Management Challenges and Symptoms
- New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Janice Langan-Fox, Cary L. Cooper and Richard J. Klimoski
4 Tyrants and workplace bullying Janice Langan-Fox and Michael Sankey Bullies and the eﬀects of bullying Bullying is a widespread phenomenon in numerous countries. Studies suggest that as much as 10 per cent of the workforce is bullied (Hoel and Cooper, 2000; Vartia, 1996). Being bullied, then, is a ‘normal’ part of the working day for many people. Workplace bullies play out their ‘foul game’ (Neuberger, 1999) in organizations, engaging in punishment, self-aggrandizement and generally belittling subordinates (Ashforth, 1994). Bullies are especially prevalent in prisons, schools, young oﬀenders’ institutions and the armed forces. Bullies (a type of tyrant) are often ‘leaders’, and have devastating eﬀects on their subordinates, causing tension (Baron, 1988), stress (Myers, 1977), helplessness (Ashforth, 1989), and work alienation (Clarke, 1985), as well as having more general eﬀects on departmental or unit performance (Podsakoﬀ and Schriesheim, 1985). It’s diﬃcult to put a cost on the eﬀects of bullying to organizations because incidence is under-reported. For instance, some employees might not prefer to ‘label’ themselves as bullied by seeking organizational or professional assistance (Salin, 2001). However, given the consequences for individuals by way of stress, absenteeism, turnover, reduced productivity and other ineﬃciencies resulting from organizational dysfunction, the real cost must be staggering. This chapter aims to document what we know about workplace bullying. We describe the incidence, extent and types of bullying that occur in workplaces, as well as its conceptualization. Second, we review the empirical work that has investigated bullying and...
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