Bullying in the Workplace
In the United States, more than a third of the workforce have been tormented on the job, according to a 2010 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute, a research and support group whose goals are to understand, correct and prevent all abuse at work. It has been estimated that about 30% of U.S. employees over the course of their work life experience some type of workplace bullying (Workplace Bullying Institute, 2010).
What is Workplace Bullying?
“Bullying,” by definition is the process of intimidating or mistreating somebody weaker or in a more vulnerable situation (Microsoft Word , 2007). Research has been done on the occurrence of workplace ...view middle of the document...
4. Exploitation, of a known mental or physical condition in order to gain an unfair advantage of a person or situation (Workplace Bullying Institute, 2010).
Who Gets Bullied
Bullying can exist at any level of an organization, bullies can be superiors or co-workers, and some research suggests that bullying behaviors are most commonly committed by superiors towards subordinates. It is estimated that this form of bullying affects 13.6% of U.S. workers (Fitzpatrick, Cotter, Bernfeld, Carter, Kies, & Fouad, Dec 2011). Nearly three-quarters of those identified as bullies hold positions of authority, but their behavior goes beyond just being irrational or lacking strong management skills. The trademark of these abusers is that they repeatedly target a specific individual with the intention of causing distress or harm. As a result, the picked-on employee feels singled out and held up to public ridicule. Sometimes the mistreatment is more subtle, with bullies taking credit for their victims' work, cutting them out of the loop, or sabotaging their projects (Moninger, 2012).
The Impact of Workplace Bullying
Mental and Emotional
Bullying has a huge impact on a person’s mental and emotional health, leading to low self-esteem, eating disorders, drug & alcohol abuse and isolation. Additionally, anyone spending a significant amount of time in a intimidating environment is going to feel somewhat stressed out and nearly half of bullied workers go on to develop serious anxiety and depression; 20 to 30 percent end up with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. And the toll on their psychological and physical health is high, with many people reporting mental health problems and a wide variety of other ailments (WPI, 2010). "Adults who are harassed at work are also more prone to migraines, stomach upset, and body aches,” Emotional anxiety, in turn, affects physical health (Moninger, 2012).
When abuse becomes routine, the work environment becomes toxic. Quality work and employee dedication are impossible. Bullying is violence and should not be subject to negotiation, conflict resolution tools are a waste of time. Employers may experience absenteeism, reduced productivity and turnover as a result of employee bullying (Elfi Baillien, Dec 2011). Organizational impacts have gained interest from researchers who have attempted
to understand personality characteristics of bullies and victims to reduce organizational
interruptions (International Small Business Journal, 2011).
Solutions to Workplace Bullying
Bullying and the Law
The primary reason bullying occurs so frequently in workplaces is that bullying is not yet illegal, there is no law in any U.S. state against workplace bullying. However, there is a national campaign to pass an anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, so you could get informed and help to get that campaign out there. Find the Healthy Workplace Campaign website at...