Workplace Bullying Defined

One of the things that make workplace bullying so difficult to explain and understand is that we lack an agreed-upon name for the experience. Some call workplace bullying harassment of a non-sexual nature, employee emotional abuse, psychological terror, mobbing, and so forth. A review of research on the subject suggests that all of these terms describe roughly the same phenomenon—repeated, long-lasting aggressive abuse at the hands of other organizational members.

Bullying is exceedingly destructive and is associated with targets’ impaired physical, mental, and occupational health; deterioration of personal relationships outside of work; and economic jeopardy. An audience of coworkers also live in fear of being the next target.”

Bullying constitutes, and is constituted by, hostile work environments marked by pervasive fear and dread of workgroup members. Bullying is both an outcome of hostile work environments and a building block of hostile work environments. Perceived power disparity. Bullying at work is marked by a (perceived or actual) difference in power between perpetrator and target.”

Adult Bullying-A Nasty Piece of Work: Translating a Decade of Research on Non-Sexual Harassment, Psychological Terror, Mobbing, and Emotional Abuse on the Job by Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik

Note: For more information about combating workplace bullying, visit the Workplace Bullying Institute, Beyond Bullying Association, the International Association on Workplace Bullying & Harassment (IAWBH) and the International Conference on Workplace Bullying.

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