The Emotional Impact of Workplace Bullying

Alexander M. Fireman, Alecia M. Santuzzi*, Department of Psychology, Northern Illinois University

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Abstract: The following study examined the prevalence and impact of workplace bullying. To achieve this goal, a survey was administered through’s Mechanical Turk (n =122). The study set out to determine if workplace-bullying experiences could be correlated with other emotional states. Positive correlations were found among workplace bullying intensity, workplace incivility, and paranoia, while a negative correlation was discovered between workplace bullying intensity and self-esteem.

The Emotional Impact of Workplace Bullying Bullying is defined as persistent, nonphysical, and inappropriate treatment expressed towards one or more people (Namie & Namie, 2004, as cited in Namie & Namie, 2009), which occurs at least once a week for six months or more. Workplace bullying or incivility is defined as an act that is not a blatant attempt to harm but nevertheless causes distress (Cortina, Magley, Williams, and Langhout, 2001). Although the public has recently become more aware of school bullying, the media often ignores workplace bullying. According to Namie and Namie (2009), counseling for workplace bullying began just 12 years ago in the United States, while research on the topic has only spanned a decade.

There is no agreed upon statistic denoting the severity of workplace bullying (Martin & Lavan, 2010). This finding may be due to the fact that there is widespread disagreement as to the behaviors that constitute workplace bullying (Lutgen-Sandvik, Sarah, Alberts, & Jess, 2007). Therefore, the prevalence of this behavior may in fact be higher than the current reported incidence rate suggests.

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