Workplace Bullying Is A Widespread Phenomenon Essay

Workplace Bullying Is A Widespread Phenomenon Essay

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Workplace bullying is a widespread phenomenon affecting the victim, their family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, and bystanders, and has serious consequences on organisations, costing the Australian economy between $6-$36 billion dollars per year (Vickers, 2014). In addition, 25 to 30% of employees will be a victim of bullying at some point during their work lives, with 10% of employees being bullied at any given time (Vickers, 2014). Due to the prevalence and severe negative effects of bullying, it is highly important for HRM to ameliorate workplace bullying in the organisation through implementing policies and training, and changing corporate culture.

Workplace bullying is the repeated mistreatment of an employee or group of employees, which puts their health and safety at risk (Appelbaum et al., 2012), and is also described as workplace aggression, abuse, harassment, and victimization (Razzaghian & Shah, 2011; D’Cruz et al., 2014). It is also similar to mobbing, though bullying may involve only one perpetrator, while mobbing involves a group of people (Razzaghian & Shah, 2011; Pilch & Turska, 2015). It may manifest either physically or verbally, causing psychological or physical harm (Appelbaum et al., 2012). It is generally characterised by repetition and persistence, and involves an imbalance of power between aggressor and victim (Altman, 2010; D’Cruz et al., 2014).

Saam (2010) suggests that conflict between two parties with approximately equal levels of power should not be considered bullying. Thus, the unequal power relationship is essential for distinguishing bullying from regular conflict. Appelbaum, Semerjian, and Mohan (2012) also distinguishes bullying from deviant workplace behaviour, in which an employee infring...


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... In cases where employees confess to being a victim of bullying, they are frequently faced with a lack of empathy and support from HR, and sometimes disbelief and or denial of their account, and employees may even be blamed for their personal weakness and told to toughen up (Vickers, 2014). This creates a victim-blaming culture and discourages people from speaking up about bullying and reporting it to other parties (such as friends, colleagues, higher managers, and unions), as they may feel that they will not be believed, or that the bullying would not stop even if they did. Observers of bullying may also be frightened to report instances or intervene as they may also be afraid of retribution from the bully (Saam, 2010). This leads to a vicious cycle, as once a victim has become a target of bullying, their chances of being bullied again increase (Razzaghian, 2011).

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