Sunday, November 12, 2006

Bullies and the Workplace War Zone

Bullying_2 Here's an article about just how serious bullying in the workplace can become for those who suffer from it and why there may need to be a separate cause of action to deal with particularly egregious situations (Yahoo! News via

The office might be far from the playground, but it’s not off limits to bullies. From a screaming boss to snubbing colleagues, bullies can create a “war zone” in the workplace.

In a recent study, bullied employees likened their experiences to a battle, water torture, a nightmare or a noxious substance. Understanding the seriousness of workplace bullying and what it feels like to get bullied could help managers put the brakes on the behavior, shown to afflict 25 to 30 percent of employees sometime during their careers.

The scientists interviewed 17 women and 10 men ranging from 26 to 72 years old, who had experienced bullying. Often, people have trouble putting into words their emotions surrounding bully behavior. So the researchers analyzed the metaphors found throughout the participants’ descriptions of bullying.

More than any other metaphor, participants characterized bullying as a contest or battle, with a female religious educator saying, “I have been maimed. … I’ve been character assassinated.” Others expressed feeling “beaten, abused, ripped, broken, scared and eviscerated,” the researchers stated in the upcoming issue of the journal Management Communication Quarterly.

Hat tip:    Miriam Cherry


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Workplace bullying is a serious problem that companies must deal with better.
My story happened at Telcordia in Piscataway, NJ in 1999. A guy in my group started tormenting me at work because of a woman I was friends with. I transferred out of the group and it just got worse and went on for a few weeks. I had a breakdown and spent 4 1/2 months on sick leave. When I got back I found out he had gotten in trouble before with the company for bothering someone else. I left the company shortly after but am only now beginning to be as happy as I was before the incident.

Bob H
Belmar, NJ

Posted by: Bob H | Nov 13, 2006 9:05:27 PM