Workplace Bullying: What We Know, Who Is to Blame, and What Can We Do?

Workplace Bullying: What We Know, Who Is to Blame, and What Can We Do?

Workplace Bullying: What We Know, Who Is to Blame, and What Can We Do?

Workplace Bullying: What We Know, Who Is to Blame, and What Can We Do?

Synopsis

A variety of surveys have revealed that bullying in the workplace is an issue endemic within working life in Britian. This study goes beyond the studies it draws from to explore all the issues associated with what is becoming a major problem.

Excerpt

Bullying at work as an issue may have only come to prominence in the 1990s. However, it has existed in many organisations, including for instance the police service, for years. Since the incidence of bullying within the workplace was highlighted through the campaign by the indefatigable Andrea Adams before her untimely death in 1995, this problem has been real and debilitating.

Joining the Campaign Against Bullying at Work was a direct result of a direction from beyond the grave! I had come to know Andrea Adams not long before my daughter Suzy was murdered. Andrea became a great friend whose work on bullying I much admired. When she became ill I asked how I could help progress her work. The answer came in a letter, followed up by a note in The Times (alongside the notice of her death) that 'The Suzy Lamplugh Trust are making sure that her work would flourish'. We had no choice. However, we have never regretted her delegation. Nor do we ever forget the debt we owe her, and we pay tribute to the way she raised the public profile of this scourge at work.

Workplace bullying constitutes unwanted, offensive, humiliating, undermining behaviour towards an individual or groups of employees. Such persistently malicious attacks on personal or professional performance are typically unpredictable, irrational and often unfair. This abuse of power or position can cause such chronic stress and anxiety that people gradually lose belief in themselves, suffering physical ill health and mental distress as a result.

Workplace bullying affects working conditions, health and safety, domestic life and the right of all to equal opportunity and treatment. Workplace bullying is a separate issue from sexual or racial harassment. It is a gradually wearing-down process which makes individuals feel demeaned and inadequate, that they can never get anything right and that they are hopeless not only within their work environment but also in their domestic life. In many instances bullying can be very difficult to detect. It often takes place where there are no witnesses. It can be subtle and devious and often it is difficult for those on the receiving end to confront their perpetrator.

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