Bullying Affects Observers Even More Than Victims
A new study on workplace bullying offered a startling finding: Employees who witness bullying in their work units are even more likely to want to quit their jobs than the employees who are the bullies’ direct victims. This finding shows that the damage bullies do to morale in an organization may be even more pervasive and more costly than previously thought. Employers need to be aware that bullying can have a “mushrooming effect that goes well beyond the victims” and that “bullies can hurt the bottom line,” the study’s co-author said.
The study, from the University of British Columbia, surveyed nurses at a large hospital. The researchers asked if people had witnessed or experienced many types of bullying behaviors, ranging from types of bullying that were relatively minor to those that were more extreme, including whether anyone at work had made angry gestures (such as pounding fists or rolling eyes), withheld resources (supplies or equipment) the victims needed to do their jobs, damaged the victims’ property, or physically assaulted their victims. The researchers measured the nurses’ desire to quit their jobs by asking their reactions to statements such as, “If I had a chance, I would change to some other organization.”
The study authors suggest that the high rate of distress shown by witnesses to bullying might stem from their sense of moral outrage, with their perception of unfairness increasing when they see others being bullied while they are not.
WeComply’s 30-minute online workplace bullying training course describes workplace bullying, addresses issues of bullying by co-workers, bosses, clients and vendors, and explains how to avoid or best respond to bullying behaviors.Categories: Workplace Compliance
Tags: Workplace Bullying