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The hidden cost of toxic cultures: Emerging Europe’s challenge in the legal tech industry

Toxic cultures, characterised by practices fostering bullying, constant negativity, and a hostile work atmosphere, profoundly impact the broader work environment.

Europe’s emergent legal tech sector is grappling with a significant challenge often obscured beneath its innovation and agility: toxic corporate cultures. This issue is critical not only for the industry’s workforce but also for investors, entrepreneurs, and businesses across the continent. 

In the frenetic race for financial growth and the pursuit of the next big idea, the industry often overlooks the detrimental impacts of toxic cultures, overemphasis on financial gain, and the dangerous practice of rewarding toxicity based on revenue contribution.  

These issues can stifle communication, suppress creativity, and fester fear, significantly undermining performance and productivity. These challenges need to be brought to light for their real-world implications to be addressed and remedied. 

Toxic cultures, characterised by practices fostering bullying, constant negativity, and a hostile work atmosphere, profoundly impact the broader work environment. They can inhibit open dialogue and idea-sharing, which are essential to the innovation-centric legal tech industry.  

The actual costs of toxicity extend beyond these immediate consequences. High employee turnover, diminished productivity, potential legal costs from harassment suits, and reputational damage from a toxic culture can be financially devastating. Research has shown that toxic cultures cost US companies nearly 50 billion US dollars annually, and it was the main reason for employee turnover during the first six months of the “Great Resignation“. 

The legal tech industry’s focus on financial success can lead to overemphasizing immediate gains, overshadowing the importance of a healthy work culture. This emphasis on profit can drive unethical practices, cutthroat competition, and a disregard for long-term company health. 

Moreover, rewarding toxicity based on revenue contribution can propagate a culture of accepting and promoting toxicity. It sends a dangerous message that monetary performance is more valuable than respect, ethics, and a positive work environment. 

The intertwined nature of these issues can result in a vicious cycle within the industry. Toxic individuals may flourish in a culture that prioritises financial success and rewards toxic behaviour, further contributing to the overemphasis on financial gain and breeding more toxicity. This cycle not only harms the immediate work environment but can also undermine the sustainability and profitability of the legal tech industry in the long run. 

To combat these issues, company leaders need to reconsider their hiring practices and reward systems, communicate clear expectations, and, if necessary, sever ties with individuals promoting toxicity.  

Establishing a culture that prioritises respect, collaboration, and shared purpose is vital, as research has shown companies focusing on a healthy culture often outperform others financially. For emerging Europe, the legal tech industry’s sustainability hinges not just on big ideas but also on the culture that nurtures those ideas into fruition. 

In conclusion, the hidden costs of toxic cultures should prompt a sea change in the European legal tech industry’s approach. It underscores the importance of rooting out toxic cultures, refocusing on holistic success rather than mere financial gain, and ceasing to reward toxicity. 

Ultimately, the goal should be to foster an environment of respect, collaboration, and trust. This will not only enhance the industry’s growth and sustainability but also ensure its contribution to the broader economic and social progress of emerging Europe.

Read more on this topic at Toxicity and Financial Gain: The Consequences of Prioritizing Revenue Over Culture ( 

This content has been produced in collaboration with a partner organisation through our Global Visibility Programme. Our programme helps companies boost their digital presence and strengthen the thought leadership of their experts. Find out more here.