CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

Workplace Bullying: A Complex Problem in Contemporary Organizations

Department

Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

Publication Date

1-1-2011

Publication Title

International Journal of Business and Social Sciences

ISSN or ISBN

1913-9039

Volume

2

Issue

3

First Page

1

Last Page

20

Abstract

Workplace bullies, people who belittle, humiliate, and threaten their co-workers cost organizations billions of dollars a year. While it is estimated that fifty-four million people are subjected to emotional abuse in the workplace each year, U.S. organizations are still struggling to recognize and alleviate this problem. In this study, a qualitative approach explored the problem of workplace bullying from a theoretical perspective. Qualitative data was collected through focus groups methodology and through Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) computer-assisted methodology. The study was conducted with conflict analysis and resolution graduate students who utilized Roger Schwarz’s (2002) The Skilled Facilitator problem-solving model to deepen their awareness of the negative impact workplace bullying has on organizations, targets, and bullies and to provide possible solutions to this social problem. This study found that organizational cultures exacerbate the problem when the leaders either do not understand workplace bullying or dismiss it as tough management. The study concluded that a systems approach to designing a training program that addresses the root causes, involves individuals at all levels, and provides skills for dealing with this phenomena can promote a harmonious working environment.

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