Workplace bullying is a behavior that has been an acceptable practice in organizations worldwide. With the high demands of organizations seeking to get more done with less and personal agendas of climbing the corporate ladder by any means necessary, workplace bullying has been a negative act that is often used to aide in accomplishing such tasks.
Workplace bullying has been defined in many terms. Name and Namie (2011) defined workplace bullying as a form of harassing and repetitive behavior that causes psychological harm to another. Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, and Cooper (2003) denoted workplace bullying as a form of harassment that socially excludes others in the workplace.
Not to mention there are disparaging definitions relative to how long this negative aggressive behavior has to occur before it is deemed workplace bullying. For example, Zapf (1999) claimed it has to be six-months. Rayner (1997) claimed one-year. Moayed, Daraiseh, Shell, and Salem (2006) contended workplace bullying has to occur over two and a half years. No wonder, no one claims workplace bullying. Conversely, it is not puzzling why so many organizations accept this negative behavior as a business norm, yet along a core value. Based on my personal research, bullying only has to occur once. However, workplace bullying is NOT covered or protected under Title XII, the Civil Rights Act (Bowling & Beeher, 2006; Namie & Namie, 2011; Rospenda, Richman, Ehmke, & Zlatoper, 2005). .
Points to Ponder
The first question to consider is why has it been relatively easy to define bullying among adolescents but more difficult to define and identify bullying in the workplace among adults. Research has shown that adults who bully in the workplace tend to have been bullied as a child or was a bully themselves.
In seeking to understand how organizations can get a better handle on identifying bullying behavior in the workplace, there has to be a more in-depth analysis of leadership behaviors that cause a reduction in employee morale and performance, and increased claims of work-related stress. Because of the need to understand leadership behaviors as a means for creating a safe and healthy workplace, there has to be a self-assessment of leaders before effective measures can be taken to reduce bullying in the workplace.
The Typical Reaction
Many employees will choose the path of least resistance, which is to leave the organization, versus coming forth with claims of employee mistreatment that not only has a negative impact on the work environment, but on employees as well.
A Moment of Reflection
- Are you the cause of derailing someone’s career or losing top talent to achieve your own personal career goals?
- Without having a lot of knowledge about workplace bullying, do you feel comfortable in all of your interactions with your employees?
- Has your feedback regarding performance been factual and absent of personal feelings?