Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Workplace bullying has consequences

02 July 2012, 12:14

 Merely showing up to work in an environment where bullying goes on is enough to make many of us think about quitting, a new study suggests.

Canadian researchers writing in the journal Human Relations published by SAGE, have found that nurses not bullied directly, but who worked in an environment where workplace bullying occurred, felt a stronger urge to quit than those actually being bullied. These findings on 'ambient' bullying have significant implications for organisations, as well as contributing a new statistical approach to the field.

How the study was done

To understand whether bullying in the work unit environment can have a negative impact on a worker's desire to remain in their organisation, independent of their personal or direct experiences of workplace bullying, organisational behaviour and human resources experts from the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada surveyed 357 nurses in 41 hospital units.

Their analysis of the survey results showed that targets of bullying were more likely to be thinking of leaving. They also showed a statistically significant link between working somewhere where bullying was going on and a wish to leave. Next the researchers used statistical analysis to test the relationship between turnover intention and whether an individual was experiencing bullying directly. They found that the positive relationship between work unit-level bullying and turnover intentions is stronger for those who rarely experienced direct bullying compared with those who are bullied often.

A number of previous studies have shown a strong correlation between a high staff turnover and bullying within an organisation, especially when there is other employment readily available. From an organisation's perspective, staff turnover is costly, and when the word gets out about bullying this can also be damaging to reputation.

The study has wider implications in the field of human resources, the authors say, because they examined a broad, varied and generalised experience of bullying. Further, because they relied on hierarchical linear modelling techniques, the researchers could accurately examine the simultaneous impacts of direct bullying and ambient bullying, showing each unique effect above and beyond that accounted for by the other (something not possible with earlier statistical techniques).

"Of particular note is the fact that we could predict turnover intentions as effectively either by whether someone was the direct target of bullying, or by how much an environment was characterised by bullying," said corresponding author, Marjan Houshmand. "This is potentially interesting because we tend to assume that direct, personal experiences should be more influential upon employees than indirect experiences only witnessed or heard about in a second-hand fashion. Yet our study identifies a case where direct and indirect experiences have a similarly strong relationship to turnover intentions."

What the findings mean

The authors theorise that although individuals may experience moral indignation at others being bullied, it is perceived as being even more unfair when others are bullied and they are not. The work contributes to a growing area of human relations study, which looks at how third party experiences affect individuals within organisations.

"This work provides insight into the bullying targets' understanding of their experiences and it challenges the 'passive' view of workplace bullying that characterises the targets of bullying as hapless victims who are too vulnerable and weak to fight their bullies," Houshmand suggests. "Instead, the targets of bullying see 'escaping' their own and other people's bullies as a means to create turmoil and disrupt the organisation as an act of defiance."

- EurekAlert

Tags bullying

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...