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Results of Workplace Bullying

June 23, 2010

In her doctoral dissertation  Workplace Bullying: Aggressive Behavior And Its Effect On Job Satisfaction And Productivity(2008)  Judith Lynn Fisher-Blando* researched the effects of workplace bullying on those who endure it, and the productivity in general of a workplace in which this type of behavior is occuring.

Fisher-Blando first defined bullying as being “intentionally malicious, persistent and consistent, and meant to gain control.”  You’ve all seen this kind of behavior – if not in real life, then at least in popular media. Hopefully, you haven’t been the perpetrator of bullying.  At any rate, I think we all can agree that bullying isn’t particularly good for anyone involved.

Analysis of study findings identified that workplace bullying is unhealthy for not only those bullied but also for the organizations that allow bullying to continue. This study provided evidence that bullying behavior creates an unhealthy working environment for all employees and contributes to job dissatisfaction and loss of productivity for employees and loss of profitability for an organization. (Fisher-Blando)

Fully 1/2 of all workers have at some time been the victim of bullying at work. If this is you, you may have developed all kinds of signs of stress leading to physical health issues.  The initial symptoms might just cause some more mild results like indigestion or a headache, but as the bullying progresses, the victim can develop a variety of extreme health issues, including depression or anxiety. **

Let’s back up here a bit though – how does one end up becoming the target of a bully?

Most targets have demonstrated many positive qualities throughout their
professional careers, including competence, intelligence, creativity, integrity, camaraderie, accomplishment, and dedication. Targets are mostly people Goleman (2005) described as emotionally intelligent. In general, those who may become targets have learned to work things out; they examine their own behaviors and correct their behaviors when they have made a mistake. Targets are often high achievers, which makes the bully
feel inadequate and jealous. (Fisher-Blando)
The bottom line here is that education leaders at all levels need to work hard to create a work environment where workplace bullying is not tolerated.  Unions could certainly take this issue on, with some effectiveness if they chose to do so (and from what I am hearing, not many are doing this.) People tend to leave their jobs if it means they have to put up with a poor work environment, and as we’ve already established here on this blog, that’s not good for anyone involved in the education system.

*University of Phoenix

** Williams, K.D., Forgás, J.P. & von Hippel, W. (Eds.) (2005). The Social Outcast: Ostracism, Social Exclusion, Rejection, & Bullying. Psychology Press: New York, NY.

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