|Employees Think Quit Where Bullies Flourish|
|Nation - Workplace|
|TS-Si News Service|
|Monday, 02 July 2012 06:00|
London, UK. A new study demonstrates that merely showing up to work in an environment where bullying goes on is enough to make many of us think about quitting the job.
Even more, researchers found that nurses not bullied directly, but who worked in an environment where workplace bullying occurred, felt a stronger urge to quit than those actually being bullied.
The overall study goal was to understand whether bullying in the work unit environment can have a negative impact on a worker's desire to remain in their organization, independent of their personal or direct experiences of workplace bullying. The findings on ambient bullying appear in the journal Human Relations. The authors claim significant implications for organizations, as well as contributing a new statistical approach to the field.
Individuals may experience moral indignation at others being bullied.
However, the authors theorized that it is perceived as being even more unfair when others are bullied and they are not.
The current work contributes to a growing area of human relations study, which looks at how third party experiences affect individuals within organizations.Organizational behaviour and human resources experts from the University of British Columbia (UBC) surveyed 357 nurses in 41 hospital units.
Next the researchers used statistical analysis to test the relationship between turnover intention and whether an individual was experiencing bullying directly.
A number of previous studies have shown a strong correlation between a high staff turnover and bullying within an organization, especially when there is other employment readily available. From an organization's perspective, staff turnover is costly, and when the word gets out about bullying this can also be damaging to reputation.
The study has wider implications in the field of human resources, the authors say, because they examined a broad, varied and generalized experience of bullying. Further, because they relied on hierarchical linear modeling techniques, the researchers could accurately examine the simultaneous impacts of direct bullying and ambient bullying, showing each unique effect above and beyond that accounted for by the other (something not possible with earlier statistical techniques).
"Of particular note is the fact that we could predict turnover intentions as effectively either by whether someone was the direct target of bullying, or by how much an environment was characterized by bullying," said corresponding author, Marjan Houshmand.
"This is potentially interesting because we tend to assume that direct, personal experiences should be more influential upon employees than indirect experiences only witnessed or heard about in a second-hand fashion. Yet our study identifies a case where direct and indirect experiences have a similarly strong relationship to turnover intentions."
"This work provides insight into the bullying targets' understanding of their experiences and it challenges the 'passive' view of workplace bullying that characterizes the targets of bullying as hapless victims who are too vulnerable and weak to fight their bullies," Houshmand suggests. "Instead, the targets of bullying see escaping their own and other people's bullies as a means to create turmoil and disrupt the organization as an act of defiance."
CitationEscaping bullying: The simultaneous impact of individual and unit-level bullying on turnover intentions. Marjan Houshmand, Jane O’Reilly, Sandra Robinson, Angela Wolff. Human Relations 2012; 65(7): 901-918. doi:10.1177/0018726712445100
In this study, we investigate the simultaneous impact of, and interaction between, being the direct target of bullying and working in an environment characterized by bullying upon employees’ turnover intentions. Hierarchical linear modeling analysis of a sample of 41 hospital units and 357 nurses demonstrates that working in an environment characterized by bullying increases individual employees’ turnover intentions. Importantly, employees report similarly high turnover intentions when they are either the direct target of bullying or when they work in work units characterized by high bullying. Results also suggest that the impact of unit-level bullying is stronger on those who are not often directly bullied themselves.
Keywords: bullying, healthcare organizations, job/employee attitudes, nurses, organizational culture, turnover, work environment.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 01 July 2012 19:54|