Companies do more ‘bullying’ harm than individuals, study finds

New
research claims that  "corporate
bullying" such as excessive monitoring is more damaging than bullying by
individuals in the work place.

A
study by a London University professor has found that employees are more likely
to suffer from an organisation’s ingrained institutionalised practices than
from bullying by managers or colleagues.

"Like
the McPherson report on racism in the Met, this research shows that by focusing
solely on the bad apple in the barrel, institutionalised practices can continue
unchallenged," organisational psychologist Dr Andreas Liefooghe said.

"Companies
can claim to have taken appropriate action because they have produced
anti-bullying policies. In reality this means institutionalised bullying such
as excessive monitoring continues unchecked."

The
research, to be presented at the British Academy of Management Annual
Conference on Thursday, challenges the notion that bullying is perpetrated by
only a few individuals.

It
reveals that employees feel their companies create polices and procedures that
are in themselves bullying.

Most
employees feel unable to speak out even when speaking through their unions for
fear of reprisals that might damage their careers, Dr Liefooghe claims.

The
study also shows staff think they are bullied by organisational demands to cut
costs while striving to achieve ever increasing targets.

Dr
Liefooghe talked to more than 500 employees working in the financial services,
telecoms, new media and catering sectors about their personal experiences of
bullying in the workplace.

By
Ben Willmott

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