Workplace Violence and Bullying at Work

Workplace Violence and Bullying at Work Overview


How the workplace defines norms and values will determine how workplace bullying is perceived. Einarsen and Einarsen view the workplace as a filter that either accepts or rejects certain behaviours. From their as well as others studies, it is clear that the organizational structure of a company will determine how bullying is defined, recognized, and measured.

Individual, cultural, and social factors need to be considered, as well as subjective and objective aspects. Workplace bullying needs to be seen from both the individual as well as the organizational level. (Cowie, et al., 2002).

There is no one description of who is a potential bully. Bullies are the people that engage in behaviours to which the victim reacts negatively to and often repeat these behaviours, creating a pattern.

Studies involving questionnaires related to bullying at work in the UK and Australia found that managers were most often cited as bullies, with 80 percent of bullies being managers in the UK. As bullying often involves a power differential these results are not surprising.

However, in sectors that required higher education, women were as likely to be bullied by their colleagues as by managers. Bullying by a subordinate does happen, 7 percent of the time according to one study, but it is more rare. It is also likely that the one being bullied is a woman as women in authority positions are likely to experience more resistance from subordinates.

Being bullied by managers and colleagues simultaneously is common and may be due to colleagues wanting to avoid bullying themselves. (Rayner, et al., 2002).

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