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Workplace bullying Essay

Background of the study:

Workplace bullying is a problem and is an important organizational and social concern. This study examined workplace bullying and its effect on job performance and productivity. The research showed how bullying behavior affects a target’s ability to perform their jobs, which can impact the morale of employees and the financial performances of an organization. Workplace bullying is difficult to identify and contain because the harassment usually takes place covertly, many times out of sight of supervisors and coworkers. The central findings of this study (a) showed the frequency of workplace bullying, (b) factors contribute to workplace bullying, (c) respondents perceive level of job perfromance, and (d) revealed a relationship between workplace bullying and its effect on job performance and productivity, (e) discover coping strategies of bully victims. A 2002 survey of 9,000 Canadian federal employees indicated that 42% of female and 15% of male employees reported being bullied in a 2-year period, resulting in more than $180 million in lost time and productivity (Canada Safety Council, 2002).

According to Namie and Namie (2003), 82% of employees who had been bullied left their workplace: 38% for health reasons and 44% because they were victims of a low performance appraisal manipulated by a bullying supervisor to show them as incompetent. High turnover of employees can be costly for organizations. Human resource experts calculate the cost of losing and replacing a worker from 25% to 200% of annual compensation, depending on the level of the employee (Melone, 2006). The workplace presents opportunities for a wide range of insidious and intimidating bully tactics. Research indicates a relationship between employee perceptions of bullying and his or her need to spend time at work defending themselves, networking for support, contemplating the circumstances, becoming demotivated and stressed, and taking sick leave (Namie & Namie; Needham, 2003; Rigby, 2002).

Theoretical/Conceptual Framework:

This paper applies Novak’s (1998) theory of learning to the problem of workplace bullying. Novak’s theory offers an understanding of how actions of bullying and responses to bullying can be seen as deriving from individualized conceptualizations of workplace bullying by those involved. Further, Novak’s theory suggests that training involving Ausubel’s concept of meaningful learning (Ausubel Educational Theory 11(1): 15–25, 1961; Ausubel et al. 1978) which attends to learners’ pre-existing knowledge and allows for new meaning to be constructed regarding workplace bullying can lead to new actions related to workplace bullying. Ideally, these new actions can involve both a reduction in workplace bullying prevalence, and responses to workplace bullying which recognize and are informed by the negative consequences of this workplace dynamic.

Second approach that we used is In “Harassment and Bullying at Work: a Review of the Scandinavian Approach” Einarsen (2000) presents three different causal models that have been used in Scandinavia, namely emphasizing personality traits of the exposed, general characteristics of human interaction in organizations and organizational climate. The first model explores characteristics of the victim and/or offender, and claims that some people are more in the risk zone of being bullied because of their personality. Certain personality traits, such as lower self-esteem, anxiety in social settings and suspiciousness, are claimed to be more common among victims of bullying. As for the offender authoritarian personalities that often react impulsively with aggressiveness, are examples of personality traits that have been discovered in this field of study. Different studies have brought out different traits so there is no confirmation of some traits being more valid than others.

Furthermore “the issue of personality traits in relation to harassment at work is a controversial one, especially as far as the victim is concerned and the position on personality traits as precursors of harassment has been seriously questioned” (Einarsen, 2000:389). The second model is built on the observation that although conflict is a phenomenon found in all organizations, only in some cases interpersonal conflicts lead to battles where the goal is to demolish the other (Einarsen, 2000). Since conflicts are seen as a natural component of organizations this model claims that there are certain human characteristics that are inherent and affects organizations. Some researcher even go as far as saying that harassment is an inherent human characteristic, and therefore believes that attempts to eliminate workplace bullying is useless. Another argument is that scapegoats play an important social role for the organizational climate and it brings other organizational members together (Einarsen, 2000).

It should be noted that the scapegoats does not necessarily have to be an organizational member; it can be an external person or organization, or even an object. Both Leymann (1992) and Einarsen et al. (1994) argue that unresolved interpersonal conflicts threaten to end up in harassments. Whether harassment might be an inherent human characteristic is yet to be explored. A third possibility is that harassment is triggered aftermath from other organizational conflicts (Einarsen, 2000). The third model has received the most attention in Scandinavia, and it stresses the role that organizational factors and work conditions play, such as social environment, workload, or division of tasks.

