Workplace Bullying

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Jan was a community services caseworker who had been newly employed in a suburban Community Services office. She was supervised by Wendy who was very helpful in the early period of her job and appreciated her. Jan was on good terms with her fellow employees except two caseworkers, Margaret and Colin, because Wendy had warned her to keep distant from them and referred them to as troublemakers. Everything was going well until Jan was asked to deal with a client and things went off track.

By the end of this essay, we will be able to understand the reasons for workplace bullying, its impact on us, identify ways in which we can empower ourselves to fight it back by relating ourselves to this case study mentioned above.

In 1500s, the word bully was used in a positive context, it meant a splendid person. But as negativity overpowered our lives, now it means to repetitively hurt someone either by verbal or non-verbal abuse. The aggressive behaviour is mostly the result of physical or emotional power dominance of the bully over the victim. It was believed that bullying is restricted to school life but with time when people started talking about this issue, we came to the realization that it is a myth. Billions of students face bullying in school life but when they grow up and enter professional life, nothing changes except that their respected workplaces replace classrooms and the word bullying is replaced by harassment, harsh supervision, rejection, exclusion, emotional abuse etc.

Research from Dr. Judy Blando (University of Phoenix) has proven that almost 75% of employees surveyed had been affected by workplace bullying, whether as a target or a witness. It is one of the most under rated problems and its consequences have a much greater impact on the victim than what we think it is.

Wendy wanted Jan to deal with a department client she had been dealing for several months. Once Jan went through the files and notes, she realized Wendy had not followed the complete procedures in dealing with this client. In her point of view, the best way was to talk to Wendy about this issue to clear any error she made in approaching the case. This is the point where the problem started. Wendy couldn’t handle how Jan questioned her way of working.

Bullying has numerous roots one of which is the feeling of superiority. Some people see others weaker than themselves and it is the difference of power, either physical or emotional, that results in an aggressive behaviour. This is exactly the case with Wendy. She wanted everyone to agree to everything she did and nobody to disagree.
Some people want to get recognition of their work and as a reward, want to get promoted. If someone else gets to that position, they feel anxious and jealous and it is hard for them to handle the success of others. This is due to lack of ethical values and belief on the statement that ‘success of others will lead you to failure’. As a result of this complex, they try all ways to knock that person down.

One of the major reasons behind a bully is either a child who went through harsh parenting style, neglect, abuse in his early life or someone who was bullied as a child and himself became a bully when he grew up. It is some sort of complex or psychological issues related to their personal life that result in their inappropriate and harsh behaviour towards others. You see, sometimes the bully himself is not directly responsible for his actions. There is an indirect connection of several people and their actions that led him onto this path. Just the way nobody at workplace took a stand against Wendy’s behaviour as a supervisor that contributed to a stronger sense of dominance in her personality.

In many cases, workplace bullying involves weaker gender bullying such as male dominant offices where it becomes hard for a women to work to the best of her abilities because of constant degrading. This is in itself a huge issue that affects the self esteem and confidence of women specially the ones who have just entered their professional lives. Other factors involve religion and cast differences that lead to hatred and leg pulling which is a very unprofessional act. For example, the way Jan’s clothes and appearance were criticised, it was a really shameful thing to do but unfortunately, many in our society do not understand it and instead take pride doing so.

When Jan talked to Wendy about her concerns, she reacted in a calm way and everything seemed normal until Jan’s appearance and work became a victim of severe criticism in the following weeks. Even the rest of the employees were afraid to talk to her in Wendy’s presence which is why she was isolated in her office just because she, in a very polite way, picked out some errors in Wendy’s work.

The effects of the issues highlighted above may include a negative workplace environment. Employees will feel protective towards them or have fear of job loss and this may affect interactive sessions among them. Since, a happy workplace environment is one of the keys to productivity and success of the company, these factors will have the opposite effect and may lead to losses.

Bullying will affect employees motivation towards their work that results in low job satisfaction level. The negative environment will also result in a high turnover rate i.e the percentage of employees resigning from the company within a certain time period. Moreover, this will adversely affect organization’s image in market place due to negative word of mouth.

