Posts Tagged ‘neuroticism’

Workplace bullying invades the family of the targeted workers

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Impact on Family

Displacement, Withdrawal, Anxiety & Despondency

The most obvious and direct impact is displacement of the target’s anger and shame about being bullied at work onto the family at home. This is akin to the coming home and “kicking the dog.” When anger can’t be leveled against the source of frustration and humiliation, the bully at work, especially when the bully is a boss, often the only outlet is outside work. The difficulty of confronting-stopping a boss is traced to the historical uphill battle to cross the “power gradient.” Telling a boss to go to hell brings certain retaliation. It’s part of our hierarchical world.

By the way, displacement could occur on the way home. Pity other drivers on the commute home or wait staff at restaurants at lunchtime who might be in harm’s way. Nevertheless, most workers exposed to abusive supervision tend to bring it home. Violence at work begets violence at home.

Much more common is emotional withdrawal. Targets are overwhelmed by emotional abuse and exhausted at work. It takes all energy they can muster just to survive the 8 to 10 hours and commute to home. The stress strips away their appetite. So, they come home, skip dinner, and retire to bed seeking protection that sleep might provide. Sadly, sleep is disrupted by the distress caused by bullying. Solid REM sleep is rarely enjoyed. Sleep deficits make the targeted family member a non-participant, especially weekends. Traditions and family routines get postponed or abandoned completely. Everyone’s schedules are changed to accommodate the wounded worker in the family. This builds resentment. But targets who do not seek counseling or have their bullying situations reversed are trapped in a sleepless withdrawal loop.

Bullied targets also bring home anxiety. This is a normal reaction to the personalized stressors that bullying poses — domination, intimidation and humiliation. Even for individuals who have never experienced abuse (33% of workplace bullying targets), bullying fosters anxiety, the forewarning of distress. Distress, in turn, causes many stress-related health problems for targets. The point is that the anxiety is seen and felt by all family members exposed directly to it.

The inability to stop the bullying by the targeted parent creates a sense of despondency. The unhelpful reactions of coworkers further worsens the feeling. Thus, coming home is the message that mother or father or lover or wife or husband, once an integrated adult, is falling apart, suddenly powerless.

The coupling of anxiety and despondency is a toxic stew that affects the mood at home. Prolonged exposure renders both adults and children vulnerable to long-term effects from situations over which no one at home can control.



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Posted in Bullying & Health, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, WBI Surveys & Studies | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »

Biz school study critiqued: Targets of workplace bullying told to be “nice”

Monday, July 8th, 2013

A study recently published drew much attention with headlines such as: Ugly and Nasty People Are Bullied At Work.

Here we go again. More blaming the victim from business school researchers. This time, it was Brent Scott from Michigan State and Timothy Judge from Notre Dame. In their conclusion, they said that their findings could be used by managers to know who was mistreated in their work groups so they, the managers, could help. Wow. As if managers who hear about bullying among coworkers respond with anything but “work it out between yourselves.” These researchers are out of touch with the reality of workplace bullying.

For us at WBI, the larger problem is that the study was not about workplace bullying at all. The term was not mentioned once in the entire article. It was the press relations office at Michigan State that synopsized the study as one involving workers bullied at work. Funny how critics of bullying are willing to tag along when they consider our topic a “hot” one.

Here is my detailed review of the pair of studies done by Scott and Judge. The negative conduct referred to in the article was actually “Counterproductive Work Behavior” (CWB) defined as “behavior intended to hurt the organization or other members of the organization.”

In reality, the accurate headline should have been.

Statistical Equation Suggests Agreeableness
inversely Correlated with Counterproductive Work Behaviors
When Attractiveness is Limited to Older Workers

Just doesn’t sizzle, does it?



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Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Commentary by G. Namie, Related Phenomena, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

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