Bullying and Emotional Abuse in the Workplace: International Perspectives in Research and Practice

By Ståle Einarsen; Helge Hoel et al. | Go to book overview

16

Workplace bullying

The role of occupational health services

Maarit Vartia, Leena Korppoo, Sirkku Fallenius and Maj-Lis Mattila


aIntroduction

The aim of this chapter is to discuss the role of occupational health services (OHS) in supporting the individual victims of bullying as well as in preventing, handling and resolving bullying situations in the workplace. Several studies have found that bullying is related to many kinds of stress symptoms and ill health (Einarsen et al., 1996; Kivimäki et al., 2000) among both victims and observers (Vartia, 2001), making the issue important from an OHS perspective. In the early 1990s, only 18 per cent of the targets of bullying in the municipal sector in Finland reported that they had sought help from occupational health professionals. At present, it is our opinion that the targets of bullying increasingly ask for help from OHS and that it is more common for a conflict situation in the workplace to be labelled 'bullying'.

Since three of the writers of this chapter have a great deal of experience in occupational health psychology, with two working at present for the largest nationwide company offering occupational health services in Finland, the perspective of this chapter will be that of occupational health psychology. However, the approaches and methods discussed here should also be useful to other professionals working in OHS. It is necessary for all working in this field to learn to recognise bullying and to analyse such situations together with the client. More profound work, for example therapeutic treatment of bullying victims, should be carried out by a trained psychologist or counsellor. Occupational health units should also have experts with understanding of and professional skills in the area of work and organisational psychology if they plan to offer services to workplaces and organisations in as difficult and complex situations as bullying.


The nature of occupational health services in Finland

The Finnish Occupational Health Care Act obliges employers to organise and finance OHS for each worker, irrespective of the size of the company,

-285-

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Bullying and Emotional Abuse in the Workplace: International Perspectives in Research and Practice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Part 1 - The Problem 1
  • 1 - The European Tradition 3
  • 2 - American Perspectives on Workplace Bullying 31
  • 3 - Basic Facts and an Effective Intervention Programme 62
  • 4 - What is Sexual Harassment? 79
  • Part 2 - The Evidence 101
  • 5 - Introduction 103
  • 6 - Introduction 127
  • 7 - Introduction 145
  • Part 3 - Explaining the Problem 163
  • 8 - Victims and Perpetrators 165
  • 9 - A Social Interactionist Perspective 185
  • 10 - Introduction 203
  • 11 - Why Should We Listen to Employee Accounts? 219
  • 12 - A Postmodern Experience 231
  • 13 - Development, Implementation and Monitoring 247
  • 14 - Introduction 259
  • 15 - Introduction 270
  • 16 - The Role of Occupational Health Services 285
  • 17 - A Systematic Approach Model 299
  • 18 - The Example of South Africa 312
  • 19 - Introduction 327
  • 20 - Introduction 339
  • 21 - Introduction 359
  • 22 - A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing? 370
  • 23 - The Collective Dimension 383
  • 24 - Towards a Transnational Consensus? 399
  • 25 - The Way Forward 412
  • Subject Index 417
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