Workplace Bullying

Categories of Workplace Bullying

Posted on October 16, 2009 in Blog

In my newly released book In Darkness Light Dawns: Exposing Workplace Bullying, I discuss the results of an online Workplace Interaction survey I administered to 326 men and women in Canada and the United States. The survey sought to determine how commonly people experience the five categories of bullying set forth by researchers Charlotte Rayner and Helge Hoel:

1) Threat to professional status (e.g., damaging the person’s reputation, humiliating the person in public or accusing him or her of lack of effort).
2) Threat to personal standing (e.g., calling the person names; insulting, teasing or intimidating him or her; or devaluing the person based on age).
3) Isolation (e.g., preventing access to opportunities, deliberately withholding important information or isolating the person physically or socially).
4) Overwork (e.g., imposing undue pressure to produce work, setting impossible deadlines or making consistent and unnecessary disruptions).
5) Destabilization (e.g., failing to give credit where it is due, assigning meaningless tasks, removing responsibility or setting the person up for failure).

In the threats to professional status category, 47 percent of survey respondents indicated they had been publicly humiliated and embarrassed by a boss or co-worker. In the threats to personal standing category, 39 percent of respondents were teased, 27 percent were targets of malicious rumors and 25 percent were talked to in a sarcastic way and felt “put down.” In the category of isolation, 33 percent of respondents reported being ostracized in the workplace and 29 percent had their work sabotaged.

Nearly half of the respondents (46 percent) felt overworked. A full 21 percent said they’d received unreasonable deadlines: a ruse commonly used by bullies in efforts to overwhelm and intimidate.

Destabilization was rampant; 51 percent of respondents indicated they did not receive credit for their work and 37 percent said they were neither acknowledged nor rewarded for doing a good job.

The Workplace Interaction survey confirmed the powerfully and profoundly damaging impact of workplace bullying on health and wellness. For example:

• 32 percent of the men and women surveyed indicated that they suffered physical ailments such as fatigue, nervousness, headaches and stomachaches on a regular basis due to mistreatment at work.
• 28 percent were depressed and became anxious when they thought about work or were at work.
• 35 percent indicated that being bullied had negatively affected their personal lives.

To eliminate bullying in the workplace, organizations must establish healthy workplace policies that specifically address bullying. Similarly, lawmakers must pass legislation making workplace bullying illegal. When workplace bullying is illegal, organizations and individuals within those organizations will be forced to change their attitudes and behaviors.

For more information visit www.bulliednomore.com

Workplace Bullying