Define ‘bullying’: Samuel Farley talks to Oven-Ready HR

Barely a week goes by without the mention of allegations of workplace bullying. From squabbling Duchesses at Kensington Palace to the very public fall-outs between senior government ministers and their officials, there seems to be an epidemic of workplace bullying.

As well as the terrible cost to an individual’s mental health, the CIPD estimates that the cost to the economy is some £18bn in absenteeism, lost productivity and payouts to victims. But defining bullying isn’t easy.  Unlike harrassment, there isn’t a legal definition of bullying under the Equality Act 2010 presenting a minefield for HR professionals to navigate.

But are we really experiencing an epidemic of workplace bullying? Has what used to be described as high standards, direct and forthright behaviour, now been re-classified as bullying behaviour?

This week’s Oven-Ready HR guest is Dr Samuel Farley, a lecturer in organisational psychology at Leeds University Business School with a particular focus on the dark side of workplace behaviour, including bullying, cyberbullying and incivility.

Within this field, his interests include the measurement of bullying, perpetrators of bullying and how targets attribute blame for their experiences of harassment. Farley’s works has been published in Medical Education, the International Journal of Human Resource Management and Work & Stress. He has written for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Cybersmile and Safety Management Magazine.


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