So now that we know the “who?” and “why?” of WB, we should focus on what we can do about this phenomenon. If research indicates that this is happening in an overwhelming amount of organizational settings, what is being done about this problem?
The WBI has researched why it seems that employers do so little to prevent or stop WB.
Poor Leadership and Inept Managers
- Research indicates that 72% of bullies are part of leadership.
- The perpetrator may be part of a club or clique that includes different organizational departments such as HR.
- Some individuals are directed to bully others by those of elevated status
- Bullying can occur when there is a lack of supervisory training. Without training of good supervisory skills there is room for habits that lead to the occurance of WB.
- Leadership blames problems on “bad apples” deflecting blame to excuse them of responsibility.
Employers don’t know how to stop bullies
- As we stated previously many bullies are members of leadership. Bullies can also be a boss or employee favorite. In an organizational culture where there is little accountability, these individuals are never confronted.
- We have also seen in many cases where leadership may fear a bully. There are many emotional elements to bullying. As we discussed this behavior seeks to attach a person personally using work related functions.
- Leadership may often fear an emotional confrontation with the bully because they fear conflict and don’t want to do an investigation. The decision not to react endorses this behavior.
WB is underreported.
- 40% of bullying is never reported
- WB is often referred to as “conflict”, “difference in personality”, or “difference in management styles”. These references – that do exist- are not terms for this behavior. WB is a form of psychological violence and relational aggression that harm and use work functions as a wapon of choice.
- When individuals do report, reprisal and retaliation follow. Because many employees have seen this to be an outcome or predict this may be an outcome – they choose not to report.
WB is legal
- 80% of workplace harassment and mistreatment is legal. American and other westernized civilizations are known to have societies with individualist orientations vs. a sociocentric orientation that is present in other cultures. Our individualistic society rewards aggression and competition in the workplace. These can be good things; however, many times these efforts lack the presence of empathy for others.
- Organizations are more likely to refer to members as winners and losers, failures and successes, those that are built for it and those that are not. WB is often swept under these rugs.
- Bullying is highly tolerated in business and is seen as a useful tool for desired outcomes. Because of this, lawmakers are reluctant to pass laws.
Healthy Workplace Bill
Dr. Gary Namie is the national director of the campaign to pass The Healthy Workplace Bill. The HWB is designed to protect employers and employees from an abusive workplace environment.
This is the best way to assure that WB and other behaviors will no longer be legal and therefore no longer affect the well-being of employees, and productivity of the workplace.
Support The Bill
Have you been a victim or witness to WB? Are you an HR or Educational professional that would like to support the bill? Are you simply an employee that would like to assure a healthy workplace for yourself and others?
If you find that you may fall in any of these categories, you can support this bill by connecting with your state coordinator and committing to volunteer efforts that would help get this bill passed in your state. Has the HWB made any progress in your state?