SAY NO TO BULLYING

A new national campaign backed by big business, sportspeople, charities, ministers and celebrities has been unveiled in an effort to eliminate bullying in the workplace and other settings, according to Human Capital Magazine.

Involved are such organisations as Foxtel, Channel 9, and Living Social; such high profile individuals as cricketer Brad Haddin, sports commentator Phil Gould, rugby league player Sandor Earl, and former rugby league player and television personality Mario Fenech.

The campaign, which kicked off on 27 September, was created by anti-bullying advocate Christian Marchegiani of Underdogs, an Australian organisation created to help people realise their full potential through courage, self-discovery and team-work.

The campaign’s ambassador, Colon Fabig, CEO of Living Social Australia and New Zealand reported that bullying is a serious issue that can “cause so much harm, including depression [and] anxiety”.   He believes that it is important to protect employees from bullying and victimisation and wants to create a workplace culture of openness where individuals are encouraged to report any incidents of bullying.

Workplace bullying can be defined as regular and persistent aggressive and negative behaviours directed towards at least one employee, that results in a hostile work environment.  Consequences of bullying can be severe and include poor physical and mental health including suicidal ideation, absenteeism and presenteeism, and early retirement.

Recent large scale surveys indicate that at least half of Australian and New Zealand workers have witnessed or been aware of bullying within their workplace, including isolation, verbal insults and sarcasm. 

Dr Helena-Cooper’s study, summarised in our Testing For Workplace Bullies blog, showed that bullying not only has a negative effect on the victim but also on those co-workers who witness it.  Overall, bullying is bad for individuals and for the business itself, affecting its reputation and bottom line.

One way to address this problem is to identify those individuals at greatest risk of becoming workplace bullies and either avoid hiring them or training them to act in more appropriate ways.

RightPeople’s Risk Management Profile (RMP) identifies behaviours and attitudes associated with risk of bullying and harassment, including integrity, honesty, poor impulse control, stress tolerance and conscientiousness.  This scale, based on extensive research, has shown to be predictive of counterproductive work behaviours, including intimidation, exploitation, bullying, harassment and abuse (Dahling et al., 2009; Dingler-Duhon & Brown, 1987; Fehr et al., 1992).

The RMP can be used during job selection, promotion and training reviews and job re-design to identify those individuals who may be prone to bullying and to ensure that actions are taken to protect workers and the organisation from this harmful practice.  It can also highlight areas of weakness that can be targetted for training.

This short questionnaire can be delivered in an on-line or paper-based format and can be used in conjunction with personality measures to provide a clear picture of the respondents attitudes and values relevant to aggressive  and intimidating behaviour.

Use the RMP to help say no to workplace bullying.  Contact us to find out more.

References

Dahling, J.J., Whitaker, B.G., & Levy, P.E. (2009). The development and validation of a new Machiavellianism Scale.  Journal of Management, 35(2), 219-257.

Dingler-Duhon, M., & Brown, B.B. (1987). Self-disclosure as an influence strategy: effects of Machiavellianism, androgyny, and sex. Sex Roles, 16, 109-123.

Fehr, B., Samson, D., & Paulhus, D.L. (1992). The construct of Machiavellianism: twenty years later. In C. Spielberger & J. Butcher (Eds.), Advances in personality assessment Vol. 9 (pp. 77-116). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.