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Workplace bullying:. What we know and what we can do about it Dr Paul Naylor p.b.naylor@sheffield.ac.uk School of Health & Related Research ( ScHARR ), University of Sheffield With grateful thanks to Dr Iain Coyne iain.coyne@nottingham.ac.uk

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workplace bullying

Workplace bullying:

What we know and what we can do about it

Dr Paul Naylor

p.b.naylor@sheffield.ac.uk

School of Health & Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield

With grateful thanks to

Dr Iain Coyne

iain.coyne@nottingham.ac.uk

Institute of Work, Health & Organisations (I-WHO), University of Nottingham

bullying terms
Bullying - terms

Bullying UK, some other European countries, Australia, New Zealand, & increasingly the US

Mobbing Scandinavia

Harassment US, Canada

Victimisation US, Canada

workplace bullying is

Workplace bullying is …

threatening professional status (e.g., belittling, humiliation, accusation

regarding lack of effort)

threatening personal standing (e.g., name-calling, insults, intimidation,

ageism/sexism/racism)

isolation (e.g., preventing access to opportunities, physical/social

isolation, withholding information)

slide4

WP bullying is (continued) …

  • overwork (e.g., undue pressure, impossible deadlines, unnecessary
  • disruption)
  • destabilization (e.g., failure to give credit when due, meaningless tasks,
  • removal of responsibility, repeated reminders of blunders, setting-up to fail)
slide5

Media:

  • Verbally (face-to-face, ‘phone)
  • In writing:
      • hard-copy (e.g., memo)
      • electronically – cyber-bullying (e.g., e-mail, text message)
slide6

Bullying: often summed-up as … the persistent abuse of power

… BUT can one-off events be considered bullying?

… ALSO, what is the distinction between ‘strong management’

& ‘bullying’?

how common is traditional bullying
How common is ‘traditional’ bullying?

Surveys:

  • 53% of 1137 part-time students (Rayner, 1997)
  • 38% of 1100 workers (Quine, 1999)
  • 10.6% over past 6 months,

1.4% weekly/daily of 5288 workers (Hoel et al, 2001)

  • 37% of 594 workers given definition (Quine, 2004)
  • 39% of 512 managers (CMI, 2005)
slide8

How common is cyber-bullying?

Study 1 9% of 649 UK employees reported receiving abusive e- mail (Baruch, 2005)

Study 2 3% of over 1400 online surveyed teachers reported bullying on the Internet

6% by e-mail

2.5% by mobile phone texts

6% by mobile (& other) phone calls (National Association of Schoolmasters & Union of Women Teachers, 2008)

Study 3 17% of 379 teachers reported bullying by mobile phone, e-mail or the Internet by managers, co-workers, pupils (Association of Teachers & Lecturers, 2007)

study of 288 fire fighters in 36 teams coyne et al 2004
Study of 288 fire-fighters in 36 teams (Coyne et al, 2004):
  • Self-& peer-reported levels of victimisation & bullying
  • Each rank ordered 3 team members most preferred working with & self-reported perceptions of team effectiveness
  • Results:

1. People preferred working with ‘victims’

2. Bullies were least preferred work mates

3. Bully/targets most isolated group

4. Group cohesion higher but success perceived lower in teams with

high levels of victimisation

slide10

But measurement problems:

  • how are victims & non-victims classed?
  • how is bullying defined, & who by?
  • claims usually based on uncorroborated self-report (Cowie, Naylor, Rivers,
  • Smith, & Pereira, 2002)
  • So, Coyne, Chong, Seigne, & Randall (2003) found:
  • victims ranged from 4-40%
  • bullies from 3-19%
  • depending on whether by self-report, peer-report or both!
what we know about victims
What we know about victims …
  • low in independence, extraversion & mental stability (Coyne et al, 2000)
  • lose confidence, physically ill, unable to cope (Edelmann & Woodall, 1997)
  • show high anxiety, depression, job-related stress (Quine, 1999) & PTSD

symptoms (e.g., Matthiesen & Einarsen, 2004; Tehrani, 2004)

  • take sick leave (ATL, 2007)
  • cyber-bullying may be psychologically more harmful than traditional bullying (Slonje & Smith, 2008)
  • but know little about their help seeking behaviour (Slonje & Smith, 2008)
what we know about bullies
What we know about bullies …
  • Rationale: protect self-esteem - inflated or unstable view of self
  • Characteristics: violent (Leather et al., 1990), tyrannical (Ashforth, 1994), hostile (Baron & Neuman, 1996), aggressive (Seigne et al., in press), lack emotional/self-control & awareness of impact
  • Conversely, highly skilled social manipulators (Sutton)
  • Micro-political behaviour in group/organisation encourages competitiveness, assertiveness, dominance
  • Been suggested that known bullies appointed to ‘get the job done’
effects on the organisation
Effects on the organisation
  • Lower productivity & staff morale (Coyne et al, 2004)
  • Absenteeism:
    • Hoel & Cooper (2000) – victims took 7 days more sick leave on average than others
    • Quine (2001) – 8% taken time-off
  • Turnover:
    • Rayner (1997) – 1 in 4 left job due to bullying
  • Coyne also notes:

- risks of litigation & industrial action

- costs of finding & training replacement staff

work climate human interaction conditions in organisations
Work climate Human interaction& conditions in organisations

Causes of workplace bullying?

Change(redundancy/position)

Work organisation(Role conflict, strained & stressful, lack of autonomy)

Culture & Climate

Poor Leadership

Conflict is inevitable. Can be win-win but win-lose may lead to bullying culture

slide16

Thanks

Any questions?

Contact:

p.b.naylor@sheffield.ac.uk