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Well, Bully For You


According to a recent Zogby Poll, 49% of American workers have either been witness to or targets of workplace bullying.  Half of us!  This problem is getting interesting... and scary.  It must be a very "silent epidemic" (the article's words, not mine) since 45% claim never to have seen or experienced bullying.  That means we're divided down the middle on this one, since people who fall into the latter group are often scratching their heads about the other half.

I'm not going to dwell on the statistics, although they are fascinating.  I'm growing more and more curious about this from an organizational perspective.  Why do companies allow it?  Is there any recourse for somebody who is a target of a workplace bully?  What kinds of organizations are prone to bullying?

These are some of the questions I hope to answer in the coming posts.  I've worked in many types and sizes of organizations over the past two decades.  Here in Des Moines, there are very pleasant places to work, and there are companies where bullying runs rampant.  There are a couple of the "big box" employers in particular where I know that this problem is a very visible and long-standing part of the culture (as I'm sure there are in other towns across the globe).  When I have a friend or a student who is considering employment at one of these companies, I gently steer them to other alternatives.  And I refuse to contract there, regardless of project or rate.

What about you?  Do you perceive workplace bullying to be a problem?  Why or why not?


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Tim - I think there has been a bully at every organization I've worked at. Not rampant, but everyone seemed to use different tactics. Everything from traditional threats to befriending the weak to create an army to get the job done.

Are bullies the same as a**holes and may have a place in the work place?

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