Bullying and Harrasment in the Workplace

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In hard times people tend more to be willing to find out why things aren’t working and so a growing awareness of satisfying employees lead to a more detailed picture of bullying in the workplace. Due to great changes in hotel and hospitality industry caused by the economic crisis and its cumulative effects on the behaviour of managers as well as on employees, volition emerged to do more against bullying in the workplace. This paper critically analyzes the reason for the occurrence of bullying and gives impacts on relationship between bullying, work and health. Furthermore it shows emerging problems for the hotel and hospitality industry and gives advice to find appropriate solutions to provide a bullying-free working place. Several published definitions of bullying make it hard to find the genuine meaning of it. According to the Department of Education´s article, published on their homepage www.education.gov.uk in October 2010, bullying can be defined as “Behaviour by an individual or group usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically, emotionally or mentally”.

This definition is accepted and used by various organisations in the UK for anti-bullying publications and treatment policies. Unfortunately this definition covers an array of bullying types, so Zapf D. (1996) categorised five types of bullying behaviour in the workplace to get a closer look on what bullying really is. They are work-related bullying which may include changing your work tasks or making them difficult to perform, social isolation, personal attacks or attacks on your private life by ridicule, insulting remarks, gossip or the like, verbal threats where you are criticised, yelled at or humiliated in public and physical violence or threats of such violence. Referring to those statements it is possible to critically analyze bullying by keeping in mind the definition in relationship with Zapf´s five types of bullying. Nowadays it is well-known that bullying is common in almost every Industry whether in small businesses or international companies. Especially in tourism-related businesses like hotel and hospitality industry, bullying causes capacious damage in different dimensions concerning areas like staff turnover and revenue but also number of staff away sick and motivation of employees. To avoid long-term impacts of harassment, bullying or mobbing has to be nipped in the bud according to Dolan C. (2010):1 who said that “Bullying can´t survive in workplaces that won´t support it.”

To provide such a workplace, is today´s great challenge for managers. Generally reasons for bullying are minor problems which aren’t obviously inflicting damage to somebody like discontent about matters, problems in private live, unintended aspersions compared to a co-worker or sometimes a harsh tone in stressful situations. In Hotel and Hospitality industry the constant contact with different people, whether new staff members or guests, provides an excellent breeding ground for such problems. It could be an annoying guest, a challenging situation or an excessive period of work strain which gets people to offend a colleague. All these minor incidents are harmful for working climate and interpersonal relationships in long-term. These problems could be categorised, in alleviated acceptation, into different types of physically and psychologically violence, referring to Fineman S. (2003), who splits workplace violence into intrusive, consumer-related and organizational violence. Intrusive violence rarely occurs in hotel and hospitality industry but is not entirely excluded. On August 21, 2010 the Intercontinental hotel in Rio de Janeiro was scene of a taking of hostages. 10 employees of the hotel were restraint for several hours until they have been released, after the police took some action towards the criminals. Attacks by terrorists against hotels and employees infrequently take place in most countries, but witnessing...
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