October 12th, 2011

CNN study: Schoolyard bullies not just preying on the weak

Everyone already knows of the common stereotype, how bullies pick on the weakest kid on the playground. It is often used to justify the act of bullying itself, like a form of social Darwinism that makes it okay to commit acts of assault on another person. The Workplace Bullying Institute has found in its research that workplace bullies actually target the strongest, most capable employees. Particularly the ones who represent a threat to an incompetent manager’s own job. But a new CNN study shows this is also true of schoolyard bullies in their quest for social dominance.

This begs the question: do these kids grow up to be workplace bullies, or does the workplace make its own class of bullies? Tell us what you think in the comments section.

New York (CNN) — A new study commissioned by CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360°” found that the stereotype of the schoolyard bully preying on the weak doesn’t reflect reality in schools.

Instead, the research shows that many students are involved in “social combat” — a constant verbal, physical and cyber fight to the top of the school social hierarchy.

To read more visit: CNN study: Schoolyard bullies not just preying on the weak – CNN.com.


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  1. J. says:

    I think many bullies must be bullies from childhood forward. It seems to me that some of these people are fundamentally abusive – bullying seems part of who they are at a very basic level. I am absolutely convinced that at least two of the bullies I encountered at my prior workplace were totally devoid of conscience. They would do anything – no matter how vile, sadistic, or even criminal – to abuse their targets and they showed no remorse, or even the ability to understand why what they did caused problems. Not all of the bullies I encountered took it that far, but there were a couple who were like nothing I have ever encountered. I’ve never liked the word much, but I believe my former dean is evil. She seems to lack basic humanity and I cannot imagine she was any different as a child.

  2. kachina says:

    I think that a defining feature of bullying is that it is used to exploit a (real or perceived) weakness in the target…and that given the right circumstances and social support ANYTHING that sets an individual apart from a group can be used as a lever to enhance discrepancy to artificially create an illusion of separateness.

    Until we as a species accept that we are all US and there is no THEM, we will continue to wage wars and engage in destructive social and interpersonal behaviours. “Stop it” has never been adequate intervention even where insight is present. The social environment has to change to support health and life-enhancing practices.

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