Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Workplace Bullying: Tulsa Speaker Says the Epidemic Keeps Spreading

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Workplace Bullying: Tulsa Speaker Says the Epidemic Keeps Spreading

Article excerpt

Spreading rumors, taunting and sabotage.

These are part of an epidemic spreading across the business community: workplace bullying.

"It's a repeated mistreatment," said Gary Namie, founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute. "It takes the form in verbal abuse and humiliating the individual in a work environment."

Namie was brought in by the Tulsa Chapter of the Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium to speak to the local business community about the realities of workplace bullying Thursday afternoon.

The term bullying is typically associated with schoolyard bullies who spend their time making the lives of fellow classmates miserable, said Namie. That results in many not believing bullying is applicable to the work environment.

But there is scientific and academic research that legitimizes the term workplace bullying, said Namie.

Fifty percent of American workers have been affected by workplace bullying, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute-Zogby Survey.

"There is an increasing pressure in the private sector to make profit," he said. "Organizations who have to do more with less is a recipe for stressing people."

These bullies are typically not at the top of the food chain of a business. They are usually at midlevel positions.

There are many reasons why some people become bullies, Namie said. In many cases they were not born as bullies. Rather, the cutthroat business environment turned them into bullies, he said.

Bullies are willing to exploit others to advance their own career, Namie said.

"Bullying is not conflict because conflict can be worked out," he said. "This strips people of their dignity."

The effects of workplace bullying are brutal on a target's health, Namie said. Stress is the most reported health concern with bullying.

"Doctors will say if you are stressed a job can kill you," he said. …

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