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Bullying is a form of organizational violence and a potential source of work-related stress. Bullying is primarily an employee relations issue, best dealt with by employers' internal and disciplinary procedures before it becomes a risk to an employee's health. Bullying is usually viewed as occurring to schoolchildren but often happens in the work environment. As with children, adults feel threatened or ill at ease in reporting perceived incidents of workplace bullying. Probably many adult workers even fail to recognize that a behavior could be construed as bullying. Bullying is a behavior that should not be tolerated by employers, but the employer may need to educate all employees regarding what constitutes bullying and what employees are to do if they feel that bullying is taking place. Guidelines need to be developed to indicate to employees how to handle and address bullying.

This is why the company should have a policy and enforce it, as well as take bullying seriously, which has not been the case in the past. The company or organization departments that are most likely to be involved in bullying include senior management, human resources, and the safety and health point person for the company. Companies following the organizational approach had developed a set of values and convictions that reflected on the treatment of antisocial behavior and management response. A distinct element in these organizations was that they each had a reason for developing these plans that was the result of factors outside the company, such as a new state regulation or prior litigation that had cost the company time and expense. The leaders in these companies recognized that in order to be effective, they had to grow trust and support from the inside of their companies, which taught managers the importance of their roles in influencing the behavior of their employees.

Further Readings

Australian Health & Safety Commission, "Violence and Bullying at Work.", December 2003.

Canadian Safety Council. "Bullying in the Workplace.", 2004. Feiberg, P. "Bullying in the Workplace Is a Violence Warning Sign". http://www.workplaceviolence911 .com, July 1998.

Namie, G. "US Hostility Workplace Survey." The Workplace Bullying & Trauma Institute, September 2000.

Namie, G. "Report on Abusive Workplaces." The Workplace Bullying & Trauma Institute, October 2003.

Reese, C.D. Occupational Health and Safety Management (Third Edition). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2016.

Yandrick, R.M. "Lurking in the Shadows." HR Magazine 44:10. October 1999.

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