Workplace bullying refers to the continuous criticism, negative comments on ones work or personality etc which harm the mental state of an employee much more than the sexual harassment.
As such, both the workplace bullying and the sexual harassment have an ability to create a negative aura but still, workplace bullying has much more adverse affects than the sexual harassment. According to a survey done, it was found that the employees who had undergone the workplace bullying in any form, say, belittling comments, abuses, continuous criticism etc had much more chances of being depressed, having inferiority complex, little job satisfaction and thus leaving their jobs than those who had undergone the sexual harassment.
In addition to this, it was also found out from the same survey that the employees who had experienced the workplace bullying had much more job stress, anger, anxiety and lower level of job commitment than the others.Introduction
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According to Gary and Ruth Namie, "workplace bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment, verbal abuse or conduct which is threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or sabotage that interferes with work or some combination of the three."
Hence it can be said that the workplace bullying refers to the humiliating comments, criticism, verbal abuses, fault-finding activities, isolation, excessive monitoring, excessive warnings may be either verbally or in the written form, etc.
Both the workplace bullying and sexual harassment have a negative impact on the employees but according to an analysis done it was found that the workplace bullying had much more negative impact than that of sexual harassment and it also forced the employees to quit their jobs in a greater number as compared to the sexual harassment cases.Personality traits more prone to bullying
The people who have the dominating nature are usually found bullying others at the workplaces. Even the dominating nature has two aspects - positive dominance i.e. leadership and negative dominance i.e. dictatorship. So dictators are the people who actually practice the workplace bullying.Facts and Figures
Each year, due to the practice of bullying around 18.9 million working days are lost and half of the mental illnesses of the employees are a result of this bullying only. It costs, according to an estimation, around $3.7 bn to the US economy annually.
A survey on a population of 10000 employees was conducted and the result was that 92% of them said that they were currently being bullied out of which around 50% were being bullied by their bosses.
A study under the name "Bullying at work 2008" revealed the following facts:
- Since 3 years, 70% of the managers were being bullied
- Till then, 63% of the employees were being bullied
- 30% of the employees were witness to such practice of the workplace bullying
- In around 42% of the bullying cases, it was reported that no action had been taken by their organizations till then in such matters
According to a survey conducted in 2007, WBI reported that 34% of the American workers were being bullied at their workplace and as mentioned earlier also, nearly 50% of the employees were seriously affected mentally after witnessing bullying at their workplace.
The number of men bullies is around 62% in regards to 38% of the women bullies. The most stunning fact is that when women are being bullied, 75% of their targets are the other women. Also in the report it was revealed that in almost 65% of the cases, when the cases of such workplace bullying were reported to the employers, it was either worsened or ignored. It also demotivated the employees from reporting any such case to their employer in the near future. The employees who are being bullied, 77% of them either leave their jobs or change it to escape such situation.Sleep Also Eludes Observers
Many of the people who had witnessed the workplace bullying also faced the disturbances in their sleep. According to a research done, it was found that around one-third of the employees who had witnessed the bullying during the past 12 months were suffering from sleep diaturbances. It was also found out that:
- Men had higher chances of undergoing the sleep disturbances by 60% who saw someone else being bullied at their workplace.
- Even in women, the chances of sleep disturbances were as high as 20% who witnessed someone else being bullied at the workplace.
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In case, the employees had both, witnessed and experienced the workplace bullying, then the chances for sleep disturbance were much higher in themWhy do people bully?
Mostly, people bully because they want to hide their inadequacy. Bullying, actually, doesn't constitute even a single bit of the managing activity. It is an act of only those people who are in a rush to hide their inadequate potentials. So managing is an act of the good managers whereas bullying is an act of the bad ones. Mostly people bully because:
- They want to hide their inadequacy and also reluctant to find out the solution to such inadequacy.
- They are reluctant to accept the effect of their behaviour on other peoples' mental state.
- They don't want to be figured out as individuals who are incompetent and have no worthy potentials.
- They don't want their incompetency to come into the limelight.
The workplace bullying is the most ineffective and inefficient way of running any organization because the organizations where there is a scope for such an activity there is always a scope for the employees being highly dissatisfied, demoralized, demotivated etc leading to a high level of staff turnover and lower level of the employees' productivity and thus adversely affecting the organisation's profitability. Such organizations can never prosper.
