Vague Threat

Expression of intent to inflict penalty of an unspecified nature, usually conditioned on future unacceptable behavior, which also may be described imprecisely.

Ex.: “when you butcher the trees like that, I get the feeling you aren’t suited to work on a piece-rate pay system.”

“If you don’t do something about those cartons, I’m going to do something about you.”

“If you keep leaving such a mess outside the parlor, I’ll assume that you don’t like the day shift.”

Pros & Cons
Vague threats can inspire fear, a powerful motivator to most people.  The more vague the threat, the less necessary is consistent follow-up.  But as a conveyor of either technical or administrative information, this type of response does not deliver much.  It sometimes leaves the receiver with no clue about what went wrong, what improvement is desired, or what will happen if changes are not achieved.

Work situations where this 
response is demonstrated:

Slow Work

Poor Quality Work


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