Managing bullying and harassment in the workplace essay

Based on research by H. Hoel and C. Cooper, most the perpetrators are supervisors. The second most common group is peers, followed by subordinates and customers. Bullying behaviour by supervisors toward subordinates typically manifests as an abuse of power by the supervisor in the workplace. Bullying behaviours by supervisors may be associated with a culture of bullying and the management style of the supervisors. An authoritative management style, specifically, often includes bullying behaviours, which can make subordinates fearful and allow supervisors to bolster their authority over others.

On the other hand, some researchers suggest that bullying behaviours can be a positive force for performance in the workplace. Workplace bullying may contribute to organizational power and control. However, if an organization wishes to discourage bullying in the workplace, strategies and policies must be put into place to dissuade and counter bullying behavior.

In addition to supervisor — subordinate bullying, bullying behaviours also occur between colleagues. Peers can be either the target or perpetrator. If workplace bullying happens among the co-workers, witnesses will typically choose sides, either with the target or the perpetrator. Perpetrators usually "win" since witnesses do not want to be the next target. This outcome encourages perpetrators to continue their bullying behaviour. In addition, the sense of the injustice experienced by a target might lead that person to become another perpetrator who bullies other colleagues who have less power than they do, thereby proliferating bullying in the organization.

The third relationship in the workplace is between employees and customers. Although less frequent, such cases play a significant role in the efficiency of the organization. Overly stressed or distressed employees may be less able to perform optimally and can impact the quality of service overall. The fourth relationship in the workplace is between the organization or system and its employees. An article by Andreas Liefooghe notes that many employees describe their employer as a "bully.

These cases, the issue is not simply an organizational culture or environmental factors facilitating bullying, but bullying-like behaviour by an employer against an employee. Tremendous power imbalances between an organization and its employees enables the employer to "legitimately exercise" power e. Although the terminology of bullying traditionally implies an interpersonal relationship between the perpetrator and target, organizations' or other collectives' actions can constitute bullying both by definition and in their impacts on targets.

However, while defining bullying as an interpersonal phenomenon is considered legitimate, classifying incidences of employer exploitation, retaliation, or other abuses of power against an employee as a form of bullying is often not taken as seriously.

Bullying is seen to be prevalent in organizations where employees and managers feel that they have the support, or at least the implicit blessing of senior managers to carry on their abusive and bullying behaviour. When bullying happens at the highest levels, the effects may be far reaching. People may be bullied irrespective of their organizational status or rank, including senior managers, which indicates the possibility of a negative domino effect, where bullying may cascade downwards, as the targeted supervisors might offload their own aggression onto their subordinates.


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In such situations, a bullying scenario in the boardroom may actually threaten the productivity of the entire organisation. Research investigating the acceptability of the bullying behaviour across different cultures e. National background also influences the prevalence of workplace bullying Harvey et al.

Humane orientation is negatively associated with the acceptability of work-related bullying. Performance orientation is positively associated with the acceptance of bullying. Future orientation is negatively associated with the acceptability of bullying. A culture of femininity suggests that individuals who live and work in this kind of culture tend to value interpersonal relationships to a greater degree. Three broad dimensions have been mentioned in relation to workplace bullying: power distance; masculinity versus femininity; and individualism versus collectivism Lutgen-Sandvik et al.

In Confucian Asia, which has a higher performance orientation than Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, bullying may be seen as an acceptable price to pay for performance.

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Workplace bullying

The value Latin America holds for personal connections with employees and the higher humane orientation of Sub-Saharan Africa may help to explain their distaste for bullying. A culture of individualism in the US implies competition, which may increase the likelihood of workplace bullying situations.

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Ashforth discussed potentially destructive sides of leadership and identified what he referred to as petty tyrants , i. An authoritarian style of leadership may create a climate of fear, where there is little or no room for dialogue and where complaining may be considered futile. In a study of public-sector union members, approximately one in five workers reported having considered leaving the workplace as a result of witnessing bullying taking place.

Rayner explained these figures by pointing to the presence of a climate of fear in which employees considered reporting to be unsafe, where bullies had "got away with it" previously despite management knowing of the presence of bullying. The workplace bully is often expert at knowing how to work the system. They can spout all the current management buzzwords about supportive management but basically use it as a cover.

By keeping their abusive behaviour hidden, any charges made by individuals about his or her bullying will always come down to your word against his.