A bully, in real sense, is one who:
- Can never admit his misbehavior
- Lives in the adult world but is not ready to understand the norms of living in such world i.e. acceptance of responsibilities.
- Is reluctant to change his behaviour.
- Is always in a search of someone on whose shoulders he can pass on his workload.
Despite all their illusive projections, bullies can always be recognized as the ones who the least amount of self-confidence and the highest level of insecurity. They are the ones who are always in a fear of being recognized because of their inability to fulfill their obligations.
Bullying is mainly derived out of incompetency, aggression, feeling of being rejected and frustration.
Bullies are seething with resentment, bitterness, hatred and anger, and often have wide-ranging prejudices as a vehicle for dumping their anger onto others. Bullies are driven by jealousy and envy. Rejection (which cannot be assuaged) is another powerful motivator of bullying.What does bullying look like?
The top 10 bullying tactics according to the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute (WBTI) are as follows:
- Accusing others of the acts of which they are not even aware of. (71%)
- Nonverbal acts such as staring which completely depicted dominance. (68%)
- Discarding others' thoughts in public. (64%)
- Concocting gossips about others. (56%)
- Encouraging differences among the people. (55%)
- Constant criticism. (57%)
- No appreciation even for the best of the jobs done by the employees (58%)
- Building up the rules which even the bully himself doesn't follow. (61%)
- Verbal abuses. (63%)
- Discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, creed or race. (64%)
- Discouraging others by speaking in between their work.
- Boasting off of their authority.
- Discouraging others when they are giving their opinions.
- Irresponsible towards their work.
- Nonverbal bullying like continuous staring.
- Verbal abuses.
- Shouting at others.
- Discrimination on the basis of caste and race.
If the following things exist in a department, then there definitely exists a workplace bully:
- A very high rate of staff turnover
- High rate of the leaves due to illness
- Nervous breakdowns
- Mortality rate
- High rates of voluntary retirements
- Outsourcing the task of keeping an eye on the staff
- Legal actions against the staff
The under-mentioned are some of the psychological and physical problems faced by the targets of the workplace bullying:
- Lack of appropriate financial resources due to high rate of absenteeism
- Lack of self-confidence
- Blaming oneself for the occurrences
- Deep depression
- Reduction in the self-respect
- Highly disturbed sleep.
- Lack of self-adjusting behaviour
- Physical or mental disorder
- Eating problems
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Workplace bullying - Effects on an organization:
All the effects of the workplace bullying mentioned above will impose the under-mentioned costs on an organization:
- Costs of hiring the new employees in place of those who have left the organization due to bullying.
- Diversion of the efficient efforts of the employees away from the productivity.
- Outsourcing costs for keeping an eye on the employees.
Thus, it can be rightly said that the bullies wash away the profit earning capacity of the organization because there is high rate of staff turnover, absenteeism, low self-esteem among the employees along with less job satisfaction and thus consequently leading to the high costs to be borne by the organization along with the lesser efficiency and productivity from the employees.
The physical or mental problems posed by bullying on the staff makes them feel uncomfortable in their work environment, underestimates their efficiencies and consequently leads to a loss in the organization because the employees wont be fully dedicated and honest toward the organization.Difference between the workplace bullying and the harassment:
Harassment is a sort of conduct which is very offensive in nature which can lead to serious situations in the terms of contraxt of an employee regarding his employment. Its main reason for existence is the protected class of the individuals like caste, creed color, religion, sex etc.
- When an employee cracks racist jokes and refers to a particular group of co-workers and when such group lodges a complaint with the employer, then in turn, he does nothing to ratify such act of that very employee.
- When a male employee makes vulgar sexual suggestions to his female counterpart and tries to harass her physically.
The individuals who possess the following qualities are the main targets of the bullies:
- Innovative skills.
- Intellectual individuals.
- Success and fame.
- Desire to be on the top.
- Imaginative and creative.
- Valuing others' opinions.
- Helping nature.
- Ability to adjust in adverse conditions.
- Willing to accept the challenging jobs.