No change in bullying despite new policies


No change in bullying despite new policies

The incidence of non-managerial employees observing workplace bullying and the numbers personally experiencing it have not changed in six years, according to a new workplace study.

Over the same period, more organisations have adopted policies to deal with bullying yet fewer bosses believe it is occurring in their organisation, the research revealed.

The findings, from the Leadership, Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D) Survey of workplace trends conducted by Chase Research for Leadership Management Australasia (LMA), are drawn from more than 4000 respondents from around Australia and New Zealand.

The respondents were from 17 different industry sectors including tourism, accommodation, cafes and restaurants.

Now in its 12th year, the survey covers leaders, managers and non-managerial employee sectors.

The findings include:

  • 34 per cent of employees had observed bulling in the workplace (up from 33 per cent in 2010).
  • 4 per cent are currently experiencing bullying (4 per cent in 2010 and 2008, 5 per cent in 2006). 
  • 15 per cent say they have been victims at some stage (19 per cent in 2010, 17 per cent in 2008, 19 per cent in 2006).
  • 39 per cent of managers believe bullying is happening in their organisation (46 per cent in 2010, 37 per cent in 2006).
  • 92 per cent of manager say their organisation has a policy to manage bullying (93 per cent in 2010, 79 per cent in 2006).
  • 87 per cent of leaders say their organisation has a policy to manage bullying (90 per cent in 2010, 78 per cent in 2006).

LMA’s chief executive officer Andrew Henderson said the findings showed an apparent  lack of managerial commitment to the issue.

“There are more organisations today with a bullying management policy than six years ago, yet there is no apparent reduction in the incidence of bullying over that time which suggests managers and leaders are not policing the policies,” said Henderson. 

“A third of employees say they have observed bullying this year but a surprisingly high 72 per cent of leaders and 61 per cent of managers don’t believe it is in happening in their organisation,” he said. 

Bullying was one of seven workplace issues explored in the research, along with inappropriate language, verbal harassment, inappropriate emails, discrimination, racism and sexual harassment.

Inappropriate language was the most observed issue by each workplace sector with 49 per cent of managers saying they had observed it and 36 per cent of employees.


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