Professor Presents On Effects Of Bullying In The Workplace

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 12:15pm
Professor Presents On Effects Of Bullying In The Workplace

A Limestone College Associate Professor was recently invited to present at a College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

At the conference in late September that was attended by more than 1,000 human resources professionals, Dr. Deitra C. Payne, Associate Professor of Human Resources Management, presented, “The Bullying Effect: Costs and Consequences to an Organization.”

The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) defines workplace bullying as mistreatment severe enough to compromise a targeted worker’s health, jeopardize his or her job and career and strain relationships with friends and family.

“Workplace bullying is a laser-focused, systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction,” Dr. Payne said in her presentation. “It has nothing to do with work itself. It is driven by the bully’s personal agenda and prevents work from getting done. It often begins with one person singling out the target, but before long, the bully easily and swiftly recruits others to gang up on the target, which increases the sense of isolation for the target.”

She added that bullying behavior comes in many forms, including aggression, threats or intimidation, sabotaging work, exclusion, verbal abuse, gossiping or spreading rumors, unwarranted criticism, excessive monitoring, and making certain individuals the target of practical jokes.

In a recent WBI survey, 20 percent of respondents reported having been bullied, while 21 percent reported having witnessed bullying, 23 percent stated that they were aware of workplace bullying, and seven percent indicated they were currently being bullied. In an audience poll, 65 percent of individuals in Dr. Payne’s session said that they had been a victim of workplace bullying.

Countless studies have indicated that individuals who are bullied in the workplace experience increased levels of stress and anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide ideation. A recent WBI survey of a self-selected sample of 1,000 individuals being bullied at work found that bullying drove 71 percent of targets to seek treatment from a physician, and 29 percent contemplated suicide.

“Workplace bullying negatively affects not only the individual being bullied, but also the organization as a whole,” Dr. Payne explained. “Organizations with a pervasive bullying culture see higher turnover rates, lower productivity, increased healthcare costs, higher levels of absenteeism, lower levels of morale, a lack of trust in management, and higher litigation costs.”

In her session, Dr. Payne offered some strategies for mitigating workplace bullying. Among her suggestions: Work to create a culture of trust and respect, implement an anti-bullying policy, and train employees about workplace bullying (what it is, what to do if it happens to you, and what to do if you witness it).

Dr. Payne’s presentation was also the recent subject of a blog by Miss Kline on the CUPA-HR website.

As the association for human resources professionals in higher education, CUPA-HR provides leadership on higher education workplace issues in the United States and abroad. It monitors trends, explores emerging workforce issues, conducts research, and promotes strategic discussions among colleges and universities.