Human Resources

Key Characteristics of Bullying

harassment and bullying

In a world that is so technologically advanced, it is unfortunate that our society is not more tolerant.   Harassment and bullying in the workplace continue to be an important topic to be addressed by all companies.  

What is Bullying? 

Let’s make sure that we’re all on the same page when it comes to talking about harassment and bullying. 

American bullying experts Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie give us this definition: “Bullying at work is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of a person by one or more workers that takes the form of verbal abuse; conduct or behaviors that are threatening, intimidating, or humiliating; sabotage that prevents work from getting done; or some combination of the three.” 

The key characteristics of bullying are: 

  • It is done to control and/or destroy another person, often with the intent of forcing them out of the company 
  • It assaults their dignity, trustworthiness, competence, and self-worth 
  •  It makes the target feel responsible and guilty 
  • It isolates and confuses the target 
  • It is usually long-lasting, repeated, and escalates in severity 

Bullying is also referred to as: 

  • Psychological violence 
  •  Verbal harassment 
  •  Personal harassment 
  •  Emotional abuse 

Some Scary Statistics 

In 2010, the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI for short) released a survey that shared some scary statistics about workplace bullying in the United States. It is believed that these results can be extrapolated to other regions. 

Common Targets 

Gender, race, and age all play a part in who might become a target for harassment and bullying. According to WBI’s 2010 survey: 

  • 62% of bullies are men; 38% are women. However, women target other women 80% of the time, while men target both genders. 
  • This means that 58% of targets are women while 42% are men. 
  • 40% of Hispanics have been bullied, along with 39% of African-Americans and 34% of Caucasians. Interestingly, only 14% of Asians report being bullied. 
  • 50% of bullying happens to people aged 30-49. The remainder is split almost evenly between ages 18-29 and ages 50-64. 
  • Level of education seems to make no difference. 

Are you interested in learning more about

Bullying in the Workplace?