02 February 2008

Bullying ... what is it ??!

Have you ever experienced Harassment or Bullying in the workplace?

If so you are not alone, in fact it is more apparent than it seems...

What is Bullying?
Bullying is a deliberate behavioural act directed a victim; by act of by verbal delivery, physical, written or by silencing/ignoring/isolating the victim, with the purposeful intent and conscious act to do damage, humiliate, threaten, do harm to, scare and embarrass the victim.

Bullying has lasting damaging effects, both psychological and physical, impact flows on also to work productivity, workplace morale, company bottom line, other workers who are potential targets, or have already been exposed to the bullying behaviour, and know that nothing is ever done about ongoing Bullying.

It is therefore critical that businesses, no matter what size, have clear EEO and Standards of Behaviour and Codes of Conduct Policies, adhere to legislated OHS, Anti-Discrimination, Human Rights and other IR Laws and Acts. In addition to having a clear Grievance Policy for all staff to understand and follow, including Managers and Human Resource Managers.Everyone is accountable.

So what do the experts say ......?

You & I know what bullying is..what it feels like, and we certainly have our thoughts on the bully and insights into why it may be happening (or should we say... why they are allowed to get away with it). But what do the 'experts' think?

Below are some definitions of Bullying by Psychologist researchers ;
- "Bullying is a persistent behaviour or repeated attack which includes physical, psychological, social or verbal abuse, by those in a position of power(like physical appearance) on those who are powerless (because of the fear or physically weak) to resist" (Besag, 1994)

- "Bullying is long standing violence, physical or psychological, conducted by an individual or a group and directed at an individual who is not able to defend himself/herself" (Roland, 1993).

- "Bullying is learned behaviour; if it can be learned it can be examined and it can be changed” (Colorosso, 2002)

- "Bullies are persons who use their strength or power to frighten or hurt weaker people. For this research,‘bullies’ refers to the pupils who are perpetuating the behaviour."(Hornby, 1989)
- Bullying is “a repetitive attack which causes distress not only at the time of attack, but also by the threat of future attack. It may be verbal, physical, social or psychological.”(Griffiths, 1997)

- "A person is bullied or victimised when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more persons” (Olweus, 1991)

Much research has been done in school yard bullying, which I find of interest as the question is do these school bullies grow up to be corporate bullies? That would be a hard one to track .....but would be most interesting, and a whole new blog.

Next post will be about what definition of bullying is to some corporations ...

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