Bullying in the Workplace
For this paper I will be discussing work place bullying. I will address what work place bullying is, why people bully, the effects bullying has on the individual as well as the organization, what you can do if you are being bullied, as well as offer suggestions for organizations to become bully free.
What is Workplace Bullying?
Workplace bullying involves unwelcome behaviors that can cause emotional harm or make a person feel isolated in their workplace. Workplace bullying might also involve unwanted physical contact as well. These behaviors are considered bullying when they make up a pattern of behavior in which the bully intends to threaten, insult, shame or demean a specific individual or group of people. Bullying can also be described as the use of aggression in order to control or hurt another person. According to the Canadian Center for Health and Occupational Safety (2005), examples of bullying can include: • spreading rumors, gossip, or innuendo
• rejecting someone or isolating someone from other workers • withholding necessary information or purposefully giving the wrong information • making offensive jokes or sexually inappropriate jokes • tampering with personal belongings or work equipment. • intimidation, criticizing or threatening a person consistently over time According to a study conducted by Careerbuilder, bullying affects the life of 27% of American adults. The most harsh forms can lead to a number of stress-related health complications that include high blood pressure, immune system diseases, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Being bullied at work can disrupt a person's productivity at work and can derail a person’s career. Careerbuilder (2011) surveyed more than 5,000 workers and found that about 15% of their sample reported feeling bullied by one of their supervisors, and 12% believed they had been bullied by someone they worked with. Another seven percent identified their bully as someone in the organization than their immediate boss. Surprisingly, seven percent said they had been bullied by a customer. These statistics mean that about 41% of employees had been bullied by someone while at work. Why do people bully?
The reasons people bully others are similar to causes of bullying at school. These reasons include things such as personality, experience in early childhood, underdeveloped communication skills, and intolerant believes about ethnic or other minority groups (Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper, 2003). Although some of the research on workplace bullying finds that males and females are equally likely to bully, some other studies find that women are not reported as bullies as often as men are (Rayner, Hoel, & Cooper, 2002).
Studies on bullies have shown that these individuals have strong sociopathic tendencies, which ascertain their targets with persistent intent and employ in ‘serial bullying’ (Zapf, Einarsen, Hoel, & Vartia, 2003). There is also evidence that the victims of office bullies have personality differences between those who get bullied and those who do not. Studies suggest that victims of bullying are less independent, less extraverted, less emotionally stable and more concerned about their job (Coyne, Seigne, & Randall, 2000).
Personality traits may contribute to workplace bullying, however studies have shown that there are strong links between bullying and the workplace environment (Salin, 2003). Research has shown that high occurrences of bullying are often linked to highly stressful and unpredictable work environments as well as those that are overworked. Peyton (2003) also highlights the importance of workplace influences and describes the type of organizational culture that promotes bullying as: • a fiercely competitive environment
• a major change in the organization
• a climate of uncertainty
• a strong autocratic of management
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