3 Reasons Why We Are “Working” on Bullying in the Workplace
As a society we are familiar with the term bullying. The first thoughts that often come to my mind is the image of a child in a lunch room being taunted by other students, kids being teased on the playground and a other host of “typical” bullying situations that we can all similarly identify with.
In recent years the topic of workplace bullying has started to catch the attention of companies, news media and the general public. Working on workplace bullying is something that many companies, when asked, indicate that they are working on this and have policies and procedures in place to ensure workplace bullying is not present in their organization. Let’s look at concepts present complicating the eradication of bullying in the workplace that today’s organizations are facing.
What is Bullying in the Workplace?
Bullying in the workplace has been a vague, seemingly slippery term to define for organizations as a whole which obviously complicates the ability to monitor, structure and work towards the end of something that we can’t even define in the first place. According to noworkplaceviolence.com bullying is defined as “an uninvited, unwanted assault that is initiated unilaterally. Sometimes by committee as when there are several perpetrators. But it is never started at the invitation of the targeted person. It’s assault, a non-physical series of repeated attacks. It stops short of battery, physical contact. But it is a form of workplace violence.”
High Prevalence of Bullying in the Workplace
- 35% of workers have experienced bullying firsthand (37% in 2007, given the MOE, essentially equivalent
- 62% of bullies are men; 58% of targets are women
- Women bullies target women in 80% of case
- Bullying is 4X more prevalent than illegal harassment (2007
- The majority (68%) of bullying is same-gender harassment
Lack of Particularly Effective Prevention and Management Strategies Addressing Bullying in the Workplace
Of the companies who have policies in place addressing bullying in the workplace many observers feel that discipline tactics and other measures are not solving the problem, but may just be decreasing the prevalence of reporting by utilizing such problem-focused measures. Others out in the community of workplace bullying support the notion of “teaching towards” rather than “teaching away from” with behaviors. For example, instead of just punishing someone for a bullying offense, providing training and effective strategies in the corporate culture to promote cooperation, cohesion and interconnectedness.
“It may not be possible to tackle the economic, evolutionary, psychological, societal or theological roots of destructive competition tomorrow but increasing the awareness of the economic benefits, and therefore the competitive advantage of improving authentic dialogue in the workplace is possible.”
- Bullying Prevention Resource Guide : A resource funded by The Colorado Trust’s Bullying Prevention Initiative
- Workplace Bullying Institute: Help For Targets
- The Bully-Free Workplace
What ways have you dealt with bullying in the workplace in a healthy, effective way?
Is your organization struggling with bullying in the workplace? Does your organization struggle with corporate culture, lack of engagement and general unrest?
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Sarah Houy is behavioral health consultant I offer counseling services to teens, adults and couples. She works collaboratively with my clients to bring healing and wellness into complex situations such as addiction, anxiety, depression and trauma.