Detect, defuse and protect : preventative intervention strategies towards minimising bullying in the workplace

Malila, Harry Clifton (2002-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Until recently, there was little awareness of the phenomenon of workplace bullying, or of the means by which it is carried out. Even today, many people still know very little or nothing of what goes on behind closed office doors. The prevalence of workplace bullying seems to indicate a worsening trend, and it may be that everyone in the workplace is now at risk of having "an experience". Workplace bullying is the deliberate, hurtful mistreatment of a person by a bully driven by her or his need to control others at work. It is quite simply, psychological violence in the workplace, and the results thereof include psychological trauma, loss of dignity, and feelings of shame in the person being targeted or victimised. Bullying can be regarded as the use or abuse of position or power to coerce others by fear or persecution or to oppress them by force or threat. It has been identified as a more crippling and devastating problem for both employees and employers than all other work-related stresses put together. Most bullying is insidious in that it is carried out at the psychological level. Although it may be most obvious in screaming and publicly abusive episodes, it is usually more subtle and persistent. Its behaviours can include rumours, gossip and attempts to turn others against a person, stealing credit for others' work, deliberate attempts to sabotage someone's work, highly public and humiliating criticism, blame, threatened job loss or punishment. In the case of physical assault, there is no doubt that an attack has taken place. In the case of bullying, it may be months, perhaps even a year or more, before one begins to realise that the difficulty one is experiencing with a particular individual, or group of individuals, goes beyond what can reasonably be expected in one's place of work. In the research the author explored the impact of workplace bullying on the organisation and the individuals (victims) concerned. The author used a real-life case study / example in Chapter 2 to illustrate the existence and the negative effects of this workplace phenomenon. The author suggests some strategies to victims and employers on how to recognise the tactics of their tormentors, how to stop the hurt and regain their dignity, self-esteem and confidence and, furthermore, how to discourage workplace bullying and eliminate its debilitating effects. Organisations should realise that bullying at work is a hidden menace that can destroy individuals and undermine both individual and teamwork performance, and that people can never perform at their best when they are bullied. Employers and employees therefore have a mutual interest in the eradication of this workplace demoraliser, workplace bullying. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away - it will slowly eat away your organisation's bottom line.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar was tot onlangs min bewustheid van die verskynsel van werkplektreitering of van die wyse waarop dit toegepas word. Selfs vandag nog weet baie mense baie min of selfs niks van wat eintlik agter geslote kantoordeure aangaan nie. Die voorkoms van werkplektreitering dui op 'n toenemende tendens, en dit kan wees dat elke persoon in die werkplek die gevaar loop om aan hierdie "ervaring" blootgestel te word. Werkplektreitering is die opsetlike en skadelike mishandeling van 'n persoon deur 'n bullebak wat gedryf word deur sy/haar behoefte om almal in die werkplek te beheer. Dit is eenvoudig sielkundige geweld in die werkplek, sowel as die resultaat daarvan, wat insluit sielkundige trauma/geweld, die verlies aan waardigheid, en gevoelens van skaamte in die persoon wat geteiken word of die slagoffer is. Werkplektreitering kan beskou word as die gebruik of misbruik van mag en posisie om vrees by ander in te boesem deur vervolging of onderdrukking of deur dwang of bedreiging. Werkplektreitering is geïndentifiseer as 'n probleem wat meer verlammend en verwoestend is as alle ander werkverwante stressors van werkgewers en werknemers saamgevoeg. Die meeste treitering is verradelik deurdat dit op 'n sielkundige vlak uitgevoer word. Alhoewel 'n geskree en openlike beledigende episodes die ooglopendste is, is dit gewoontlik meer subtiel en aanhoudend. Die gedrag van die werkplekbullebak kan insluit gerugte, skinderpraatjies, pogings om persone teen mekaar op te steek, krediet te neem vir 'n ander se werk, doelbewuste pogings om iemand se werk te saboteer, hoogs openlike en vernederende kritiek, beskuldigings, asook dreigemente met betrekking tot werksverlies of straf. Met fisieke geweld is daar geen twyfel dat 'n aanranding plaasgevind het nie. Met werkplektreitering kan dit egter maande, miskien selfs 'n jaar of meer, neem voordat 'n mens besef dat die probleme wat met 'n spesifieke individu of groep individue ondervind word verder strek as wat redelikerwys binne 'n mens se werkplek verwag kan word. In die navorsingsverslag het die skrywer die moontlike impak van treitering in die werkplek op die organisasie én die individue wat daaraan onderworpe is, ondersoek. Die skrywer het gebruik gemaak van 'n werklike gevallestudie in Hoofstuk 2 om die teenwoordigheid en die negatiewe impak van werkplektreitering binne die werksomgewing te illustreer. Die skrywer stel sekere strategieë aan slagoffers en werkgewers voor oor die wyse waarop die taktiek van die plaaggeeste herken kan word, hoe om die seerkry te stop en waardigheid, selfagting en selfvertroue terug te bring en voorts hoe om werkplektreitering te ontmoedig en die aftakelende gevolge daarvan te elimineer. Organisasies moet besef dat werkplektreitering 'n weggesteekte bedreiging is wat individue kan vernietig en individuele en spanwerkprestasies kan ondermyn en dat mense nooit op hul beste kan presteer wanneer hulle getreiter word nie. Werkgewers en werknemers het dus 'n wedersydse belang in die uitroeiing van hierdie werkplek demorialiseerder, werkplektreitering. Deur die probleem te ignoreer sal dit nie laat verdwyn nie, maar dit sal stadig maar seker tot organisasies se ondergang lei.

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