Managing bullying and harassment in the workplace essay

They may have a kiss up kick down personality, wherein they are always highly cooperative, respectful, and caring when talking to upper management but the opposite when it comes to their relationship with those whom they supervise. Often, a workplace bully will have mastered kiss up kick down tactics that hide their abusive side from superiors who review their performance.

As a consequence of this kiss up kick down strategy: [45]. The most typical reactions to workplace bullying are to do with the survival instinct — "fight or flight" — and these are probably a victim's healthier responses to bullying. Flight is often a response to bullying. It is very common, especially in organizations in which upper management cannot or will not deal with the bullying. In hard economic times, however, flight may not be an option, and fighting may be the only choice.

Fighting the bullying can require near heroic action, especially if the bullying targets just one or two individuals. It can also be a difficult challenge. There are some times when confrontation is called for. First, there is always a chance that the bully boss is labouring under the impression that this is the way to get things done and does not recognize the havoc being wrought on subordinates.

With some variations, the following typology of workplace bullying behaviours has been adopted by a number of academic researchers. The typology uses five different categories. Research by the Workplace Bullying Institute, suggests that the following are the 25 most common workplace bullying tactics: [49]. According to Bassman, common abusive workplace behaviours are: [50]. According to Hoel and Cooper , common abusive workplace behaviours are: [51].

Abusive cyberbullying in the workplace can have serious socioeconomic and psychological consequences on the victim. Workplace cyberbullying can lead to sick leave due to depression which in turn can lead to loss of profits for the organisation. Several aspects of academia, such as the generally decentralized nature of academic institutions [53] [54] and the particular recruitment and career procedures, [55] lend themselves to the practice of bullying and discourage its reporting and mitigation.

Bullying has been identified as prominent in blue collar jobs including on the oil rigs, and in mechanical areas and machine shops, warehouses and factories. It is thought that intimidation and fear of retribution cause decreased incident reports, which, in the socioeconomic and cultural milieu of such industries, would likely lead to a vicious circle. This is often used in combination with manipulation and coercion of facts to gain favour among higher ranking administrators.

A culture of bullying is common in information technology IT , leading to high sickness rates, low morale , poor productivity and high staff turnover. Bullying in the legal profession is believed to be more common than in some other professions. It is believed that its adversarial, hierarchical tradition contributes towards this. Bullying in the medical profession is common, particularly of student or trainee doctors. It is thought that this is at least in part an outcome of conservative traditional hierarchical structures and teaching methods in the medical profession which may result in a bullying cycle.

1. Introduction

Bullying exists to varying degrees in the military of some countries, often involving various forms of hazing or abuse by higher members of the military hierarchy. Bullying has been identified as being particularly prevalent in the nursing profession although the reasons are not clear. It is thought that relational aggression psychological aspects of bullying such as gossiping and intimidation are relevant. Relational aggression has been studied amongst girls but not so much amongst adult women. School teachers are commonly the subject of bullying but they are also sometimes the originators of bullying within a school environment.

Bullying can be common in volunteering settings. For example, one study found bullying to be the most significant factor of complaints amongst volunteers. Tim Field suggested that workplace bullying takes these forms: [65]. Adult bullying can come in an assortment of forms. There are about five distinctive types of adult bullies. A narcissistic bully is described as a self-centred person whose egotism is frail and possesses the need to put others down.

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An impulsive bully is someone who acts on bullying based on stress or being upset at the moment. A physical bully uses physical injury and the threat of harm to abuse their victims, while a verbal bully uses demeaning and cynicism to debase their victims.

Lastly, a secondary adult bully is portrayed as a person that did not start the initial bullying but participates in afterwards to avoid being bullied themselves "Adult Bullying". Workplace bullying is reported to be far more prevalent than perhaps commonly thought. In such a situation, social interactions and relationships are of great importance to the function of the organizational structure and in pursuing goals. The emotional consequences of bullying put an organization at risk of losing victimized employees.

The workplace in general can be a stressful environment, so a negative way of coping with stress or an inability to do so can be particularly damning.

Bullying - Bullying in Schools, Bullying at Work and Cyberbullying

Workplace bullies may have high social intelligence and low emotional intelligence EI. The combination of high social intelligence and low empathy is conducive to manipulative behaviour, such that Hutchinson describes workplace bullying to be. EI and ethical behaviour among other members of the work team have been shown to have a significant impact on ethical behaviour of nursing teams. Abusive supervision overlaps with workplace bullying in the workplace context. Abusive supervision differs from related constructs such as supervisor bullying and undermining in that it does not describe the intentions or objectives of the supervisor.

A power and control model has been developed for the workplace, divided into the following categories: [73].