Hostile Workplace Environment

Workplace-BullyingHostile Workplace Environment

Bullying for the past decade has gained widespread attention in recent years, and has become an important issue to be addressed.  For example, Miami Dolphins and the NFL suspended Richie Incognito for threatening, humiliating, and intimidating his teammate Jonathan Martin.  Workplace bullying is on the rise in the American workplace, making impossible for an employee do their job.  An estimated that fifty-four million people are subjected to emotional abuse in the workplace each year in the U.S.  Organizations are still struggling to recognize and alleviate this problem. (Georgakopoulos, Wilkin and Kent, 2011) Workplace bullies choose their targets, timing, location, and have the need to control the targeted individual. Bullying occurs regularly, and victims tend to be apprehensive about reporting it due to the difficulties often associated with proving it.  Workplace bullying needs to be explored in a sustained and systematic way because organizations have a responsibility to protect their employees from the psychological harassment of a workplace bullying. (Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper, 2003) Workplace bullying occurs when one person or a group of people intentionally inflict pain or harm another employee.

Workplace bullying takes one or more of the following forms:

1. Verbal and nonverbal abuse.

2. Offensive behaviors that are threatening, humiliating, and intimidating.

3. Work interference or sabotage that prevents work from getting done.

Workplace bullying, once a condition suffered in silence, has garnered widespread attention in recent years and has become an important issue to be addressed, especially by human resource managers who can by virtue of their jobs influence policies and procedures to ensure that the issue is addressed. (Fapohunda, 2013)  Everyone has heard of the terms bullying and number individuals have lived it, in the workplace from their boss or individual who wants to control them.   Some bullies feel that bullying makes them cool or popular, some bullies actually feel jealousy towards their victim, and some bullies used bullying as a way to fit in at work. The bullying behavior has many faces and they are:

• Unwarranted or invalid criticism

• Blame without factual justification

• Being treated differently than the rest of your work group

• Yelling and being sworn at

• Exclusion or social isolation

• Being shouted at or being humiliated

• Excessive monitoring or micro-managing

• Being given work unrealistic deadlines

• Abusing their authority by:

a. Threatening or giving poor evaluations.

b. Threatening consequences for failing to comply with directives. (Washington State Dept. Of Labor & Industries, 2011)


Bullying is a big problem in the American workplace, and exists due to weak, ineffective management of business owners and managers. Bullying phenomenon in the workplace is far too widespread today creating a hostile workplace environment. Organizations can intervene to build a collaborative safety workplace by directing attention to safety and creating contexts where people speak up and problem solve together.  Bullying occurs when an individual or boss is willing to turn a blind eye because he/she cares more about productivity, and profit.  Just as the NFL and Miami Dolphins did with Ritchie Incognito was bullying Jonathan Martin, until it became National Headline. Jonathan Martin walked away from a dream job (Football) where he made more money than most of us could ever imagine because being bullied my Ritchie Incognito and his teammates. (Chandler, 2013)  The Miami Dolphins coaches knew this been going on for years and fail to stop it.  Today, organizations are starting to realize that bullying is a national problem with workplace, causing the loss of productivity, and costing them to lose 6 billion annually.  It is time to stop bullying in the workplace.  I would like too closed with this quote from Gary Namie:  “The characteristic common to all bullies is that they are controlling competitors who exploit their cooperative targets.  Most bullies would stop if the rules changed and bullying are punished.


Georgakopoulos, Alexia, Wilkin, LaVena, and Kent, Brianna. (2011), Workplace

     Bullying: A Complex Problem in Contemporary Organizations.  International Journal of Business

     and Social Science Vol. 2 No. 3.

Einarsen, Helge Hoel, Dieter Zapf & Cary Cooper. (2003), Bullying and Emotional Abuse in the  

     Workplace. International Perspectives in Research and Practice (pp.165 – 184).  New York, NY:

     Taylor & Francis.

Fapohunda, Tinuke. M. (2013).  Managing Workplace Bullying. Journal of Human Resource

     Management Vol. 1, No. 3.

Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries. (2011) Workplace


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