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Bullies in the Workplace

In: Business and Management

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A White Paper from the Society for Human Resource Management

BULLIES IN THE WORKPLACE: A FOCUS ON
THE “ABUSIVE DISRESPECT” OF EMPLOYEES
By Teresa A. Daniel

“Bullying is the sexual harassment of 20 years ago; everybody knows about it, but nobody wants to admit it”.
—Lewis Maltby (Russell, 2001)
The purpose of this paper is to review the current research and literature about workplace bullying, to provide information about how organizations can learn to more quickly identify bullies and to suggest ways of dealing with these toxic people so that the corporate culture is not negatively impacted by their behavior.
Overview
To be successful, organizations must create an atmosphere that inspires both innovation and risk-taking. In an increasingly competitive global economy, such innovation is more important than ever before (Hamel,
2000). However, not only does workplace bullying stifle productivity and innovative practices, but bullies often target the organization’s most talented employees—those individuals who are generally the most threatening to bullies (McCord & Richardson, 2001). As a result, the creativity and productivity of the organization’s most talented human capital is often negatively affected by this type of behavior at work or, worse yet, good employees are driven out of the company altogether.
Bullies are often hard to identify because they operate “under cover”—that is, on the surface they appear to be civil and cooperative, while they do everything in their power to undermine those they target for destruction.

A White Paper from the Society for Human Resource Management

There is much more discussion and research about the issue of workplace bullying than ever before; however, there is no specific legislation in the
United States that outlaws such behavior. Companies simply cannot wait for new laws to be enacted...

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