No. 1 Reason People Dislike Their Jobs
Workplace bullying--belittling comments, persistent criticism of your work and withholding of resources--appears to inflict more harm on employees than sexual harassment. After all, it's tough to like your job if you're bullied while doing it.
Sexual harassment has become unacceptable in our society so organizations are attuned to assisting victims, which helps them to better cope with it. In contrast, non-violent forms of workplace aggression such as incivility and bullying are not illegal, leaving victims to fend for themselves. That's the word from a study conducted by Canadian researchers from the University of Manitoba and Queen's University in Ontario.
The study: Led by M. Sandy Hershcovis and Julian Barling, the team reviewed 110 studies conducted over 21 years that compared the consequences of employees' experience of sexual harassment and workplace aggression. Specifically, the authors looked at the effect on job, co-worker and supervisor satisfaction, workers' stress, anger and anxiety levels as well as workers' mental and physical health. Job turnover and emotional ties to the job were also compared.
The authors distinguished among different forms of workplace aggression. Incivility included rudeness and discourteous verbal and non-verbal behaviors. Bullying included persistently criticizing employees' work; yelling; repeatedly reminding employees of mistakes; spreading gossip or lies; ignoring or excluding workers; and insulting employees' habits, attitudes or private life. Interpersonal conflict included behaviors that involved hostility, verbal aggression and angry exchanges.
The results: Both bullying and sexual harassment can create negative work environments and unhealthy consequences for employees, but the researchers found that workplace aggression has more severe consequences. Employees who experienced bullying, incivility or interpersonal conflict were more likely to quit their jobs, have lower well-being, be less satisfied with their jobs and have less satisfying relations with their bosses than employees who were sexually harassed, the researchers found.
Furthermore, bullied employees reported more job stress, less job commitment and higher levels of anger and anxiety. No differences were found between employees experiencing either type of mistreatment on how satisfied they were with their co-workers or with their work.
"Bullying is often more subtle, and may include behaviors that do not appear obvious to others," said Hershcovis in a statement announcing the study findings. "For instance, how does an employee report to their boss that they have been excluded from lunch? Or that they are being ignored by a coworker? The insidious nature of these behaviors makes them difficult to deal with and sanction."
The research was presented to the Seventh International Conference on Work, Stress and Health, co-sponsored by the American Psychological Association, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and the Society for Occupational Health Psychology.
--From the Editors at Netscape