For many, working in high-pressure work environments means thriving for growth. But such cut-throat cultures erode employee morale, eventually poisoning the well.

An invigorating, healthy competition is beneficial, but malign rivalry may circulate within a company. A study of 1.4 million reviews on the job and recruitment website Glassdoor found that toxic workplace culture was the main reason for resignations last year. The cut-throat culture was the greatest driver of this toxicity, with its hyper-competitive work situation with constant undermining from management and peers. These workplace cultures create internal competition among employees from the start, says Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in Washington, DC. Additionally, this competitive corporate culture begins at the top and cascades down through middle management to lower-level employees. “Cut-throat is where an organization over-values competition to the point that their main focus is to beat another company.” Competitive workplaces push workers to surpass their colleagues through long hours, continual networking, and other means. Corporate culture research company CultureX revealed that political connections influenced promotions more than teamwork in a recent survey of more than 16,000 business leaders from 650 multinational organizations. It suggests that cut-throat culture is still prevalent.

A win-at-all-costs mentality breeds a poisonous environment that coerces employees to resign. Taylor proposes setting “guardrails” to keep a cut-throat culture in check and create healthy competition. “There should be an agreement that no individual can win at the cost to their colleagues or organization.”