Many employees who have an emotional reaction to bullying won’t be able to work with focus since fear and confidence can never be parallel to each other. For example, we wouldn’t be surprised to know that Jan would have been mentally and physically affected when they almost isolated her as bullying restricts itself and the victim to negativity. It might lead to lack of sleep, restlessness, non-punctuality, difficulty in making decisions, less creativity and energy to do work. Right now, we are discussing an individual level but if this happens with a group of people, it will directly affect the outcomes of the company.
Bullying will not only affect the professional life but also have adverse affects on the personal life. Since half of the day is spend while working in office, if the day did not go well, it will set the mood for the rest of the evening resulting in dry conversations with family and friends and less willingness to meet them.

Imagine yourself having a bad day at work, when you get home you wouldn’t have the patience to bear anything that adds to the bad time and if something slightly goes wrong, it will bring out the build up frustration and aggression along the day affecting your relationships with others.

When everyone isolated Jan, it was only Margaret and Colin who talked to her. When Jan shared the incident with them, she got to know that they had been through a similar with Wendy.

Sometimes, bullying erodes your abilities for counter arguments and the victim usually chooses to stay quiet. This is exactly what happened with Margaret and Colin. They could not find a way to handle Wendy as she became violent and abusive in extreme situations. Because of Wendy, their colleagues did not prefer to talk to them just the way they avoided Jan. Here we can relate that bullying does not only target one person, it targets many people, directly or indirectly. And it can affect many lives all together.

Jan spoke to her union organizer about this issue and the issue was addressed in the next union workplace meeting. The meeting agenda included workplace bullying. Many in the meeting shared their experiences as well some of which were even receiving a medical treatment as a result of the harsh attitudes they had to deal with at workplace. The meeting passed several resolutions in relation to workplace bullying which included that all future incidents of workplace bullying would be recorded and provided to the union, all members would sign a petition stating that in future no member would attend a direct meeting with management unless they were accompanied by a workplace delegate, the union will take action on behalf of any member whose health gets affected by bullying. Also, within six weeks Wendy was transferred to another position other than supervision.

Bullying is one of the greatest issues we face in our lives and we need to come up with solutions for it in order to bring peace into our lives. The best way is to start talking more openly about it. In university, there should be more awareness of it by conducting seminars, TEDX talks, posters entitled ‘say no to bullying’ in the entire campus etc. This will help us to communicate to the victims that there are people out there to help them. Also, training programmes should be conducted on how to deal with bullies so that in future when students get into their practical lives, they are aware of what type of situations can come their way and how they can fight them.

Creating a strong HR department and implementing strong rules will also contribute as a solution. It is actually the first step to solve this issue on a huge platform like university. The implementation should be so strong that you actually gain the trust of people and they know action will be taken if such incidents are reported. To make sure the procedure is well conducted; emails and all means of communications must be recorded so that nobody can dodge in the process of communicating the issues to the heads of the organization. Moreover, installing cameras and an improved observation service should be introduced to make sure instant action is taken.

There could be a number of essays on this diverse topic and still the issue would continue to grow rapidly in this world unless every individual realizes their responsibilities towards others. We need to be more conscious and sensitive towards the emotions of others and reflect twice on our words and actions because things that are not hurtful for us may be hurtful for others. It all starts with us. If Wendy would have realized her mistake after the meeting she would not have been transferred to another position.

Moreover, if Jan did not speak for herself and talk to the union organizer, she would be in the same position like Margaret and Colin. When Jan started her work, Wendy made a negative image of them in her mind and in Jan’s sub consciousness, she boycotted them on the basis of someone else’s opinions about them.

Cite this paper

Workplace Bullying. (2020, Sep 05). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/workplace-bullying/



Can I record my boss yelling at me UK?
Yes, you can legally record your boss yelling at you in the UK as long as you are a participant in the conversation and do not intend to use the recording for any illegal purposes.
What is the most common workplace harassment?
The most common workplace harassment is sexual harassment. This includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
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