Abusive Supervision And Bullying Are Two Of The Biggest Issues Facing The Workplace Today

Abusive Supervision And Bullying Are Two Of The Biggest Issues Facing The Workplace Today

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Abusive supervision and bullying are two of the biggest issues facing the workplace today. Literature struggles to define bullying because of its ambiguous and diverse nature (Bible, 2012; Olive & Cangemi, 2015). Different percentages of the population are shown by research (Bible, 2012; Magee et al., 2015; Olive & Cangemi, 2015; Samnani, 2013) to be affected or involved to some degree, possibly due to the varying definitions of the term “bullying.” Bible (2012) defines it as involving “emotional abuse characterized by hostile verbal and nonverbal behavior directed at a person such that the target’s sense of himself or herself as a competent person and worker is negatively affected” (p. 33). Shoss, Restubog, Eisenberger, and Zagenczyk (2013) say that when supervisors “humiliate, belittle, or otherwise treat subordinates derisively” (p. 158), they are exhibiting abusive supervision. Abusive supervision is a significant problem for organizations because victim employees, or “targets,” often choose to leave. Targets are thought to be non-confrontational, quiet, and weak; on the contrary, victims of bullying are normally well-liked and dedicated to their work (Olive & Cangemi, 2015).
Persistence is a key factor in identifying bullying behaviors; the acts must continue for about six months, and occur at least once a week (Samnani, 2013) to be considered bullying activities. This is important in the discussion of legal issues later.
What is bullying?
Bullies themselves display a few identifying characteristics and traits. Olive and Cangemi (2015) point out that bullies often piggyback the accomplishments of coworkers and are often driven by jealousy. Bible (2012) posits that bullying consists of insults, teasing, public shaming, yellin...

... middle of paper ...

Bullying can be costly to organizations in many ways, both monetarily and through loss of morale. One example of a cost of bullying to an organization is counterproductive work behaviors. Counterproductive work behaviors are acted out by employees to get back at the organization for having to endure bullying or abusive supervision. These behaviors include theft, sabotage, legal action, purposeful low performance, deviance, and withdrawal (Olive & Cangemi, 2015; Shoss et al., 2013).
While finding an exact financial cost for bullying is nearly impossible, Bible (2012) finds:
“…approximately 25 percent of targets and 20 percent of witnesses resign because of a workplace bully; in an organization with 1,000 employees the annual cost is estimated at $750,000. The lowest estimate is that organizations lose $30,000 to $100,000 annually for each bullying incident” (p. 36).

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