Bullying at the Workplace: Using Intimidation to Motivate
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Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The behavior can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of class, race, religion, gender, sexuality, appearance, behavior, or ability. If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a “target”. Bullying can be defined in many different ways. The UK currently has no legal definition of bullying, while some U.S. states have laws against it. Bullying consists of four basic types of abuse – emotional (sometimes called relational), verbal, physical, and cyber. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as intimidation. Bullying ranges from simple one-on-one bullying to more complex bullying in which the bully may have one or more “lieutenants” who may seem to be willing to assist the primary bully in his or her bullying activities. Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse.
Robert W. Fuller has analyzed bullying in the context of rankism. A bullying culture can develop in any context in which human beings interact with each other. This includes school, family, the workplace, home, and neighborhoods. In a 2012 study of male adolescent football players, “the strongest predictor was the perception of whether the most influential male in a player’s life would approve of the bullying behavior”. Bullying may be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally. Bullying is characterized by an individual behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person. Effects of bullying on those who are targeted
Mona O’Moore of the Anti-Bullying Centre at Trinity College in Dublin, has written, “There is a growing body of research which indicates that individuals, whether child or adult, who are persistently subjected to abusive behavior are at risk of stress related illness which can sometimes lead to suicide”. Those who have been the targets of bullying can suffer from long term emotional and behavioral problems. Bullying can cause loneliness, depression, anxiety, lead to low self-esteem and increased susceptibility to illness. Bullying has also been shown to cause maladjustment in young children, and victims of bullying who were also bullies themselves exhibit even greater social difficulties. In the long term it can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder and an inability to form relationships. Suicide (Main article: Bullycide)
There is evidence that bullying increases the risk of suicide. It is estimated that between 15 and 25 children commit suicide every year in the UK alone, because they are being bullied. Among the cases of media bullying suicides following: Ryan Halligen, Phoebe Prince, Dawn-Marie Wesley, Kelly Yeomans, Jessica Haffer, Hamed Nastoh, or April Himes.
Bullied students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold carried out the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Since then, bullying has been more closely linked to high school violence in general. Serial killers were frequently bullied through direct and indirect methods as children or adolescents. Henry Lee Lucas, a serial killer and diagnosed psychopath, said the ridicule and rejection he suffered as a child caused him to hate everyone. Kenneth Bianchi, a serial killer and member of the Hillside Stranglers, was teased as a child because he urinated in his pants and suffered twitching, and as a teenager was ignored by his peers.
Some have argued that bullying can teach life lessons and instil strength. Helene Guldberg, a child development academic, sparked controversy when she argued that being a victim of bullying can teach a child “how to manage disputes and boost their ability to interact with others”, and that teachers should not intervene, but leave children to respond to the bullying themselves: “[I]f boys or girls are able to stand up for themselves, being attacked by enemies can help their development. Studies have shown that children become more popular among, and respected by, teachers and fellow pupils if they repay hostility in kind.
They remember such experiences more vividly than friendly episodes, helping them to develop healthy social and emotional skills”. Bullying can also cause victims to adapt social or physical lifestyle changes that result in greater mental or physical health over the longer term. For example, weight-based victimization (WBV) has been shown to influence overweight individuals to lose weight. Despite occasional assertions that bullying can be positive and even productive, the avowed normative consensus is that bullying is a form of abuse and is wholly negative. In different contexts
Cyberbullying (Main article: Cyberbullying)
Cyber-bullying is any bullying done through the use of technology. This form of bullying can easily go undetected because of lack of parental/authoritative supervision. Because bullies can pose as someone else, it is the most anonymous form of bullying. Cyber bullying includes, but is not limited to, abuse using email, instant messaging, text messaging, websites, social networking sites, etc. Particular watch dog organizations have been designed to contain the spread of cyber-bullying.
Disability bullying (Main article: Disability bullying)
It has been noted that disabled people are disproportionately affected by bullying and abuse, and such activity has been cited as a hate crime. The bullying is not limited to those who are visibly disabled such as wheelchair-users or physically deformed such as those with a cleft lip but also those with learning disabilities such as autism and developmental coordination disorder In the latter case, this is linked to a poor ability in physical education, and this behaviour can be encouraged by the unthinking physical education teacher.
