Workplace Bullying

Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying, like childhood bullying, is the tendency of individuals or groups to use
persistent aggressive or unreasonable behavior against a co-worker or subordinate.

Workplace bullying can include such tactics as verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse
and humiliation. This type of aggression is particularly difficult because unlike the typical forms of school
bullying, workplace bullies often operate within the established rules and policies of their organization and their

Bullying in the workplace is in the majority of cases reported as having been perpetrated by
management and takes a wide variety of forms:

  • Unfair treatment
  • Public humiliation
  • Regular threats of dismissal
  • Any form of undermining behaviour
  • Credit for work attributed to others
  • Denial of promotion or training opportunities
  • Quick to criticism and slow praise
  • Character assassination
  • Malicious rumors
  • Smear campaigns
  • Social ostracism
  • Physical assault

Statistics from the 2007 WBI-Zogby survey show that 13% of U.S. employees are currently bullied,
24% have been bullied in the past and 12% witness workplace bullying. Nearly half of all American workers (49%)
have been affected by workplace bullying, either being a target themselves or having witnessed abusive behavior
against a co-worker.

Although socio-economic factors may play a role in the abuse, researchers from the Project for
Wellness and Work-Life suggest that “workplace bullying, by definition, is not explicitly connected to demographic
markers such as sex and ethnicity”. Because 1 in 10 employees experiences workplace bullying, the prevalence of
this issue is cause for great concern, even as initial data about this issue are reviewed.


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