Workplace Bullying

Definitions

The Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute (WBTI) defines the phenomenon of workplace bullying or psychological violence at work:

  • Is the repeated, health-endangering mistreatment of a person (the victim) by a cruel perpetrator (the bully).
  • Is best understood through the bully’s behaviours – acts of commission (hostile verbal or non-verbal communication and interfering actions) and omission (the withholding of resources – time, information, training, support, equipment – that guarantee failure), which are all driven by the bully’s need to control the victim.
  • Involves the bully alone at first deciding who is targeted, when, where, and how psychological violence will be inflicted. Later others may be coerced to participate in the assaults.
  • Is not “tough” management; it is illegitimate behaviour, unrelated to accomplishing productive work, so outrageous as to be the antithesis of what a good employer values and encourages.
  • Escalates from one-to-one harassment after bullying is reported and the employer responds inappropriately and inadequately to engulfing an entire work unit in chaos, pitting co-workers, management, and management’s allies against the victim.

A bully is someone who knowingly abuses the rights of others to gain control of the situation and the individuals involved. Bullies deliberately and personally use intimidation and manipulation to get their way. The key words here are knowingly, deliberately, and persistently.
…Sam Horn – author of ‘Take the Bully by the Horns’ 2002

A Victim is an individual who by accident has the desirable qualities of competence, networking, and emotional intelligence. This individual is selected as an object towards which the workplace bully can direct an unrelenting stream of harm – mainly subtle and sometimes obvious – in order to reduce the victim’s performance and self-esteem while increasing the bully’s own view of her/his importance. For the workplace bully, the victim is perceived as a threat.

If you have any questions or want to get counselling, please contact me.