Abuse of the disabled is not limited to schools. There are many known cases in which the disabled have been abused by staff of a “care institution”, such as the case revealed in a BBC Panorama programme on a Castlebeck care home (Winterbourne View) near Bristol which led to its closure and the suspension and sacking of some of the staff. There is an additional problem that those with learning disabilities are often not as able to explain things to other people so are more likely to be disbelieved or ignored if they do complain. Gay bullying (Main article: Gay bashing)
Gay bullying and gay bashing are expressions used to designate verbal or physical actions that are direct or indirect in nature by a person or group against a person who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered (LGBT), or of questionable sexual orientation, or one who is perceived to be so, because of rumors or fitting gay stereotypes. Legal bullying (Main article: Legal abuse)
Legal bullying is the bringing of a vexatious legal action to control and punish a person. Legal bullying can often take the form of frivolous, repetitive, or burdensome lawsuits brought to intimidate the defendant into submitting to the litigant’s request, not because of the legal merit of the litigant’s position, but principally due to the defendant’s inability to maintain the legal battle. This can also take the form of SLAPPs. It was partially concern about the potential for this kind of abuse that helped to fuel the protests against SOPA and PIPA in the United States in 2011 and 2012. Military bullying (Main article: Bullying in the military)
In 2000, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) defined bullying as: “… the use of physical strength or the abuse of authority to intimidate or victimize others, or to give unlawful punishments.” Some argue that this behaviour should be allowed, due to ways in which “soldiering” is different from other occupations. Soldiers expected to risk their lives should, according to them, develop strength of body and spirit to accept bullying. This attitude can be seen as paralleled by the training expected by the Ancient Greek city state of Sparta. However, the role of a soldier has widened to peace-keeping where overt aggression is usually counterproductive and services auxiliary to the military often do some soldiering as well as another role such as engineering. Parental bullying
Parents who may displace their anger, insecurity, or a persistent need to dominate and control, upon their children in excessive ways have been proven to increase the likelihood that their own children will in turn become overly aggressive or controlling towards their peers. The American Psychological Association advises on its website that parents who may suspect that their own children may be engaging in bullying activities amongst their peers, should carefully consider the examples which they themselves may be setting for their own children, regarding how they typically interact with their own peers, colleagues, and children. Do the parents typically motivate their peers and their children with positive and self-confidence building incentives, or do they most often attempt to motivate their peers and children with certain “threats” of one form of “punishment” or “reprisal” or another (emotional or physical blackmail)?  Prison bullying (Main article: Prisoner abuse)
Another environment known for bullying is a country’s prison service. This is almost inevitable when many of the people incarcerated are there for aggressive crimes and many were bullies at school. An additional complication is the staff and their relationships with the inmates. Thus the following possible bullying scenarios are possible: Inmate bullies inmate (echoing school bullying);
Staff bullies inmate;
Staff bullies staff (a manifestation of workplace bullying); Inmate bullies staff.
School bullying (Main article: School bullying)
Bullying can occur in nearly any part in or around the school building, though it may occur more frequently in physical education classes and activities, recess, hallways, bathrooms, on school buses and while waiting for buses, and in classes that require group work and/or after school activities. Bullying in school sometimes consists of a group of students taking advantage of or isolating one student in particular and gaining the loyalty of bystanders who want to avoid becoming the next victim. These bullies may taunt and tease their target before physically bullying the target. Bystanders may participate or watch, sometimes out of fear of becoming the next victim.
Bullying can also be perpetrated by teachers and the school system itself: There is an inherent power differential in the system that can easily predispose to subtle or covert abuse (relational aggression or passive aggression), humiliation, or exclusion — even while maintaining overt commitments to anti-bullying policies. Sexual bullying (Main article: Sexual bullying) See also: Slut shaming Sexual bullying is “any bullying behaviour, whether physical or non-physical, that is based on a person’s sexuality or gender. It is when sexuality or gender is used as a weapon by boys or girls towards other boys or girls – although it is more commonly directed at girls. It can be carried out to a person’s face, behind their back or through the use of technology.” Workplace bullying (Main article: Workplace bullying)
According to the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute workplace bullying is “repeated, health-harming mistreatment, verbal abuse, or conduct which is threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or sabotage that interferes with work, or some combination of the three”. Statistics show that bullying is 3 times as prevalent as illegal discrimination and at least 1,600 times as prevalent as workplace violence. Statistics also show that while only one employee in every 10,000 becomes a victim of workplace violence, one in six experiences bullying at work. Bullying is a little more common than sexual harassment but not verbal abuse which occurs more than bullying. Unlike the more physical form of school bullying, workplace bullying often takes place within the established rules and policies of the organization and society. Such actions are not necessarily illegal and may not even be against the firm’s regulations; however, the damage to the targeted employee and to workplace morale is obvious. In academia (Main article: Bullying in academia)
Bullying in academia is workplace bullying of scholars and staff in academia, especially places of higher education such as colleges and universities. It is believed to be common, although has not received as much attention from researchers as bullying in some other contexts. In blue collar jobs
Bullying has been identified as prominent in blue collar jobs including on the oil rigs and in mechanic shops and machine shops. It is thought that intimidation and fear of retribution cause decreased incident reports. This is also an industry dominated by males, typically of little education, where disclosure of incidents are seen as effeminate, which, in the socioeconomic and cultural milieu of such industries, would likely lead to a vicious circle.
This is often used in combination with manipulation and coercion of facts to gain favour among higher ranking administrators. In information technology (Main article: Bullying in information technology) A culture of bullying is common in information technology (IT), leading to high sickness rates, low morale, poor productivity, and high staff turnover. Deadline-driven project work and stressed-out managers take their toll on IT workers. In medicine (Main article: Bullying in medicine)
Bullying in the medical profession is common, particularly of student or trainee doctors and of nurses. It is thought that this is at least in part an outcome of conservative traditional hierarchical structures and teaching methods in the medical profession, which may result in a bullying cycle. In nursing (Main article: Bullying in nursing)
Bullying has been identified as being particularly prevalent in the nursing profession although the reasons are not clear. It is thought that relational aggression (psychological aspects of bullying such as gossipping and intimidation) are relevant. Relational aggression has been studied amongst girls but not so much amongst adult women. In teaching (Main article: Bullying in teaching)
School teachers are commonly the subject of bullying but they are also sometimes the originators of bullying within a school environment. In other areas As the verb to bully is defined as simply “forcing one’s way aggressively or by intimidation”, the term may generally apply to any life experience where one is motivated primarily by intimidation instead of by more positive goals such as mutually shared interests and benefits.
As such, any figure of authority or power which may use intimidation as a primary means of motivating others, such as a neighborhood “protection racket don”, a national dictator, a childhood ring-leader, a terrorist, a terrorist organization, or even a ruthless business CEO, could rightfully be referred to as a bully. According to psychologist Pauline Rennie-Peyton, we each face the possibility of being bullied in any phase of our lives.