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Bullying in the Workplace
Bullying by coworkers and by managers is a particular form of workplace conflict. Human resources professionals, managers, coaches, and consultants can apply the conflict management methods learned in Certification Courses to address this costly* and disruptive problem.
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Edited by Kristin Evans. See other bibliographies.
Contributors: Donato Cirielli, Hernan Cortez, Mary Anne Hightower, Chris Olmstead,
Phonsavanne Sithiphon, Ed Beaupre, Sarah E. Kelly, Luca Iacusso, Gil Pizano
Copyright restriction: The contents of this bibliography may not be placed on other websites, but links from other websites may be directed to this page. Hardcopies of this page may be printed for academic purposes.
A Google Knol: Bullying Definition and Incident Form, developed by Kelly Karius for school personnel but may be adapted to workplace bullying.
Anonymous. (2000, September). Bullying in the Workplace. Canada Safety Council.
Bullying in the workplace is not always listed within existing workplace policies. Workplace bullies create liability for the employers due to stress related health and safety issues. Bullied employees waste between 10 to 52 percent of their time at work. It would be beneficial for managers to create and uphold anti-bullying policies. Less time lost to sick leave, higher staff retention, and a lower risk of legal action are among some of the benefits of an anti-bullying policy.
- Ayoko, O.B. , Callan, V.J. , & Härtel, C. (2003).
Workplace Conflict, Bullying, and Counterproductive Behaviors. International Journal of Organizational Analysis , Vol. 11, pp. 283, 19.
This article takes both a qualitative and quantitative look at workplace conflict. It evaluates what the role of conflict is in the emotional reactions of the people involved. The article examines how conflict can cause peoples emotional reactions to be so strong that it leads people to purposely do their work incorrectly, damage company property, and do a variety of other things that cost the company money.
Bradbury, D. (2005). Beat the Workplace Bullies. London, England: Evening Standard.
In this article, the author explores the stressful conditions that can stem from office politics in the workplace. The focus of the article is primarily on IT professionals. Personality issues, miscommunication, reduced budgets, and strained inter-departmental relationships have led to an increase in IT managerial aggression. Young IT managers, faced with inexperience and with the pressures of end-user complaints, tend to place the blame on their subordinates, thus creating a discriminatory environment. Ultimately, productivity is diminished.
- Conflict 911 (2001). Bullying in the Workplace .
Employers are beginning to see bullying as bad as sexual harassment. It is often seen that when you were a bully as a kid, you are a bully in the workplace. Workplace violence that includes physical and emotional violence is one of the most serious problems in the workplace now a day. This article talks about how workplace policies are needed, how to identify bullying and what you can do to prevent it from happening.
- Cunningham, C.E. , Cunningham, L. J. , Tran, A. , & Zacharias, R ., (1998). The
effects of primary division, student-mediated conflict resolution programs on playground. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines ; Vol. 39, pp. 653, 10.,
This article looks at how conflicts and methods of conflict resolution
learned early in a persons life play a role in how a person will react
to conflict later in life. The article looks at c onflict through bullying , relational aggression and physical aggression in preschool settings, and relates behaviors learned then to actions taken through a person's life.
- Danbom, Dan. (2005) Be Afraid, be Very Afraid.
Dan Danbom takes a light hearted look at bullying in the workplace. Using
comical examples that anyone who has ever worked in an office building
can relate to he illustrates how to deal with workplace bullies, from the
CEO all the way down the ladder to the “furniture management officer”.
- Davis, C. (2005). The Good Fight. Daily Telegraph, March 23, 2005, pg.83. Sydney, Australia: Nationwide News Pty Limited.
This article explores the growing trend of workplace bullying and violence. Since people at all level of employment are vulnerable, this source of behavioral conflict can be detrimental for an organization. The author describes the negative effect that bullying can have on an individual’s health and on his or her ability to function effectively in the workplace.
- Gurchiek, K. (2005, June). Bullying: It's Not Just on the Playground; Bosses Report Being Targeted in the Workplace. HR Magazine.
According to the article, workplace bullying falls outside discriminatory harassment. Bullying is more prevalent than sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Managers new to a position may find themselves being bullied by subordinates who do not wish to change from what they perceive to be the status quo that has worked up until then. Reducing and preventing workplace bullying of supervisors requires the support of senior management at least two levels above the supervisor being bullied.
- Hoel, H. & Cooper, C., (2000). Destructive conflict and bullying
Manchester School of Management, University of Manchester Institute Science and Technology, November, 2000.
This is a study report of 5,288 individuals from over 70 different organizations
which altogether employ just under one million people. The study made a number of discoveries: 10.6% of people reported having been bullied within the last six months. 46.5% reported they had witnessed bullying taking place within the last five years. Bullying was more common in the prison service, post and telecommunications, teaching and dance professions. More women than men are bullied. Managers were as likely to be bullied as those without any managerial responsibility. In 74.7% of incidences, managers of superiors were reported as perpetrators. In 36.7% of instances, the perpetrators were peers or colleagues. In 6.7% of instances, perpetrators were subordinates and in 7.8%, perpetrators were clients. Bullying typically lasts (for 66% of respondents) for more than one year and about 40% stated that the bullying went on for more than two years. The most common behavior of the bullies was someone withholding information that affects work performance. The next most common behavior of bullies was being given tasks with unreasonable/impossible target dates. Men were bullies more often than women. Younger people were bullied more often than older ones. Asian and African American people were bullied more often than white respondents. This
study also goes into the details of the targets and perpetrators, the negative
behaviors associated with bullying, bullying styles and management, outcomes
and makes recommendations on what to do in these situations.
