Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Yet More On Workplace Bullies

I've often touched on the subject of workplace bullying in this blog, and here it rears its ugly head again. One might uncharitably characterize this as a tired subject - ready prey for pop psychologizing, on a par with "depression" or "infidelity", and therefore facile filler for the business pages of the daily papers. On the other hand, its frequent reappearance may indicate that it's happening more and more often.

The article at the link below cites a study of 400 workers which found that 30 percent "have endured a punishing boss or co-worker." The composition of the sample was slightly biased towards women, and white collar workers between the ages of 35 and 44. To be identified as a bully, the offender had to subject his or her victims to at least two negative acts a week for a period of six months or more. The study found that incidents of bullying caused both the victims and the witnesses to suffer increased stress and "overall dissatisfaction with their jobs."

It is often difficult to acknowlege that one is a victim of bullying because the phenomenon is associated with schoolyards, and "can make a person feel weak and childish." The study also stated that bullying is difficult to stop because it escalates by degrees, drawing the analogy between bullying and differing degrees of sunburn, some negligible in their immediate effect while others become so severe that scarring occurs. The authors suggested that certain types of workplaces foster bullying, perhaps especially those where the competition is most intense.

"Office bullying a widespread problem" from

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