Media Release 30 May 2010: Bullying Report Reveals Prevalence of ‘Bully-Boss Mobs' - Know Bull! Australia :: Workplace anti-bullying website

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Media Release 30 May 2010: Bullying Report Reveals Prevalence of ‘Bully-Boss Mobs'

For Immediate Release

Know Bull! Workplace Bullying Research Report Reveals Prevalence of ‘Bully-Boss Mobs’

Survey report, The Extent and Effects of Workplace Bullying
, published in May 2010 by Know Bull! to coincide with ‘Bullying Awareness Month’ and Know Bull! Day, has revealed that workplace bullies are more likely to be a ‘boss’, and that bully bosses don’t always act alone, preferring to operate as a bully group, or ‘mob’.

According to the founder of Know Bull!, Ms Jennifer Wilkins, this finding is disturbing, as it raises questions about the likelihood of workplace bully complaints and workplace investigations being dealt with in a full, fair, and impartial manner. 

“A group mind-set to protect other management peers at all costs is incomprehensible, especially when workplace bullying is examined in light of potential effects on business operations, productivity, and the health of employees. And we suspect this finding may explain why the overall majority of official bullying complaints are not being dealt with satisfactorily manner,” Ms Wilkins said.

The Extent and Effects of Workplace Bullying Survey
found that while half of bully ‘targets’, and half of those who ‘witnessed’ acts of workplace bullying reported the incident to a supervisor or manager — 9 out of 10 said that the incident had not been dealt with satisfactorily. 

“Of this 90 percent, half said the bully remained and that no action was taken by their employers to address workplace bullying; almost 40 percent left their jobs under extended medical or health leave with conditions such as severe depression; while a further 12.5% said the bully actually received a promotion. 

“And bear in mind”, Ms Wilkins continued, ” this is despite half of all respondents indicating their workplace had some type of anti-bullying policy in place.” 

While the health harming effects of workplace bullying has been well documented over the years, Know Bull’s Extent and Effects of Workplace Bullying report contains some unsettling results about suicide and workplace bullying.

“Over the years Know Bull! has received many emails from family members and friends who attribute the loss of their loved ones to suicide— as being the result of workplace bullying. And because we could find no relevant data reflecting a causal link, we decided to structure this into our survey. And frankly, the results were stomach-churning,” said Ms Wilkins. 

“We suspected we would find strong incidences of medically diagnosed depression (8 in 10, or 80 percent) and possibly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (1 in 5, or 20 percent), however, the results also revealed that one in twenty bully targets experienced suicidal thoughts after being exposed to workplace bullying. And perhaps the most damning health harming effect of workplace bullying revealed by Know Bull's findings, is one in five survey participants, who said they had known of, or worked with a fellow employee, who after being targeted by a workplace bully —later committed suicide. “

Finally, the Know Bull! Extent and Effects of Workplace Bullying
survey indicated strong support for workplace bullies and the organisations that support, or fail to address bullying –be held legally accountable by the introduction of a ‘new’ statutory course of action encompassing the notion of 'the deliberate or intentional infliction of a hostile work environment', under which organisations and workplace bullies could be prosecuted.

“In 2009, when Know Bull! administered their survey, all signs were pointing to the need for tougher penalties for workplace bullying, and Know Bull! has long maintained the position that legislative changes are overdue. It’s not a matter of if, but when. We are confident that legislation resulting in the extinction of workplace bullies and the organisations that harbour them, is not too far away, and we expect that workplace bullying will, in the not too distant future, be viewed and treated in a similar fashion to other serious crimes involving injury.” Ms Wilkins concluded.


Link to 17-page Extent and Effects of Workplace Bullying Survey Report

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