Why Men in Their 40s and 50s Are “Cussing” Because They Feel a Sense of Achievement from Screwing Over Employees… | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Why Men in Their 40s and 50s Are “Cussing” Because They Feel a Sense of Achievement from Screwing Over Employees…

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Forced to get down on one’s knees, demanding expensive compensation, long-time detention, verbal abuse, violence, and spreading on social networking sites….

Customer harassment has become a social problem. Recently, LDP Upper House Representative Takeshi Hasegawa was accused by singer Ikuzo Kichi of harassing flight attendants for his overbearing attitude on board an airplane, and the incident drew criticism online.

Why does harassment occur? Is there a solution? We interviewed Hiromi Ikeuchi, a professor of sociology at Kansai University who studies consumer complaint behavior and psychology.

Previously, customers made unreasonable demands and harassed employees excessively, which were called “malicious complaints. Professor Ikeuchi explains how customer harassment came to be called “customer harassment.

Professor Ikeuchi explains, “In the early to mid-’10s, the media first started using the term ‘customer harassment. In 2006, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, which had previously used the terms “nuisance” and “malicious complaints,” used the term “customer harassment” for the first time in its survey report. At the same time, NHK’s “Close-Up Gendai” program also took up the topic of kasuhara. It was around that time that the term “kasuharasu” began to gain popularity.

Why are middle-aged and older people of relatively high social status being harassed?

So, what kind of conduct does kasuhara refer to?

UA Zensen, an industrial labor union, has identified the types of behavior and attitudes that can be considered harassment based on a questionnaire survey. For example, forcing workers to get down on their knees, demanding expensive compensation, detaining workers for long periods of time, making repeated telephone inquiries, abusive language, and violence. Filming yourself making a complaint and spreading it widely on social networking sites is also a nuisance and constitutes kasuhara.”

These types of harassment have been pointed out for some time, but they have been on the rise for the past three to four years.

I think the COVID-19 crisis has had a big impact,” he said. Many people felt a tremendous sense of entrapment due to the restrictions on their behavior, a sense of loss and frustration at the loss of their daily lives, and were in a situation where they could explode in frustration and anger at any moment.

When I encounter situations that go against my intentions during these days, I feel the need to lash out at someone, even if it is an event that I would normally be able to get past. The fact that many people are having difficulty controlling their emotions may have contributed to the increase in the number of harassment cases.

Workers in their 40s, who are in their prime, vent their frustrations through stress, while those in their 50s vent their frustrations through catharic behavior due to impatience and loneliness.

Last year, S.P. Network, which provides support for corporate crisis management, conducted a survey of company employees who have experience in handling complaints regarding harassment. The results show that 80% of the respondents answered that they were most often harassed by men and that men in their 40s to 60s were the most frequent harassers.

The respondents in their 40s are in the prime of their working lives, and are in a stressful age group. When stressed, they cannot control their emotions well. It is common for them to lower their boiling point of anger and become angry over trivial matters.

Nowadays, many companies are removing employees in their 50s from management positions or forcing them to retire early. Therefore , there are quite a few people in their fifties who, out of impatience, loneliness, or a sense of isolation, vent their frustration through harassment.

On the other hand, Professor Ikeuchi points out that there are also many cases of harassment by the elderly.

The ‘2007 problem’ is behind this. The baby-boom generation began to retire in2007, and they are now in their mid-70s. They still want to be connected to society and contribute to it. They want to teach and guide others, so they push their own ideas on others, saying, “What’s wrong with you? Even if they have the best of intentions, their excessive words and actions become a nuisance to the employees.

The majority of them may be in their 40s to 60s, but it is certain that the silver class, mainly baby boomers, are also causing problems,” he says.

The most common type of complainer among middle-aged and older people with relatively high social status is what is known as a “logic-based complainer.

In short, they are the type of complainers who try to reason with others. They believe that their own sense of values are correct, and they never bend. They keep on accusing the other party with logic until they convince them. This type is often associated with people who have a strong desire for approval, and is said to be the most troublesome type, and has become a particular problem recently.

The type of complainer who blames others for their behavior is likely to repeat the harassment, especially when the same conditions and environment are provided. ……

In psychology, it is called the learning effect. When the brain learns the positive feeling of accomplishment from overpowering an employee, there is a possibility that the brain will be happy and will engage in harassment again.

However , even if someone is a habitual offender, if he or she suffers a great deal of pain, such as losing his or her job or getting divorced, or if he or she is reported to security guards or the police, he or she will indeed refrain from doing so.”

Even if Preventive Ordinances are Created, Will Casu Harassment Go Away?

The spirit of “the customer is God” is pervasive in Japanese companies, especially in the service industry. Professor Ikeuchi analyzes that the customer-first attitude of companies is one of the reasons for the increase in harassment.

Until the early 1960s, consumers were overwhelmingly the weaker party. So in 1968, the Basic Consumer Protection Law was enacted, setting forth the basic principles of Japan’s consumer policy.

Later, in an era of overflowing goods, companies put the customer first in order to get as many customers as possible to buy their products. This attitude has raised consumer expectations.

Consumers are no longer the object of protection. But there are still laws in place to protect them, so the power of the customer is getting stronger and stronger.

With the escalation of harassment in the corporate world, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government seems to be aiming to enact an ordinance for the prevention of harassment. Even if the ordinance is enacted, will it be effective?

I think it will have some effect in making society aware that harassment is a problem. In addition, if specific actions and attitudes that fall under the rubric of harassment are presented as guidelines, it will probably make it easier for companies to respond.

However, it is difficult to say whether the establishment of the ordinance will immediately eliminate harassment in Japanese society, where the customer-first mentality is deeply rooted. If consumers were able to put themselves in the other person’s shoes a little more, it might make it less likely that they would be subject to harassment.

However, now that everything is standardized into manuals, employees are no longer able to think from the customer’s point of view.

It is said that electronics retail stores are a hotbed of complainers, but in some cases, it is the attitude of the employees, such as sloppy explanations or a superior attitude, that causes the customer to become a victim of harassment. Customers, too, have pride and are not amused when a store employee explains things in a superior manner. It is not impossible that such a small miscommunication could lead to a complication.

As long as sales, marketing, and the service industry are jobs that deal with “people,” it seems unlikely that harassment will ever disappear.

But I think we can prevent it from happening. In order to prevent it from developing into harassment, we need to be willing to understand why this customer is so angry, why they are calling repeatedly to complain, and what is at the root of the problem. It is important to be close to the other party and communicate with them.

Even if we create an anti-kasu-harasu ordinance and set penalties, behavior change through external encouragement will not last long. I feel that it is more sustainable to increase the internal motivation of society as a whole to change.

Hiromi I keuchi is a professor at the Faculty of Sociology, Kansai University. D. in sociology from Kwansei Gakuin University. D. in sociology. After working as a Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, she was appointed to her current position in 2011. Specializes in social psychology and consumer psychology. His research focuses on deviant consumer behavior such as excessive complaints and hoarding. His major publications include “Psychology of Consumer Behavior: Better Relationship between Consumers and Businesses” (Kitaoji Shobo, co-author) and “Consumer Psychology” (Keiso Shobo, co-editor).

  • Interview and text by Sayuri Saito

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