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1 Unequal Wales – Evidence and Action: Employment Workplace Bullying Duncan Lewis University of Glamorgan.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Unequal Wales – Evidence and Action: Employment Workplace Bullying Duncan Lewis University of Glamorgan."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Unequal Wales – Evidence and Action: Employment Workplace Bullying Duncan Lewis University of Glamorgan

2 2 What do you hope to achieve from todays session?

3 3 What do we think about when we talk about bullying and harassment?

4 Power Escalating process Negative/inappropriate Persistence

5 Bullying and Harassment - key issues Lots of evidence Some dodgy research Cultural differences Different terms but do they mean similar things? Is bullying too narrowly a defined concept for some of the things labelled as bullying?

6 Bullying is ………………… ………………… …………………

7 A definition of bullying Harassing, offending & socially excluding someone or negatively affecting someones work tasks in order for the label bullying to be applied to a particular activity, interaction or process, it has to occur repeatedly and regularly for instance (weekly) and over a period of at least six months (Einarsen et al 2003)

8 Power Escalating process Negative/inappropriate Persistence The Einarsen et al definition attempts to encapsulate these concepts………

9 9 Conflict Escalation & Bullying Suicide & Destruction Incidental slipping into tensions Polarization – interaction via deeds not words Concern for reputation – outrage Dominant strategies of threat Systematic destructive campaigns Power struggle between both Bullying begins Conflict Escalation Model – after Glasl (1994)..

10 2008 British Workplace Behaviour Survey

11 The original negative acts questionnaire Asks people about their exposure to 21 items of negative behaviour (how often experienced - Daily through to Never) Give people a definition of bullying and ask them if they have been bullied – Yes or No

12 What is the problem with answering surveys? (1) Comprehension: They have to decide what they think the question is asking. (2) Retrieval: Then they have to retrieve the relevant information from memory. (3) Judgement: Next they have to make judgements about the information in order to decide on which response option to use. (4) Response: Finally, they have to give their response to the interviewer or provide it on the questionnaire.

13 Cognitive Testing We asked 60 people about the 28 items in the 21 item NAQ battery -15 people in each of the following locations: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and Ilford Our aim was for them to tell us about what they understood of terms such as bullying, harassment and so on.

14 What did we ask people in the cognitive testing? Ask about the definition of bullying, is it clear/unclear? Do they agree/disagree? How would they describe bullying? If any experienced – what sorts of incidents are they thinking of? If no experience personally – have they seen incidents of bullying in their workplace – what are they including? Additional probes were used with particular questions/definitions, for example: How would you describe bullying? How would you describe harassment? Are they the same thing? What does a hostile environment mean to you? What does being a victim mean to you?

15 Outcome of cognitive testing… The concept of bullying is not at all clear to working people. Lack of clarity in peoples minds as to what it is, may be, or, is not Expecting people to read and understand long definitions is not reliable – people made their minds up within the first one or two lines

16 The Equality Bill The Government has now published its long awaited Equality Bill. The Bill proposes to bring all the current strands of discrimination (disability, sex, race etc) within one piece of legislation. It is expected the Bill will receive Royal Assent in Spring 2010, with the majority of provisions coming into force in October 2010.

17 Equalities and Bullying – risk groups LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans- gendered) – Majrowski Case, 2006 The Disability Discrimination Act – FTAW1 and 2 plus WBS 2008 Age, Gender, Race/ethnicity, Religion and belief – little or contradictory evidence in terms of higher or lower levels of bullying. Picture is not at all clear but evidence appears to reject higher levels of bullying in these groups.

18 18 Relationships & Behaviours Problems of perception – what is acceptable to A may not be to B. Think about: –Age, Gender, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, Religion, Disability, Appearance etc., etc. Departmental and Organisational Culture. Think about: –Norms, Values, Beliefs and how they might underpin unacceptable behaviours.

19 19 Helen Green V Deutsche Bank August 2006 Four women against 1 woman (Helen Green). Ms. Green subjected to a relentless, deliberate and concerted campaign (Justice Owen) Cause: 1.It was a department-wide and long-standing problem 2.Managers closed their eyes – a catfight they decided to stay away from 3.HR – culpable through a lack of care 4.Perpetrator – undermined, domineered, was confrontational, deliberately targeted and was unreasonable in her treatment of Helen Green (perpetrator was not a manager) 5.Cumulative effect – not a single negative act but a combination of them (Tony Morton-Hooper, Partner, Mischon de Reya)

20 20 The behaviours Ms Green was subjected to: Nine weeks into her new job, she was working on her own in an office when the four women walked in and Miss Dolbear (an administrator and main perpetrator) - with her hand over her nose - said: "Whats that stink over there? "Daniella [Dolbear] was shouting and saying you stink and that sort of loud behaviour and laughing in my face and blowing raspberries," said Miss Green, from Docklands, east London. "There was one time when I was walking from my desk over to the stationery cupboard and she was blowing raspberries with every step I made - it wasnt funny."

21 21 Helen Green Outcome Brought under criminal law not employment law (Protection from Harassment Act 1997) Awarded £850, –£35,000 for injury – Ms Green suffered two nervous breakdowns –£25,000 for future job-market vulnerability –£120,000 for loss of earnings –£640,000 for future loss of earnings –Balance in other costs Now re-training to be a teacher

22 Impact of inappropriate behaviours

23 Sleep/eating disorders/substance abuse Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder Some people seek counselling or medical attention for physical or psychological symptoms Reduced ability to cope with job demands Long term health and wellbeing consequences IMPACTS ON THE INDIVIDUAL

24 24 IMPACTS ON THE ORGANISATION Increased absenteeism Staff turnover Lower efficiency More mistakes & accidents Lost productivity among other staff Lower staff morale/organisational commitment Reduced staff creativity & innovation Lost opportunity costs

25 Impact on others Co-workers Friends The working environment Significant others, e.g. Partner, children and other family members

26 Evidence from the 2008 British Workplace Behaviour Survey

27 It isnt easy! This is complex, unpredictable, messy and open to multiple interpretations

28 Thank You Professor Duncan Lewis Acas Professor of Workplace Futures

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