Archive for the ‘WBI Surveys & Studies’ Category


Workplace Bullying: Support for U.S. Laws

Monday, July 14th, 2014


SUPPORT FOR A LAW in 2014

Question: Do you support or oppose enactment of a new law that would protect all workers from repeated abusive mistreatment in addition to protections against illegal discrimination and harassment?

The respondents who answered this question were individuals who were directly bullied, those who had witnessed it, the few who were perpetrators, and those with no personal experience but who believed it happened and those who believed it was exaggerated. Those groups taken together constituted the American public who were “aware” of abusive conduct at work, the 72% (See National Prevalence).

It is clear that those respondents, the American public aware of abusive conduct, want to see worker protections extended beyond the anti-discrimination statutes – 93% support specific anti-bullying legislation.

Furthermore, 50% of Survey respondents self-defined as Conservatives strongly support the Healthy Workplace Bill. With such little opposition from
those expected to oppose the bill, it is a certain conclusion that now is the time for passage of this new law.


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Untrustworthy stupid headlines about workplace bullying

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Upon return from a short break, we found a jaw-dropping headline that cannot be believed.

96% of Workers are Bullied at Work!

The non-discerning press copied the press release from a consulting firm named Vital Smarts who have never been players in the workplace bullying arena. [See the US Academy roster to see who is doing credible and important work in America.]

Why do we at WBI say this company’s finding is not believable? Because they do not provide a definition nor describe their research methodology. We at WBI get a 97% bullied rate when we ask those who complete our online surveys. Of course we do. Who comes to this website seeking solutions to their personal problem and may also complete a survey? Bullied targets and witnesses. Our respondents are a “self-selected,” non-random sample. Our research reports clearly state when studies rely on bullied targets’ opinions only.

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New WBI poll — believing bullied workers

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

For bullied targets. When I described what happened to me

View Results

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Workplace Bullying: What Stops U.S. Bullying

Monday, June 16th, 2014

WHAT STOPPED THE BULLYING in 2014

Question: What stopped the abusive mistreatment?


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Workplace Bullying: U.S. Coworkers’ Actions

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

COWORKER REACTION TO BULLYING in 2014

Results from several WBI online surveys of bullied targets reliably show that coworkers rarely help their bullied colleagues. Several social psychological processes operate in the group setting to explain the failure to act prosocially.

The perspective of the general public captured in this national Survey describes circumstances somewhat more positively than surveys of bullied targets. We believe the reference to “most of the witnesses” led to these inexplicable results. The flaw is in the design of the question.

Doing nothing was the most cited tactic. Of course, doing nothing to help colleagues when they are distressed is not a neutral act. It is negative. However, it is not the same as betraying the target by siding with the perpetrator(s). Negative actions were taken in 49% of cases.

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IDG: Workplace bullying in technology companies

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Is Bullying Rife in Tech? by Kathryn Cave, IDG Connect, (UK) May 21 2014

“It was quite insidious,” says Alex [false name]. “The odd comment here or there. And he’d work his way through the team. Then he started on me and I stood up to him… and it got really ugly. Really ugly – to the point where I went and got a lawyer.”

“I am a really strong person,” continues Alex. “Anyone that knows me is just shocked by what went on. But he undermined me so much, it was this whole campaign. It got to the point where you think: am I imagining this is happening? It was very manipulative and subtle: complete psychological and mental bullying. It was awful. And it wasn’t [just] a mental health issue. It was a physical thing. One day I literally started hemorrhaging blood…”

It is at this point that the naysayers will often step in. If it is female being described she would be casually dismissed as “emotional” and most likely “always running to HR”. If it is a male, this it would be the moment to give a kind of appalled snort: clearly he should “man up” and learn to deal with “tough management”.

Yet throughout our conversation, it is plain to see that Alex is extremely bright and analytical; not overtly weak or emotional. This is a firm, likeable and very self-possessed person. And still, although this happened five years ago, Alex is only starting to get over the experience now.

