Researchers at the New University of British Columbia have revealed that individuals who witness bullying at work places may develop a stronger urge to quit their jobs in comparison to those who experience bullying firsthand.
The results of the study carried out by the Sauder School of Business, at the UBC, strongly indicates that bullying at work place has a damaging effect and it may be more traumatic and expensive than what was originally thought.
AdvertisementThe results of the study have been published in the recent version of the journal Human Relations.
Prof. Sandra Robinson, of the Sauder School and co-author of the study says, "We tend to assume that people experiencing bullying bear the full brunt. However, our findings show that people across an organization experience a moral indignation when others are bullied that can make them want to leave in protest."
A survey was conducted on 357 nurses working in 41 units of a huge Canadian health authority. The nursing industry was selected for the study as previous research had indicated that bullying is rampant in the health care industry, particularly among the nurses.
Questionnaires were distributed to the nurses to assess the level of bullying in each unit, and to assess each individual's experience. The analysts evaluated the possibility of the respondents quitting the organization where the bullying took place.
It was found that all the respondents who experienced bullying directly or indirectly were more likely to quit their jobs than those who did not experience bullying. The results also showed that a greater number of nurses, who witnessed bullying as bystanders had a strong desire to leave. Prof. Robinson pointed out that even if an employee with an unrealized desire to leave stayed on, the organization's productivity is likely to suffer severely.
"Managers need to be aware that the behavior is pervasive and it can have a mushrooming effect that goes well beyond the victims," says Prof.Robinson. "Ultimately bullies can hurt the bottom line and need to be dealt with quickly and publicly so that justice is restored to the workplace."
Bullying is a pattern of aggressive behavior that uses force or coercion to affect or control others. Bullying may be physical or verbal or and it is directed against a target who is less strong. Bullying may occur on the grounds of religion, race, gender, sexuality, physical appearance and ability.
The most gruelling aspect of bullying is that it is relentless and the victim may live for long periods in constant fear. They may even develop mental health problems and are more likely to contemplate suicide.
There are ways to survive bullying and some of them are listed below -
Ignore the bully and walk away from him/her
Control your anger
Never use physical violence
Talk about the issue to a counselor or a friend
Find true friends who will be with you and accept you for what you are
If you are being bullied at work -
Make a note of every episode of bullying in a diary
If the bullying is severe, send details to the senior management
Avoid character assassination while making complaints
Make sure someone friendly remains with you during meetings regarding the bullying issue
Get a doctor's certificate when sick and make sure the bully's name is mentioned in the note.