Posts Tagged ‘2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey’


Officevibe: Workplace Bullying is a Huge Problem

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

By Jacob Shriar – Officevibe – August 27, 2014

Workplace bullying is a serious issue.

It’s an issue that I don’t think gets enough attention, considering how big of a problem it is.

I was really shocked and surprised when I learned at how often bullying in the workplace takes place.

A recent survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute shed some important light on this issue.

Let’s look at some of the more interesting numbers from the survey:

These numbers are incredible.

The 2 numbers that really stick out at me, are the fact that 56% of the time, it comes from a manager or senior leader, and that most employers deny or discount (25% and 16% respectively).

This is why I’m such a big fan of having a flat hierarchy. It’s been proven many times that power corrupts, and so it doesn’t surprise me that most of the bullying comes from someone in a higher position of power than you.

For the employer to hide or discount it as not being serious is so stupid. It’s incredibly serious, because it has a major effect on your company culture.

According to a study from the Sauder School of Business at UBC, workers who witness bullying have a stronger urge to quit than those who experience it firsthand.

A lot of people don’t stop to think about this. The bullying doesn’t only affect the person that was bullied. It has a terrible effect on morale. And as the study showed, just witnessing workplace bullying gets people to want to quit.

This is what happened to me personally at a company I used to work for.

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Forbes: Can Boomers Stop The Bullying At Work?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

By Nancy Collamer, Forbes, August 25, 2014

If you saw a young child being pushed around on the playground, chances are you would intervene. But are you equally proactive when you see bullying at work?

While this may sound like a hypothetical question, it’s anything but. According to a 2014 survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), 27% of Americans have been bullied at work, 21% have witnessed it and 72% of us are aware that workplace bullying happens.

Real bullying involves more than just bad management and obnoxious behavior.

How Bullying Can Harm A Victim’s Health

It also means health-harming behaviors that can include verbal abuse, offensive conduct and intentional sabotage. And workplace bullying doesn’t just harm the victim. It leads to poor morale, high turnover and low productivity, which impact the entire organization.

The problem is now so widespread that lawmakers in 15 states have introduced legislation aimed at prodding employers to take the matter seriously or face consequences.

Why Boomers Can Be Effective

So what are you willing to do about it? I ask because many boomers are in management and as a result, some are in a good position to take action. Even if you’re not among your employer’s leadership team, you still might be able to make a difference.

If you’re well respected by colleagues, have good relations with key influencers at your employer or have strong job security, it’s likely easier for you to speak up and get management to take bullying seriously than it is for your younger co-workers.

That is an important advantage. Just like on the playground where bigger kids target weaker ones, the majority of workplace bullying is inflicted from the top down. According to the WBI survey, 56% of it is attributed to bosses, compared to 33% that’s blamed on peers. Given this inherent power imbalance, it’s no surprise that few victims stand up to their abusers.

I want to emphasize that not every boomer is in a position to stand up to workplace bullies.

Many older workers are in precarious job situations and know that if they speak up, they could be fired. That’s especially true in environments where bully behavior is a celebrated part of the workplace culture. (Wolves of Wall Street anyone?)

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Workplace Bullying: About U.S. Bullied Targets

Monday, July 28th, 2014


ABOUT BULLIED TARGETS in 2014

Finally, we asked the American public what type of person is targeted for abusive mistreatment in the workplace. Though this was a short, not exhaustive, list of personality traits, the results are clear. Those who claimed to have been aware that workplace bullying happens, believe that the overwhelming majority of individuals targeted possess positive attributes.

That is, the same respondents who believed that targets are mostly incapable of defending themselves against bullying assaults believe targets are kind, cooperative and agreeable. Perhaps these same traits render the guileless person vulnerable to unpredictable attacks. This Survey does not provide a way to draw the causal link between the traits and targets’ ability to defend themselves.

It is noteworthy that only 6% of targets are considered abusers themselves.

Question: Which personal style best describes the targeted person?

Download the About Bullied Targets 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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Workplace Bullying: Causal Factors in the U.S.

Monday, July 21st, 2014

CAUSAL FACTORS in 2014

Two questions explored with varying levels of accuracy the public explanation for why bullying happens.

In the better of the two Survey items, we asked respondents to choose one primary factor or reason for the bullying.

Question: Which one factor is most responsible for abusive mistreatment at work?

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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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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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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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Got A Minute? 2014 WBI National Survey

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

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ABA: Workplace Bullying Employer’s Perspective

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

By Monique Gougisha Doucette, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., Americanbar.org, April 2014

In February 2014, the Workplace Bullying Institute issued the comprehensive results and analysis of its Workplace Bullying Survey. This 2014 survey is the third national survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute and based on responses to an online survey of 1,000 adults in the United States. When conducting the 2014 survey, the Workplace Bullying Institute asked the participants/interviewees to consider only “the most serious forms of bullying” when answering the survey questions.

These survey results shine a harsh light on what the Institute refers to as the “prevalence and awareness” of workplace bullying. According to the survey, 27% of Americans have suffered abusive conduct at work and another 21% have witnessed bullying in the workplace. Seventy-two percent of the participants are “aware that workplace bullying happens”–specifically, this number represents the sum of those with direct and vicarious experiences with workplace bullying combined with individuals who do not have such experience, but nonetheless believe that workplace bullying happens.

This survey also provided race and gender demographics related to workplace bullying. The results indicated that workplace bullies were more likely to be male than female (69% v. 31%). However, in 68% of the cases involving female bullies, the victim was also female. Of all the individuals surveyed, Hispanics represented the highest percentage of those “affected” by workplace bullying (56.9%), with African-Americans at 54.1% and Asians at 52.8%. Overall, the non-White participants showed higher percentages of those affected by bullying. The Institute nonetheless concluded that “bullying is cruelty that transcends race and gender boundaries.”

Employer reactions to workplace bullying, according to the survey, are most commonly expressions of “denial and discounting.” Despite significant public awareness and recent discussion regarding workplace bullying, the survey indicated that the participants believed employers failed to appropriately react to abusive conduct. Specifically, 25% of the interviewees stated that employers denied and failed to investigate complaints of bullying and 16% indicated that employers believed the impact of workplace bullying as “not serious.”

At the close of the survey, the Workplace Bullying Institute concluded that the American public wants legislative enactment of protections against workplace bullying, as 63% of the participants “strongly supported” specific anti-workplace bullying legislation and 30% “somewhat supported” such legislation.

Practical tips for employers: Employers are encouraged to have a policy declaring that harassing and threatening behavior toward coworkers is not acceptable. By doing so, employers will create a workplace culture where disruptive and destructive behavior is not ignored or encouraged. At the very least, employers are warned against ignoring bullying allegations or dismissing them as “personality conflicts” between coworkers. Finally, employers must maintain their culture and policies through supervisor training.

Listen to the author participate in an American Bar Association teleconference earlier this year.

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