Workplace bullying is a practice observed in organizations when certain employees or employers repeatedly mistreat their co-workers. This mistreatment is usually harmful and offensive in its nature, and it can have the form of verbal and non-verbal abuse (Baack, 2012). In this situation, the victims of bullying are targets, and their perpetrators are bullies, whose behavior often leads to creating a negative atmosphere in the workplace (Wiedmer, 2011). The purpose of this paper is to review the article by Terry L. Wiedmer and reflect on the practices of bullying and strategies to address them.
Impact of Workplace Bullying on Victims and Organizations
The article starts with defining workplace bullying as a concept to provide the background for the analysis. Wiedmer (2011) also provides statistics related to this organizational problem, discussing the prevalence of the issue. Thus, most bullies usually take leading positions, and bullies are often males. About half of targets develop health problems because of experienced stress, but they do not report their problems.
The author also discussed the profiles of bullies and targets, practices used by bullies, and practices to address the problem (Wiedmer, 2011). The impact of workplace bullying on targets is negative in terms of effects on health, high levels of stress, decreased productivity, and the reduced quality of life. Organizations also suffer from workplace bullying because of developing an insecure workplace, a negative atmosphere, decreased performance and productivity, the lack of cooperation, high costs, and high levels of absenteeism and turnover (Baack, 2012; Wiedmer, 2011). These impacts need to be overcome by leaders to promote positive relationships in the workplace.
Witnessing Workplace Bullying and Practices of Bullying
Working in large corporations with many employees, a high turnover level, and a lack of supervision, it is possible to witness workplace bullying. The most typical practice that can be observed and that is mentioned by Wiedmer (2011) is the increase in responsibility associated with decreasing authority. Thus, in the discussed organization, there was a practice when the assistants of managers were expected to address a range of responsibilities and duties, being exposed to a developed system of fees.
If they could not handle their numerous tasks, which still were not reflected in their contracts, they were fired. Another observed practice included setting unrealistic goals and timelines (Wiedmer, 2011). Some employees were selected by managers as targets because they were ethical, responsible, and skillful, and these individuals usually received tasks and deadlines that could not be addressed without stress and overwork.
Techniques to Be Implemented by Management
The first technique to be used to manage workplace bullying is regular communication with employees to learn about the atmosphere in a team. Managers need to pay attention to the relationships in the workplace to be able to recognize and prevent bullying (Francioli et al., 2016; Wiedmer, 2011). Another recommended technique is the development and implementation of an effective anti-bullying policy in an organization (Wiedmer, 2011). According to this policy, bullying should be clearly defined, recognized promptly, and addressed with the help of available resources in order to support affected employees (Samnani & Singh, 2016). Employees should know what punishment will follow bullying in the workplace.
Workplace bullying should be prevented in organizations because it has many negative effects on employees’ productivity, performance, cooperation, communication, stress levels and job satisfaction. If bullying is not addressed, it is possible to expect high turnover levels, problems with employees’ psychological health, and affected interaction and collaboration. In the discussed article, there are clearly described practices of bullying and techniques that can be applied to resolve the problem in a company.
Baack, D. (2012). Management communication (10th ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint.
Francioli, L., Høgh, A., Conway, P. M., Costa, G., Karasek, R., & Hansen, Å. M. (2016). Do personal dispositions affect the relationship between psychosocial working conditions and workplace bullying? Ethics & Behavior, 26(6), 451-469.
Samnani, A. K., & Singh, P. (2016). Workplace bullying: Considering the interaction between individual and work environment. Journal of Business Ethics, 139(3), 537-549.
Wiedmer, T. L. (2011). Workplace bullying: Costly and preventable. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 77(2), 35-41.