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Less formal approach to bullying dilemma

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HC Online | 22 Apr 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
A workplace bullying expert is calling upon employers and employees to take a step back from formal complaints, and to consider other options.
  • Harriet Stacey | 22 Apr 2013, 02:27 PM Agree 0
    I think you have to be very careful to determine the difference between a workplace conflict involving two parties on an equal footing where the above process can work wonders and a case of genuine bullying where any one of the above recommendations can lead to further undermine the self esteem of the victim and empower the bully.

    Bullying as opposed to disrespectful conduct involves a power play, the more powerful the offender the less likely any informal process has of working. Think about this - you are a junior employee being bullied and have suffered loss of self esteem, are you going to walk up the head of your department and ask for a conversation about how their last belittling comment at the staff meeting made you feel hurt? There are many ways a bully might respond to this, most of them involve making a mockery of the victim.

    Informal responses will only work if the conduct is unintentional, where peer support is around the victim or where there is a real and present danger of termination if the bully doesn't change their conduct ( from the top).

    Whilst i support the innovation of new ways of dealing with the problem but they must be aware of the dynamics of bullying.
  • Vanessa Tomaselli - Professional HR Business Consu | 22 Apr 2013, 04:42 PM Agree 0
    You catch more bees with honey ... attempting to resolve an issue amicably and rationally is always a must at any level. You only win employee confidence and trust by recognising the merits of all concerned. And, identifying with all that each party contributes in one way or another, intentionally or not.
  • Leanne Faraday-Brash | 22 Apr 2013, 05:11 PM Agree 0
    I don't disagree with any of these strategies in the right context. Bullying grievances are by nature adversarial and they take no prisoners. Informal means to resolve issues will only work where the behaviour was perceived to be unintentional, the bully shows remorse and the 'victim' or target feels safe to engage with the bully and is open to a facilitated outcome.
    I don't believe an informal strategy is “embryonic” as managers have been opting for "informal" by brushing such issues under the carpet or telling complainants to lighten up for a long time. Formal investigations are sometimes the only appropriate option in the face of serious allegations but rarely can the parties return to a workable relationship in the aftermath.
    My preference is for mediation any day of the week but the one element that is not easily addressed by this strategy is the feeling by the complainant that the bully "got off" without being punished and this often leaves them embittered and feeling unsupported despite management's best intentions.
  • Anonymous | 23 Apr 2013, 06:20 AM Agree 0
    When you are the victim of the CEO who is the bully, you just get pushed out of your job. The CEO clearly states that no one will move her from her job ? Previous experience is that CEO is untouchable and there is nothing you can do.
  • Anonymous | 26 Apr 2013, 03:28 PM Agree 0
    A word of caution about HR involvement sometimes their solution is based on status within the organization and not unheard of for them to move the problem ie the victim along
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