Bullying and Harassment

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Managing bullying and harassment in the workplace

When most of us hear the term ‘bullying’ we seem to reflect back on childhood memories of the schoolyard bully tormenting others for self-amusement, much to the distain of others around them. Unfortunately this seems not to be the only time such behaviour occurs. Workplace bullying and harassment can be defined as ‘Offending, socially excluding someone or negatively affecting someone’s work tasks. It can occur repeatedly and regularly over a period of time where the confronted ends up in an inferior position and becomes the target of systematic negative social acts’ (Einarsen et al, 2007). This essay will explain the significance of bullying and harassment in the workplace by exploring, with the use of current literature, the forms of bullying and harassment, how they differ and the costs of this behaviour to a diverse workplace physically, psychologically and financially. This information can be used to inform management how to best mitigate the damage of bullying and harassment in the workplace and extinguish behaviours that can damage the culture of the organisation Bullying and harassment has become a sad reality in a large majority of workplaces. It is estimated that one-fifth of all employees have experienced bullying and harassment (Crawford, 2005). Forms of bullying and harassment for many years have been through face-to-face communication. However, the increased use of the internet has seen more instances of cyber-bullying and harassment through the use of emails, text messages and social networking sites (Query & Hanley, 2010). Bullying and harassment in itself are quite different in nature. Bullying is decribed as being ‘Almost exclusively psychological that tends to be targeted at anyone who is competent, popular and vulnerable’ (Query & Hanley, 2010). Although bullies are deeply prejudiced, diversity based on sex or race is generally unnoticed, mainly discriminating on the basis of competence....
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