Bullying at work toxic and costly

Nov. 3, 2011 at 12:36 AM
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ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Bullying, or psychological violence, is predictable in a workplace environment, a U.S. expert says.

Gary Namie, president of Work Doctor Inc. and author of "The Bully-Free Workplace" -- said surveys show 35 percent of U.S. adults report being bullied at work. Another 15 percent witness it and vicariously are made miserable, but 50 percent report neither experiencing nor witnessing bullying.

A toxic work environment can bring out the worst in most employees and hurt the bottom line, Namie said.

A predictor of bullying-prone workplaces is a culture led by either autocratic or laissez-faire leaders. The work environment fosters destructive interpersonal competition and when negative conduct is rewarded -- either explicitly with promotions or implicitly by treating complaints with indifference -- bullying is reinforced and becomes a defining characteristic of that workplace, Namie said.

In a 90-minute Nov. 15 Webinar, Namie said he will provide practical guidance on how to:

-- Recognize the symptoms produced by bullying behavior.

-- Identify three or more workplace conditions that precipitate bullying.

-- Detect several physical and psychological health consequences of bullying.

-- Distinguish between adequate and inadequate institutional responses to bullying complaints.

-- Separate personality-based/dispositional explanations from workplace culture-based causes.

-- Apply two or more interpersonal techniques that mitigate bullying.

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