March 26, 2008

Workplace Bullying More Harmful than Sexual Harassment

A meta-analysis of 110 studies conducted over 21 years found that workplace bullying appears to inflict more harm on employees than sexual harassment. The research by M. Sandy Hershcovis, Ph.D., of the University of Manitoba and Julian Barling, Ph.D., of Queen’s University in Ontario, was presented at the Seventh International Conference on Work, Stress and Health. “As sexual harassment becomes less acceptable in society, organizations may be more attuned to helping victims, who may therefore find it easier to cope,” said Hershcovis. “In contrast, non-violent forms of workplace aggression such as incivility and bullying are not illegal, leaving victims to fend for themselves.”

The research looked at the effect on job, co-worker and supervisor satisfaction, workers’ stress, anger and anxiety levels, workers’ mental and physical health, job turnover and emotional ties. Employees who experienced bullying, incivility or interpersonal conflict were more likely to quit their jobs, have lower well-being, be less satisfied with their jobs and have less satisfying relations with their bosses than employees who were sexually harassed. (APA Media Information; Forbes.)

Related post: NYT Career Couch: If Bullied, Visit Ombuds

Although still under-appreciated, Ombuds remain one of the most effective resources for addressing workplace bullying.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very important issue that should be taken seriously and with early intervention. If not, there is a great risk of it becoming embedded in organizational culture, at which point it becomes increasingly difficult for people to come forward and longer to "cure."