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One third of employees report being bullied in the workplace

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

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Workplace bullying is having an increasingly negative effect on the personal and work lives of Australians, according to new research by Edith Cowan University's Dr Maryam Omari.

Dr Omari, who is a senior lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Faculty of Business and Law at ECU, said that 33% of respondents indicated they had been bullied at their current place of employment.

"Incidences of workplace bullying appear to be based on power, with 60% of victims naming their supervisor as the culprit" Dr Omari said.

"Unfortunately the precise extent of workplace bullying can be hard to monitor, with research suggesting that up to 50% of bullying cases go unreported."

Dr Omari's study was the first to collect information from perpetrators as well as from those who considered themselves to be victims of workplace bullying.

Results from Dr Omari's research also indicated that women are more likely to be perpetrators of workplace bullying in smaller organisations, with men more likely to be the bullies in larger organisations.

Dr Omari's study is being released as a book that addresses the adverse impacts of bullying on both the perpetrator and victim. The book also examines the greater effect on families, the organisation, and ultimately the wider society.

Towards Dignity and Respect: An explanation of the Nature, Causes and Consequences of Workplace Bullying gives organisations and individuals advice on preventing and addressing this negative workplace behaviour.

"Bullying affects productivity, performance, staff engagement and turnover in the workplace, so it's important for us to understand it from a financial and economic point of view," Dr Omari said.

"The impact of bullying on the culture of the organisation is also significant and can create systemic problems such as low morale, litigation costs and difficulties in attracting quality staff."

Dr Omari lectures in Human Resource Management at ECU and has over 15 years experience in human resources.

The book is published by international publisher Verlag Doctor Mueller (VDM) and is available from online bookstores such as Amazon.

Dr Omari is available for interview.

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Media contact:

Corporate Communications
(08) 6304 2131
0402 016 344
pr@ecu.edu.au
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