Posts Tagged ‘coworkers’


WBI Survey: Reversing Emotional Abuse

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

REVERSING EMOTIONAL ABUSE
WBI Research/Instant Poll: 2014 – D

WBI credits friend and researcher Loraleigh Keashly for coining the term Emotional Abuse at Work as synonym for workplace bullying. Her 1998 review of the then-current scientific literature was aptly titled. Bullying always impacts the targeted person’s emotional state. The effect is always negative, not positive. In most cases, individuals are either happy or emotionally neutral at work, content to do their jobs. Bullying comes unannounced and uninvited. It compels immediate attention. All of one’s cognitive resources are deployed to cope with the psychological assault.

In worst cases, there is trauma that must be dealt with. In all cases, the target is stigmatized and social relations with coworkers strained. At the very least, the onset of bullying is a sad event. The once neutral or happy person is forced into negativity. At the outset, attempts to think “happy, positive thoughts” are overwhelmed by the negative reality imposed by the abuser.

Bullying triggers distress, the human stress response in reaction to the bully’s tactics, the stressors. If left unabated, prolonged distress leads to stress-related diseases, all sorts of health complications.

The most effective stress mitigation factor is social support. Validating human support can reverse the deleterious effects of emotional abuse. Isolation exacerbates the distress. Sometimes learning about the first-time experience can alleviate distress. After all, bullying is rather ambiguous when first experienced.

WBI research (WBI IP 2013-H) found that for 33% of bullied targets, their bullying at work was the first abuse ever experienced in their lives. Those people will take the longest to recognize Only 19% were bullied in school; they may or may not recognize the bullying happening to them at work because they might have expected bullying to have ended with school ending. Sadly, 44% of targets have a prior history with abuse from family experiences. Prior history alone does not guarantee instant recognition and labeling of the emotional abuse happening to them, but their visceral reactions become cues to recognition. They have “been there before” with respect to the emotional negativity; they have known fear, apprehension and anxiety.

WBI Instant Polls are online single-question surveys that rely upon self-selected samples of individuals bullied at work (typically 98% of any sample). No demographic data are collected. Our non-scientific Instant Polls accurately depict the perceptions of workers targeted for bullying at work as contrasted with the views of all adult Americans in our scientific national surveys.

For this survey, we asked 820 respondents (bullied targets and witnesses) to describe sources of positivity for bullied targets shrouded in negative emotions.

Question: As a bullied target, who made you feel better, changed your negative emotions to positive or at least less negative?
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Posted in Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, WBI Surveys & Studies | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



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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Impact of Workplace Bullying on Coworkers

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Impact of Workplace Bullying
on Coworkers

Despite the rare success story in coworkers joined the bullied target to confront the bully and jointly testified to the employer about what was done to their injured colleague, most coworkers are notorious for not helping bullied targets. It is hurtful to expect that level of support. From a 2008 WBI study, we know that that rare collaboration happens in less than 1% of cases.

Here we want to discuss how witnesses to bullying in their workplace can be adversely affected. From the WBI 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, we know that 21% of adult Americans have been indirect, or vicarious, victims of bullying. Just as families are affected without being the direct targets of bullying, so are coworkers.

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Witnesses in the bullying NFL locker room culture

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

The inaction of witnesses is an underreported aspect of the media saturation coverage of the Martin-Dolphins-Incognito bullying case.

As all bullied targets are aware, witnessing coworkers do little to help. In less than 2% of cases they spring to action to help bullied colleagues. [See the WBI 2008 Coworker Response survey] They are fearful — of being next, of betraying the bully and of getting harmed when intervening.

In the Dolphins locker room, there were many 300 pound witnesses to Richie Incognito’s mistreatment of Jonathan Martin. Why didn’t they simply stomp Incognito into the ground?

Here are some reasons.

(1) Incognito had “leader” status among the players. By some he was revered. Remember a coach called him a “model citizen.” He was the NFL personified.

(2) Incognito had a history of aggression with some. In the past he might have made them his targets. Burned once, former targets lay low.

(3) Cowardly witnesses — professional athletes and accountants alike — don’t want to get involved, reasoning it safest for them to stay out of others’ disputes. These are the do-nothing enablers. They are the “good Germans” Hitler depended on to tame the nation.

(4) Witnesses rationalize their failure to stand by colleagues hurt by relationships within the team by believing that the bullied target somehow deserved his fate. Martin must have angered Incognito for Incognito to have ridden him for a full season and one-half. This blame-the-victim tendency is not restricted to sports organizations or workplaces in general; it is societal. It is called the Fundamental Attribution Error.

