What is workplace bullying and who is affected?
Workplace bullying refers to repeated, unreasonable actions of individuals (or a group) directed towards an employee (or a group of employees), which is intended to intimidate and creates a risk to the health and safety of the employee(s). Workplace bullying often involves an abuse or misuse of power. Bullying includes behavior that intimidates, degrades, offends, or humiliates a worker, often in front of others. Bullying behavior creates feelings of defenselessness in the target and undermines an individual’s right to dignity at work. Bullying is different from aggression. Whereas aggression may involve a single act, bullying involves repeated attacks against the target, creating an on-going pattern of behavior. “Tough” or “demanding” bosses are not necessarily bullies, as long as their primary motivation is to obtain the best performance by setting high expectations.
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bullying their peers, rather than a supervisor bullying an employee. One study from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that a quarter of the 516 private and public companies studied reported some occurrence of bullying in the preceding year.
Examples of bullying: • • • • • • • • Unwarranted or invalid criticism. Blame without factual justification. Being treated differently than the rest of your work group. Being sworn at. Exclusion or social isolation. Being shouted at or being humiliated. Being the target of practical jokes. Excessive monitoring.
What is Corporate/Institutional Bullying?
Corporate/institutional bullying occurs when bullying is entrenched in an organization and becomes accepted as part of the workplace culture.
Many bullying situations involve employees 1
Corporate/institutional bullying can manifest itself in different ways: • Placing unreasonable expectations on employees, where failure to meet
References: • Glendinnig, P.M. (2001). Workplace bullying: Curing the cancer of the American workplace. Public Personnel Management, Vol. 30, pp. 269-285. • Spector, P. E., & Fox, S. (2005). Stressoremotion model. In S. Fox and P. E. Spector (Eds.) Counterproductive Work Behavior: Investigations of Actors and Targets (pp. 151174), American Psychological Association: Washington, DC. • Keashly, L., & Harvey, S. (2005). Emotional Abuse in the Workplace. In S. Fox and P. E. Spector (Eds.) Counterproductive Work Behavior: Investigations of Actors and Targets (pp. 201-235), American Psychological Association: Washington, DC. • Raynor, C., & Keashly, L. (2005). Bullying at work: A perspective from Britain and North America. In S. Fox and P. E. Spector (Eds.) Counterproductive Work Behavior: Investigations of Actors and Targets (pp. 271296), American Psychological Association: Washington, DC. • Salin, D. (2003). Way of explaining workplace bullying: A review of enabling, motivating, and precipitating structures and processes in the work environment. Human Relations, Vol. 56, pp. 1213-1232. 6 SHARP – Research for Safe Work This report was produced by the Safety & Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program – An independent research program within the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. SHARP’s researchers and scientists partner with business and labor to identify industry-wide hazards and then develop sensible, effective solutions to eliminate those hazards. If you have questions about this report or the SHARP program, please contact us at: SHARP Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. PO Box 44330 Olympia, WA 98504-4330 Tel. (888) 66-SHARP (toll-free) Fax (360) 902-5672 Email SHARP@Lni.wa.gov. Check out our website at: www.Lni.wa.gov/Safety/Research. 7 Company X considers workplace bullying unacceptable and will not tolerate it under any circumstances. Workplace bullying is behavior that harms, intimidates, offends, degrades or humiliates an employee, possibly in front of other employees, clients, or customers. Workplace bullying may cause the loss of trained and talented employees, reduce productivity and morale and create legal risks. Company X believes all employees should be able to work in an environment free of bullying. Managers and supervisors must ensure employees are not bullied. Company X has grievance and investigation procedures to deal with workplace bullying. Any reports of workplace bullying will be treated seriously and investigated promptly, confidentially and impartially. Company X encourages all employees to report workplace bullying. Managers and supervisors must ensure employees who make complaints, or witnesses, are not victimized. Disciplinary action will be taken against anyone who bullies a co-employee. Discipline may involve a warning, transfer, counseling, demotion or dismissal, depending on the circumstances. The contact person for bullying at this workplace is: Name: ____________________________________________________________ _ Phone Number: ______________________________________________________ Example Workplace Bullying Policy http://www.sangrea.net/bully/policy.php. 8