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Workplace Bullying

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Workplace Conflict

Definition of Workplace Conflict

Workplace Bullying comes in a variety of unfortunate ways and forms. It is basically a constant, aggressive, persistent, demeaning behavior against co-workers or subordinates. This behavior can come in several different forms, such as verbal and physical. It is usually involving verbal abuse, offensive and threatening behavior, and work interference. Also, many different areas of humiliation are touched on, such as gender, sexuality, and race. Workplace bullying is usually one's need to control and closely resembles domestic violence. Some common abusive workplace behaviors include: disrespecting and demeaning someone, overworking a subordinate, harassment through micromanaging, threat and intimidation, stealing credit for work that is done by someone else, preventing access to promoting opportunities, destruction of property of a co-worker, ignoring opinions or views, gossip being spread about co-workers, humiliating or ridiculed in public for your work or personal reasons. These are just some of the examples of workplace bullying. There definitely are so many more ways. There are always many ways workplace bullying takes form. These ways include:

 Serial bullling- where one individual picks on one employee after another until it destroys them and they move on to the next employee. This is the most common type of bullying.

 Pair bullying-where two people team up. One is actually the active and verbal one, while the other usually watches and listens.

 Gang bullying or group bullying-this is a serial bully with co-workers.

 Regulation bullying-A serial bully forces people to comply with rules, regulations, or procedures regardless of their necessity.

 Legal bullying-The bringing of legal action to control and punish a person.

 Corporate bullying-An employer abuses an employee with impunity

 Client bullying-An employee is bullied by his clients, most commonly public servants

 Cyber bullying-The use of information technologies to support hostile behavior by bullies to harm others.

Bullying is characterized by (Einarsen, 1999: Keashly & Harvey 2004; Lutgen-Sandvick, 2006): Repetition (occurs regularly), Duration (is enduring), Escalation (increasing aggression), Power disparity (the target lacks the power to successfully defend themselves), and Attributed intent. Most cases of workplace bullying have been reportedly from upper management. There usually is not a "defined" bullying procedure for workplaces. This leads to an inability to punish or recognize workplace bullies.

A Few Statistics

Statitics from the 2007 WBI-Zogby survey show 13% of U.S. Employees have reported that they are currently being abused, 24% say they have been bullied in the past, and 12% say they have witnessed bullying in their workplace. Nearly half of all U.S. Workers have experienced workplace bullying in one form or another. Women appear to be the greater target, whereas men were more likely to be the ones bullying. However, when a woman is a target, another woman is more likely to be the bully. Blue collar jobs seem to be prominent for workplace bullying, where intimidation and fear of retaliation cause decreased reports of bullying.

According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety (NIOSH), bullying cost workplaces $3 million dollars plus the cost of lost productivity. In the United States, there are currently no laws regulating workplace bullying. The only reference that some employers offer is an employee's assistance program. My workplace offers this service and it is used by a variety of different people for a variety of different reasons.

My Experience

I have been employed for six years with my local municipal government. I switched departments 6 months ago due to workplace bullying. My former department is almost overwhelmed with workplace bullying. It does not rest on one single person in the department. It was a total department bullying amongst each other, including supervisors. Since I am in a position now that is the total opposite of this situation, I can now sit and reflect on my current job. The bullying "felt" very personal, but now I believe that it was not. The people in the department have a variety of personal and financial problems that carried greatly over into their professional life. There was not one topic that was off-limits to be the subject of bullying. There never was physical bullying, but the verbal bullying was almost worse, in my opinion, then physical could ever be. There was spitting in a supervisor's food when they were not looking and a group of people laughing at them. There was sabotaging of vehicles and equipment, only to cost the government



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