating the problem of aggression in official relations. Envy/jealousy in official relations is developed under the conditions when one employee sees that his/her colleague is more successful in moving up the career ladder, more talented in the field of professional activity, has a consistently better reputation, and deserves greater encouragement (material and moral) from management, while his/her own professional achievements are estimated much more modestly. At the same time, the material benefits associated with work include pay rise, promotion, granting of the special equipment and moving to the best offices.

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Work-related non-material benefits include praise, approval and recognition. In addition to excellence in the professional sphere, envy/jealousy can also be caused by parameters that are not related to direct performance of official duties, for example, appearance, youthfulness, health, marital status, leisure and recreation opportunities, etc. (Haris, et al., 2016). Hence, according to another study of Özkoç and Çaliskan (2014)

“envy/jealousy which could be generated through some factors among employees may contain some malevolence in addition to anger and may result in serious outcomes such as violence, mobbing, gossip, non-productivity, and increased rates of turnover by negatively affecting the organizational climate which is one of the major factors that could lead organizations to success” (p. 42).

Thus, it can be concluded that the objects of envy/jealousy in official relations can be conditionally divided into two groups (Haris, et al., 2016). The first one is associated with the process, conditions, results and evaluation of professional activity, which could be regarded as some of the professional objects of envy/jealousy (Haris, et al., 2016). The second one is not related to professional activities being based on personal characteristics and quality of life of the colleagues at work, so this group of objects involves non-professional objects of envy/jealousy (Haris, et al., 2016). In a generalized meaning, the subject of envy/jealousy allows understanding what is included in the ideal construct of human life. It is worth noting that envious/jealous attitude is not caused by something insignificant and not valuable in one’s life, something to which a person does not have a ‘close interest.’

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In the context of organizational psychology, the phenomenon of envy/jealousy is the least studied issue. According to the studies, “the direct effect of perceived leadership from the faculty members on envy/jealousy management is not sufficient, but other relationships and effects between variables are significant and it can be stated that there is a significant association between spiritual leadership and organizational envy/jealousy management” (Haris, et al., 2016, p. 64). It means that in reality there are no theoretical and empirical studies on envy/jealousy in the sphere of organizational behavior, although the socio-psychological determinants and laws of envy/jealousy are such that service relations represent the most ‘favorable arena’ for their manifestation (Haris, et al., 2016). Despite some acknowledgment of the important role of emotions at the workplace, organizations are more often viewed as an area where feelings are manageable, limited or absent. The traditional point of view suggests that service relations are largely based on rational processes and impersonal criteria.

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The Reasons of Jealousy and Envy at the Workplace

For the envious relationships to emerge in the process of comparison with others, workers should be similar to each other, and have some similar positions on certain issues. The more similarities there are between the colleagues, the more likely is the emergence of envy/jealousy in the service relationships. Similarity is seen as the result of physical, psychological and spatial factors (Haris, et al., 2016). For example, it could be similarity in positions on such issues as the rating of the organization, career hierarchy, age, education, geographical location, marital status, personal characteristics, career aspirations, cultural background, political relations, social status, views on life, property, etc.

The contextual determinants of envy/jealousy in official relations at the workplace correspond to the working conditions in which envy/jealousy can arise as a result of competitive relations in case a threat to one's position arises. Competition is characterized by mutually exclusive achievements of the goal, that is, the success of one person requires the failure of the other (Haris, et al., 2016). A situation in which only one person achieves the desired success is characterized by jealousy rather than envy for the other person (Haris, et al., 2016). Nevertheless, in terms of competition, two people want the same thing, but do not have it, while in case of envy/jealousy one of them gets what they want. In addition, competition can involve more than two people, while envy/jealousy, usually occurs between two people at the same time.

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Envy/jealousy is considered a negative emotion, while competition is perceived more positively, serving as a stimulating factor to the colleagues. For example, Haris, et al. (2016) regard competition as a fair phenomenon, and view envy/jealousy as the opposite, because competitive behavior is defined by norms and rules of restrictions that make them fair, while envious behavior is not subject to these restrictions and norms. Envy/jealousy and competition are considered to be closely related concepts in terms of their joint manifestation, nature and purpose (Haris, et al., 2016). Personal factors can also contribute to the emergence of envy/jealousy at the workplace (Haris, et al., 2016). An individual approach to the study of envy/jealousy suggests that some people are more prone to envy/jealousy. Envy/jealousy as a personality trait consists in the feelings of inferiority and evil will, and characterizes people who constantly compare their position to the position of others, and consider themselves to be worse than others in this comparison. Thus, most people experience envy/jealousy, but some people experience it more often than others. Considering the relationship between self-assessment of professional activity and envy/jealousy, it could be admitted that the causal relationship between them is ambiguous as it is not clear whether low self-esteem leads to envy/jealousy, or envy/jealousy reduces self-esteem.

