Workplace Bullying a Symptom of Dysfunction and a ‘Cancer’ in the Organization

Michelle Tuckey, a senior lecturer from the School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy at the University of South Australia has spent several years researching the effect of workplace bullying in organizations.  One of the countless research articles that have caught her eye described bullying as the “cancer” of the workplace.  The term cancer may seem like a heavy word to call workplace bullying, but it does bear some similarities especially on how devastating an effect bullying could have on a worker’s life.

Both cancer and workplace bullying are very hard to cure and can sometimes lead to death.  Although, suicide related deaths due to bullying have been very rare, as compared to cancer cases.  Still one of the focal points which Tuckey found as a main differentiator between the two indicates that workplace bullying is not a disease.  Unlike cancer, it is a symptom of a dysfunction in organizations.

Usually organizations would hold awareness sessions on workplace bullying for its employees, along with having specific company policies that emphasizes zero tolerance in the workplace.  However, such measures would only won’t be sufficient to really address workplace bullying.  These approaches typically treats bullying as a behavior that needs to be fixed.  One way on attacking the problem would be to remove situations where workplace bullying can happen.

Tuckey has listed several suggestions that can help solve workplace bullying.  One calls for clearly defined roles and duties for each and that “red tape” in the organization should be removed.   Supervisors and managers should also be coached, not only on their leadership skills, but on handling people and improving communication.

These are just some of the examples that Tuckey has identified in her article.  To learn more, click here to read the full article.