Workplace bullying – in this model – is looked upon as caused by the organization itself, that is, by structural and other problems within the organization (Einarsen, 2000). Studies have shown that some factors may be more significant than others for the presence of bullying at work (2000). Leadership, role conflicts, and work control were brought out by Einarsen et al. (1994) to be contributing factors to workplace bullying. Other factors may still be important though, bullying might for example be more likely to occur if the jargon in the workplace in general is more aggressive. The approach of organizational work environment says that organizations with ill conditions might increase workplace bullying. It also suggests that workplace bullying is more likely to occur in particular 15 organizational settings (Einarsen, 2000). These three different models can alone be seen as narrow and one-sided, but Einarsen (2000) stresses the importance for future research to focus on several factors, both organizational and personal.

Another way of understanding work place bullying is by using Gidden’s Structuration Theory to provide a basis for examining the social processes involved in the approaches adopted by organizations to manage workplace bullying. Giddens’ framework involves a series of stages, with the possibility of barriers between each of the stages. Within this theory strategies between the stages and tactics within the stages could be developed to address the problem of workplace bullying. In 1984, sociologist Giddens presented his theory of Structuration (Giddens, 1984). In simple terms his theory outlines the social processes involved in the evolution of aspects of society.

A key component of his theory is the double hermeneutic process, where people, upon reflection of day to day activities, are able to influence the structure of society by either reproducing current practices or by changing them. School and workplace bullying have a long history within our society and recent ideas have been advanced that challenge the appropriateness of such traditional behavior. Turner (1991) analyzed Giddens’ work and produced a diagrammatic model of his Theory of Structuration. The model with its 11 sensitizing concepts is illustrated in Figure 1. It is proposed in this study to use Turner’s model, which consists of inter-linked but discrete concepts, to provide a framework for illuminating how a social issue, such as workplace bullying, can be managed within an organization.

To elucidate the study, below is a schematic diagram that shows how the information gathered is utilized:

Figure 2 Conceptual Framework

Figure 2 presents the conceptual framework for this study. The researchers believe that the factors contributing to work place bullying can affect the level of performance of such employee. Factors such as abuse of power, self-esteem, perceived threats and organizational culture may affect ones quality of work, productivity, and quality of family-work life. But the diagram also shows degree of coping strategies such as depression, physical injury, and self-expression.

Statement of the Problem:

This study aimed to investigate the effect of workplace bullying on employees job performance and their coping strategies in the random call center agents in Davao City. It specifically sought to answer the following questions. 1. What are the factors that contribute to workplace bullying in terms of:

a. Power;
b. Self-esteem; and
c. Perceived Threats
2. What are the respondents perceive level of job performance as to:
a. Quality of work;
b. Productivity; and
c. Quality of family work life
3. What is the respondent perceive degree of coping strategies employed regards to:
a. Depression;
b. Physical injury; and
c. Self-Expression

Proposed Hypothesis:

H1; the factors that contributed to workplace bullying do significantly affect the respondents’ perceived degree of coping strategies employed as to:

A.) Depression
B.) Productivity
C.) Quality of family-work life.

To know the factors that contributes to workplace bullying in terms of power, self-esteem and perceived threats.

To know the respondent’s perceived level of job performance as to quality of work, productivity and quality of family-work life?

To know the degree of respondent’s perceived degree of coping strategies employed with regards to depression, physical injury and self-expression.


This study will be useful to the people who are victims of bullying so that they will be able to develop or imitate the coping strategies of the victims with regard to depression, physical injury and self-expression. The reasons also being revealed why workplace bullying is existing in a particular company will help us to analyze in gathering data that can eradicate or lessen such issue. This study defines the impact of workplace bullying behavior on work productivity, quality of work within a company


The company will benefit to this study because this will identify reasons or factors of workplace bullying that need to be considered or to act upon. They can improve in identifying the effects of workplace bullying in employees’ peceived level of job performance as to quality of work, productivity and quality-work life. In this study the management can make decisions and strategy to eradicate bullying in the workplace in order to provide healthy relationships within the company. It also helps the organization to be aware on how to give insightful ways to eliminate this harmful behavior. It helps the company to be challenged to create policies regarding workplace bullying.


This will help future researchers to gather secondary data and gain ideas.

Scope and Limitations of the Study

The proposed study will be limited only on the random people who worked in call center industry. This study will be limited only to the selected call center company within Davao City area. This study adds to the body of knowledge regarding adult bullying behavior in the workplace. Data from this research provide leaders and managers’ insight into the prevalence of the mistreatment of employees and how it affects the productivity of their workers.

Essay Topics:

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