EAP Matters

Bullying in the Workplace


According to a survey conducted in 2007 by WBI (an organization dedicated to research and education regarding workplace bullying) and Zogby International, 37% of workers have experienced work place bullying. 


What is bullying?

Drs. Ruth and Gary Namie, authors of several books, define bullying as: “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators”.   According to the Namies’, bullying may include:   “verbal abuse, offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating or offensive, and work interference – sabotage – which prevents work from getting done”.


Who most often does the bullying?

Bullying is often committed by a boss or supervisor.  Bullies are rarely cruel manipulators but rather ambitious people who do not have a problem with harming others to get what they want.  The culture of American business practice has helped create an environment where bullies thrive. 


Who most often are the targets of bullying? 

Often the person a bully chooses to target is a highly skilled person whom the bully perceives to be a threat.  Targets are often empathic people who have a desire to help others.  Typically non-confrontative, they do try to stand up for themselves. Often the more they stand up for themselves, the worst the retaliation from the bully.


Why does bullying occur?