Allowing staff to swear at work can benefit them and employers, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia.
A study by professor Yehuda Baruch looked at the use of expletives and swearing in the workplace from a management point of view.
The study found regular use of profanity helped express and reinforce solidarity among staff, enabling them to express their feelings, such as frustration, and develop social relationships.
“Employees use swearing on a continuous basis, but not necessarily in a negative, abusive manner,” Baruch said.
“The primary issue for management is whether or not to apply a tolerant leadership culture to the workplace and deliberately allow swearing.”
The research suggested that a ban on swear words and reprimanding staff might backfire. “It would remove the source of solidarity and in doing so could lead to decreased morale and work motivation,” Baruch said.
Women also swore more than might traditionally be expected, especially among themselves, the study found.