1. How does workplace bullying violate the rules of
2. What aspects of motivation might workplace bullying
3. If you were a victim of workplace bullying, what steps
4. What factors do you believe contribute to workplace
After a long weekend, Kara stared at her computer with
a sick feeling in her stomach: her boss had added her as
a friend on Facebook. Kara did not feel particularly close
to her boss, nor did she like the idea of mixing her social
life with her work. Still, it was her boss. Kara reluctantly accepted
her boss as a Facebook friend. Little did she know
her troubles were only beginning.
Kara’s boss soon began using her online information
to manipulate her work life. It began with inappropriate
innuendos regarding Facebook photos. Eventually,
Kara’s boss manipulated her work hours, confronted her
both on and off Facebook, and repeatedly called Kara’s
cell phone questioning her whereabouts. “My boss was
a gossiping, domineering, contriving megalomaniac,
and her behavior dramatically intensified when she used
Facebook to pry,” Kara said. Eventually, Kara was forced
to quit. “I feel like I got my freedom back and can breathe
again,” she said.
Although many individuals recall bullies from
elementary school days, some are realizing bullies can exist
in the workplace, too. In a recent poll, 37 percent of employees
report being victims of a bullying boss. And these
bullies don’t pick on just the weakest in the group; any
subordinate may fall prey. As Kara found, bullying is not
limited to male bosses: 40 percent of bullies are women,
and women are their targets 70 percent of the time.
How does bullying affect employee motivation and behavior?
Surprisingly, though victims may feel less motivated
to go to work every day, they continue performing their
required job duties. However, some are less motivated to
perform extra-role or citizenship behaviors. Helping others,
speaking positively about the organization, and going
beyond the call of duty are reduced as a result of bullying.
According to Dr. Bennett Tepper, fear may be the reason
many workers continue to perform. And not all individuals
reduce their citizenship behaviors. Some continue to
engage in extra-role behaviors to make themselves look
better than their colleagues. Other victims of bullying may
be motivated to actively retaliate against their bullying supervisor,
or engage in acts of workplace withdrawal.
What should you do if your boss is bullying you? Don’t
necessarily expect help from co-workers. As Emelise
Aleandri, an actress and producer from New York who
left her job after being bullied, stated, “Some people were
afraid to do anything. But others didn’t mind what was
happening at all, because they wanted my job.” Moreover,
according to Dr. Michelle Duffy of the University of
Kentucky, co-workers often blame victims of bullying in order
to resolve their own guilt. “They do this by wondering
whether maybe the person deserved the treatment, that
he or she has been annoying, or lazy, [or] did something
to earn it,” she says.