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The Benefits of Jealousy and Envy at the Workplace and in the HRM Practices

Within the framework of the HR practices, envy/jealousy is closely connected with compensation, absenteeism, training and development, performance appraisal, turnover, and staffing. For each of these categories, envy/jealousy is a kind of motivation for further professional improvement. The success of a colleague at work will most definitely force other workers to move forward and attain new achievements (Eslami & Arshadi, 2016). It can be assumed that if one manages to improve his/her work level, another person will also be able to do so. Every person has certain stimulus (Eslami & Arshadi, 2016). This aspect refers to the sources of compensation for the employees’ work and performance and serves as a motivation for further training and development to attain performance appraisal. In addition, envy/jealousy focuses not on the disappointment with one’s poor performance, but on a specific goal that is to be achieved in the future (Özkoç & Çaliskan, 2014). If someone else is successful, this does not mean that another person is not able to overtake him/her (Eslami & Arshadi, 2016). Envy/jealousy helps see motivation, but not one’s own inability in doing something (Özkoç & Çaliskan, 2014). Hence, “managing emotions at the individual level (person’s ability to manage their emotional state, especially negative emotions) is currently considered a basic component of emotional intelligence” (Andrieș, 2011, p. 36). Thus, due to the turnover rates limitation, the HR practices should orient envy/jealousy in such a way that it helps understand the employees’ goals and opportunities.

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The feeling of envy/jealousy is a source of inspiration for a person at the workplace. Wishing to achieve as much success as one’s colleague, one imperceptibly reorients him/herself not only in their thinking, but also in their behavior. It is a very significant aspect as it is all about converting negative energy into the positive one. One’s own good example challenges the advisability of a negative reaction (Huang, Dong & Wyer, 2016). By helping another person to succeed, one becomes the best in all respects (Eslami & Arshadi, 2016). Also, within the framework of HR management practices, envy/jealousy is the way to an indescribable feeling of happiness (Özkoç & Çaliskan, 2014). Herein, it is important to remember that getting into a spiral of negative emotions and thoughts is easier than getting out of it (Eslami & Arshadi, 2016). As a rule, envy/jealousy results in dissatisfaction, while the dissatisfaction results in doubt, and doubt leads back to envy/jealousy. However, within this circle, it is possible to intromit the training and development, and performance appraisal. Also, such a situation sometimes brings about a turnover, which is a negative phenomenon (Eslami & Arshadi, 2016). However, it may result in the development of new staffing approaches to attracting the new staff members. However, the HR manager’s task is to break this incessant circulation (Eslami & Arshadi, 2016). It is the HR management of a company that should wish success to all the staff members and rejoice with their colleagues about their achievements (Özkoç & Çaliskan, 2014). Herein, it eliminates the source of negative feelings and gives room for optimism (Eslami & Arshadi, 2016). This is a simple but reliable way to happiness.

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Within the HR practices, envy/jealousy is an available subject of study. If you are jealous that someone has this and that, then you would most probably wish to have the same thing. In fact, this is a good incentive as it gives your career a new dimension (Eslami & Arshadi, 2016). Thus, “when employees feel envy/jealousy, they will be motivated to bring balance back or ease the pain. One possible way for an envious employee to restore balance is to harm the envied employee” (Eslami & Arshadi, 2016, p. 1800). It means that it is necessary to be open-minded and ready to learn from other people. This is a natural process of studying. Anyone who sits in a corner and accumulates envy/jealousy in him/herself completely loses the chance to achieve success.

Envy/jealousy is also beneficial as it indicates the self-reliance. It is very easy to miss the moment when one’s soul is penetrated by the destructive feeling envy/jealousy. Emotions are generated constantly and unconsciously. It is rather difficult to manage them, but it is absolutely necessary. It is important to realize that the feelings one has towards his/her colleagues may have a destructive character. Hence, it is necessary to learn how to handle such feelings correctly (Eslami & Arshadi, 2016). It is paramount not to allow negative programming, creating a stable mental form, which will slowly destroy a person. It is important to cultivate the certainty that the success of other people does not infringe on a person in any way.

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Thus, it is advisable to consider the following main determinants of the emergence of envy/jealousy in the service relations to implement the advantages of envy/jealousy in the work of the HR management. These aspects include the objective presence of the factors of competition in business relations. First of all, it refers to the recognition of the situation of professional comparison as a significant area having a high rating in the system of meaningful orientations. Secondly, competition is accompanied by the contextual factors determined by organizational conditions and specific interpersonal interactions (the degree of psychological and spatial proximity, the opportunities and habits of informing about the success and achievements of colleagues, the existence of separate offices or a common office). Thirdly, there are the personal factors that are determined by the person’s inclination to react to the situation of a colleague’s superiority by expressing the feelings of annoyance, irritation, discontent and aggression. The intensity of envious relations between colleagues determines the specifics of their behavioral manifestations, which is an important direction for further theoretical comprehension and empirical study of the phenomenon of envy/jealousy in service relations.

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