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Bullying at Work

Bullying at the work place has become a major cause of worry on account of the impact they have on the individuals. Bullying can be defined as an intimidating, offensive or malicious conduct to an individual or a group of people which has the power to humiliate or cause physical or mental ill-health to the latter. It is said that according to the Zogby survey 45% of the individuals who are the victims of bullying suffer from stress related illness. Therefore understanding the blow on account of bullying is inevitable to maintain a healthy environment in the entity.

Bullying might be in the form of verbal abuse, ignorance to one’s opinions, persistent criticism, blocking promotion, underrating one’s efforts, assignment of menial tasks, etc. These acts can be counted as bullying only if it is persistent. Occasional outbursts from the supervisor should not be mistaken for bullying as that could be the outcome of work related stress or as a correction method. Bullying is destructive criticism and should not be mistaken with constructive criticism. In most cases supervisors are the people who subject an individual to bullying. In extreme cases, bullying also includes physical violence. Taking credit for the work done by the employee, setting unattainable deadlines, refusing holidays for no reason can also be accounted to bullying.

The physical health of the employees gets unduly affected by bullying. Anxiety, aggression and depression, headaches, sleeplessness, cardiovascular diseases, all can reveal the signs of stress on account of bullying. Persistent bullying can induce the people to resort to alcoholism which can further deteriorate their health. The victims become highly prone to accidents as bullying affects their level of concentration. If the employee is constantly blamed for the work he does, he loses his self confidence and it will leave a long term impact on his career.

Bullying is expensive from the point of view of the employer. The victims of bullying lose interest in the job they do, resulting in poor quality to the services rendered. The time taken to perform the allotted task is higher on account of the absence of motivation. Physical and mental illness leads to increased absenteeism from the job and in extreme cases it can result in employee turnover. When the employees leave the organisation the time and money spent on training the employees leads to wasted resources. Lack of proper action on the bully can directly affect the good will of the company.

When an individual is a victim of bullying, he can approach the bully directly and try to find a solution for the same. The victim should always prevent a confrontation as it will end up in making the situation worse. If this tactic fails to create the desired outcome, the individual can draw the attention of those in the higher levels of the hierarchy. In most cases as the employers are aware of the impact bullying has on the work and the good will of the company, they call for immediate action. But under those circumstances where it failed to function, the injured party can take the matter to the attention of the trade union. If one does not have the confidence to approach anyone he should understand the repercussions of continuing in such an environment and take steps to leave the organisation before the matter worsens.

Bullying is a great threat to the health of a business organisation. Studies conducted by Sandy Herschcovis and Julian Barling of Queen’s University inOntario revealed that bullying hurts employees more than sexual harassment, thereby resulting in more job stress, anxiety and less job commitment.

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