(5) The target deserved his fate. Martin is not a full participant in the macho NFL culture as practiced in the Dolphins locker room.

We observers of bullying in our workplaces declare that we would intervene because it is the right thing to do. However, this optimism is balderdash. When circumstances call for intervention, we are all cowards.

To date, Martin is alone in walking out. He should not expect much public support, though friends will call confidentially. Incognito’s sycophants will Twitter his virtues for the world to read.

Follow the full story in the Category list in the sidebar: NFL: Jonathan Martin

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Posted in NFL: Jonathan Martin, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Mayor & City Council proud to have “ended” workplace bullying in Wheaton

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Wheaton, Illinois city officials, embarrassed by the recent disclosure of a culture of bullying and harassment that some say has lurked in a specific city department for years, say the city and department have rebounded in the months since the incidents were reported to council members.

A recent investigative report by the Chicago Tribune uncovered a city employee who is believed to have endured years of “crude pranks, improper touching and taunts about sensitive personal issues” and the discipline meted out against the two co-workers responsible and their supervisors.

Mayor Michael Gresk said Monday that, back in February, one of the “primary tormentors” was suspended without pay for one week while another was moved to a different division. Supervisors, he said, were also disciplined “for letting it go on,” but he did not disclose their punishment.

“This is a situation that we address in regular training so if this behavior was going on, it was under the radar. Once senior management became aware of it they jumped on it and launched an investigation,” Gresk said, noting the discipline was handed down in February and the council made aware of the situation in April. “We are not taking this lightly as a city. Once we were made aware, there was a police investigation and hours and hours of meetings with human resources officials with all of the parties involved.

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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Main St: This Workplace Offense is More Common than Sexual Harassment

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

By Susan Kreimer, Main Street, August 7, 2013

Bullies exert control in schools, playgrounds, cyber space—and in the workplace, too. But adults typically don’t expect as much empathy as kids do. Many suffer in silence.

“Ideally, coworkers should intervene,” says Gary Namie, who co-founded the Workplace Bullying Institute with his wife, Ruth, in Bellingham, Wash. in 1997. “However, research shows that this happens in less than 1% of incidents.” Compounding a bullied worker’s misery, “employers seem reluctant to act.”

Bullying on the job occurs four times more often than sexual harassment or racial discrimination, according to the institute, which is leading a national campaign to enact the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill in all 50 states.

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Posted in Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, WBI in the News | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



The Courage to Face Workplace Bullying Demons

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Are bullies demons? Bully apologists abhor “demonizing” abusers in the workplace. What’s the alternative? Revere them. Thank them for showing us how loathsome and dark can be the human condition? Ignore their cruelty foisted on the best and brightest workers whose principal goal of every day is to be “left alone” to do their jobs? Of course, that’s exactly what bully apologists do. We think they stand on the wrong side of the moral fence.

We at WBI are target-centric. We’ve chosen the other side. We didn’t start the U.S. Workplace Bullying movement to treat it as an academic exercise in neutrality. Targets deserve and need support. Institutions do a fine job of defending perpetrators.

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Posted in Target Tale, WBI Education | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



Workplace Bullying Witnesses Suffer Depression: Swedish Study

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

In a just published large sample (n=4,238) study across four Swedish industries — paper mills, steel factory and truck manufacturer — researchers from the government’s Institute of Environmental Medicine followed witnesses to workplace bullying for 18 months. At the end of the measurement period, women witnesses showed a higher prevalence of clinical depression (33.3%) than did men witnesses (16.4%).

This study clearly showed that exposure to bullying, a vicarious experience for witnesses, is a significant risk factor in developing depression from negative conditions in the workplace. That’s the major finding from the study.

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Posted in Bullying & Health, Bullying-Related Research, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences, WBI Education | 5 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Coworker Deception

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Erin Bryant, grad student at Arizona State, and Patricia Sias, Professor at Washington State co-authored a clever scholarly article on workplace deception. For Communications Currents, they summarized their work describing four different types of deception and the organizational consequences of each. Targets of bullying will recognize the types instantly.

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Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Tutorials About Bullying | 4 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Unhelpful Co-Workers? Abilene Paradox

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Why Team Members Won’t or Can’t Help

Abilene Paradox

Jerry Harvey honored his Texas roots when he named this phenomenon. The group dynamic is perhaps the most relevant to understanding why bullies can be witnessed by so many people and still get away with it.

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Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Tutorials About Bullying | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



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