22% of IT Professionals Have Taken Time Off For Stress

The latest research from the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), released in Feb 2014 [PDF] shows 27% of adult Americans have directly experienced “repeated abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, humiliating, work sabotage or work abuse.” And Dr. Namie, Director of WBI and widely regarded as North America’s foremost authority on workplace bullying, stresses this figure would have been far higher, if he had been less stringent with the definition.

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New WBI survey for targets of, & witnesses to, workplace bullying

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Feelings & Experiences

Please complete the survey only if you are, or were, a target of bullying or a witness to it.

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Workplace Bullying: U.S. Employers’ Reactions

Monday, May 19th, 2014




EMPLOYER REACTION TO BULLYING in 2014

In 2014 at the time of the Survey, there was no state or federal law yet enacted to compel American employers to address abusive conduct that occurred outside the limited definitions of illegal discriminatory actions. The absence of a law means that employers may tolerate misconduct without legal risk. Of course, repeated abusive conduct, as defined in the prevalence question, does prove costly for employers who choose to ignore it. Tangible costs include unwanted turnover of key skilled personnel, absenteeism, higher insurance costs (health and employment practices liability), and litigation expenses. Intangible costs include: damage to institutional reputation and an impaired ability to recruit and retain the best talent.

A rational employer would seek to minimize preventable costs and strive to eliminate demonstrable abusive conduct. A 2013 WBI poll conducted by Zogby of Business Leaders, CXO-level corporate leaders, showed that 68% of executives considered “workplace bullying a serious problem.” And according to this current 2014 Survey, 48% of Americans are affected by bullying. Given the confluence of this awareness, we asked the public how employers were voluntarily dealing with bullying without needing to comply with laws.

Question: What do you know to be the most common American employer reaction to complaints of abusive conduct (when it is not illegal discrimination)?


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Workplace Bullying: Race, Ideology, and the U.S. Bullying Experience

Monday, May 12th, 2014

RACE AND THE BULLYING EXPERIENCE in 2014

Below are the percentages within each ethnic group that had been bullied, witnessed it and the combined percentage to represent those “affected” by bullying.


The overall percentage of those affected was 47.7%. All three non-White groups had much higher rates than the U.S. percentage. Hispanics were the highest; African-Americans were second. Non-White respondents are considered to be members of legally protected status groups. Employers have to comply with state and federal anti-discrimination laws. That is, when they endure harassment, they would be eligible to demand protection from their employers in most situations.
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Workplace Bullying: Perpetrator Rank & Number in the U.S.

Monday, April 28th, 2014

PERPETRATOR RANK & NUMBER in 2014

Mobbing was the term adopted by Heinz Leymann to describe health-harming abusive conduct at work. Mobbing implies multiple perpetrators. Mobbing preceded the term workplace bullying. However, WBI has consistently defined bullying as committed by one or more persons. Bullying nearly always escalates to more than one person joining the main instigator to torment the target.

Question: Who was (were) the principal perpetrator(s)?



Respondents said the following:

In 14% of cases, the bullying was generated by a combination of perpetrators operating at different levels of the organization – bosses, peers, and subordinates.

With respect to perpetrator’s rank, not counting the combined sources cases:


This pattern is consistent with previous WBI national Surveys.

No interactions between rank and race or rank and gender were found.

When perpetrators enjoy a higher organizational rank than targets, opportunities to abuse authority present themselves. Further, the likelihood of targets being able to confront the boss about her or his unacceptable conduct approaches zero, given the difficulty of crossing the “power gradient.” Coworker, peer-to-peer, bullying may not involve power differences, but the health harm caused by social exclusion/ostracism that peers employ poses an equal, if not greater, threat to the target’s safety.

Download the Perpetrator Rank & Number mini-Report
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Gary Namie, PhD, Research Director
Research Assistants: Daniel Christensen & David Phillips

© 2014, Workplace Bullying Institute, All Rights Reserved

Download the complete Report | Access individual sections of the Report

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