- Larmer, C. (2005) Bully for You. Sunday Telgraph, May 1, 2005, pg.S02. Sydney, Australia: Nationwide News Pty Limited.
This article presents the argument that workplace bullying is now targeting those employees who are competent at their jobs and have likeable characteristics. This is leading to health and psychological problems; those who are vulnerable to such attacks find it easier to leave the organization rather than deal with the problem at hand. As a result, this is very costly for organizations; they must deal with absenteeism, stress leave, loss of productivity, and legal fees. The article offers advice in dealing with bullying behavior.
- Lynch, D. (2005). Dealing with a Workplace Bully. New England Construction, August 8, 2005.
According to the National Institute of Safety and Health, one out of four employees suffers from peer-to-peer bullying in the workplace. This article provides various examples of bully behavior and expresses the importance of timely, managerial intervention. The author presents the crucial steps in handling bully behavior in order to prevent legal actions. The goal is to maintain of conductive work environment, and ignoring such behavior in not the solution.
- Milford, M. (2003, January 13).
The article talks about how bosses can be bullies. Managers (men and women) bully their employees by not providing them with raises, resorting to name-calling and threatening them with their jobs. The article provides reasons why these aggressive behaviors are becoming acceptable; such as younger managers and more competitive environments. It talks about the distinction between a challenging boss and an abusive one. Bullying is also further analyzed.
Bullies are still a problem within schools and are not being addressed and given the attention as it should. Parents should turn to professionals and counselors for help. The worst way to deal with a bully situation is to have the teachers or parents tell the child to step up and face the bully.
- MSN Careers (2004). 10 Kindergarten Lessons in Anger Management . Retrieved from the web September 15, 2004.
Learn how to control your anger by going back to the basics we learned in kindergarten. Relive your childhood such as giving yourself time out, don't be a bully, redirect your attention, what happens at home stays at home, treat others like you want to be treated, ask yourself it is worth it, etc. to avoid anger which might result in conflict.
- Newman, F. (2003) Give us better leaders. Works Management , Vol. 56 Issue 2,
The article discusses how the management of conflict in the workplace leads to increased levels of overall worker job satisfaction. The article looks at causes of workplace conflict, such as bullying and job insecurity, and evaluates how management of these sources of conflict improves work performance.
- O’Reilly, F. (2000). Workplace Bullies Abound. Chicago Sun-Times, September 24, 2000.
The classic character of the bully has made its way from a terror on the playground to an all new level as the office antagonizer. Shockingly, it is now more common in the workplace than both racial discrimination and sexual harassment. And, even more, it is the women in the office that are more so the bullies than the men. The newest mentality in the workplace is to produce until you can not produce anymore which is putting unbearable pressures on employees resulting in disrespect and heightened aggressions.
- Porter-O'Grady, T. (2003). When push comes to shove: Managers as mediators. Nursing Management, 34 (10),
34-40. Retrieved from the Web July 28, 2004.
The article outlines the three components of human conflict as personal
characteristics and issues, interactional difficulties, and perspective
and perceptive difficulties. It is suggested that managers in the workplace
should manage these differences in order facilitate a healthy communication
between employees. The author also differentiates between moderation, mediation
and arbitration. The article suggests that managers should focus on “I”-centered
dialogue between conflicting parties, in order to prevent blaming each
other during mediation.
- Stop Bullying Now (2004). Retrieved from the web September 15, 2004.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau created this campaign website provide information on bullying and research-supported programs. It provides the information on how to do something and stop the bullying whether you are the victim or someone else.
- Wilson, B. (2004). Workplace Bullying: A Growing Problem.
This article recognizes the growing problem of bullying in UK workplaces. The author outlines 13 different signs of bullying that can be recognized throughout the world. According to this article bullying is most common within caring professions such as healthcare, teaching, social services, churches, media, and the world of finance.
- Wojcik, Joanne. (2005) Bullies in workplace can increase turnover, health
costs. Chicago. Vol. 39 Iss 28.
While most employers acknowledge that workplace bullies can negatively
impact morale, few realize their continued presence can increase costs
through heightened employee turnover rates, absenteeism and even health
care costs stemming from stress-induced illnesses. Bullies are so much
into power and control that they do not care who they sacrifice. Enlisting
the help of the company's employee assistance program, both in addressing
the needs of the victim and in developing a strategy for addressing the
bullying problem is advised.
- WorkSafe, V. (February 2003) Prevention of Bullying and Violence at Work Issues Retrieved from the web September 4, 2004.
Workplace violence is a serious issue. Promoting a healthy and safe work environment requires a disciplined approach of education and enforcement of company policies. The article addresses the identification of bullying in the workplace along with suggesting prevention measures and action that should be taken in response to these acts.
- Wormald, K. (2005). When Your Boss Is a Bully. OfficeSolutions, July-August 2005.
This article states that the Canada Safety Council estimates that more than 80 percent of bullies are bosses, evenly divided between males and females who tend to pick on their own gender. Bullying victims tend to be individuals who are well-liked and cooperative; bullies, who exhibit insecure characteristics, see this positive behavior as a serious threat. The article provides numerous tips in fighting back against bullying behavior, including the consultation of external sources and the exposing of financial liabilities that such behavior brings into an organization.