Gender and the Dysfunctional Workplace

Gender and the Dysfunctional Workplace

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Suzy Fox and Terri R. Lituchy

Dysfunction in the workplace, like a bully culture, affects women and men differently. This book represents a broad spectrum of disciplines including law, management, communications, human resource management and industrial/organizational psychology and offers integrative, cross-disciplinary inquiries into the many roles gender plays in organizational dysfunction. The authors provoke new questions and new streams of research, with the ultimate goal of contributing to healthier workplaces for men and women alike.

Chapter 1: Gender and Sex Differences in the Forms of Workplace Aggression

Joel H. Neuman

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, gender and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


Joel H. Neuman INTRODUCTION A few years ago, I was invited to give a presentation on workplace aggression and bullying to a professional organization for women in higher education. The audience consisted of more than 500 women employed in various positions at a number of public- and private-sector educational institutions. After a general introduction to the topic, including a description of the nature and prevalence of the problem, I turned my attention to specifics. Due to the composition of the audience, and a sudden awareness that I was the only male in the room, it was with some trepidation that I turned to my next topic – female bullies and their victims. To my relief, members of the audience quickly demonstrated that they were neither shocked nor surprised by my comments. In fact, they seemed well aware that bullying by women was common to their everyday experiences. At the risk of mixing some metaphors, I had come “late to the party” and was “preaching to the choir.” While my audience seemed well aware that aggression is a common occurrence among girls and women, awareness of this phenomenon by the general public has been slow in coming. However, judging from the evergrowing list of popular books, we seem to be making up for lost time (e.g., Chesler, 2002; Simmons, 2002; Dellasega, 2005). Acknowledging the obvious, that aggression is not unique to one sex or the other, an important question remains. Do males and females differ in the manner and extent to which...

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