Bullying policies lack bite

LMA CEO Andrew Henderson describes the findings as “staggering” and suggests “lack of managerial commitment” in addressing the issue.

“It suggests managers and leaders are not policing the policies,” Henderson says.

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

The research findings are based on responses from more than 4000 business people in Australia and New Zealand. LMA has been conducting the survey for 12 years. 

Amongst employees:
• 34 percent have observed bullying in the workplace (33 percent in 2006);
• 4 percent say they are currently being bullied (5 percent in 2006); and
• 15 percent say they have been victims at some stage (19 percent in 2006).

 When managers were canvassed for their views:
• 39 percent of them said they believe bullying is happening in their organisation (37 percent in 2006); and
• 92 percent of them said their organisation has policy to manage bullying (79 percent in 2006).

Of business leaders surveyed:
• 28 percent said they believe bullying is happening in their organisation (35 percent in 2006); and
• 87 percent said their organisation has policy to manage bullying (78 percent in 2006).

When the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released findings of its own similar survey on workplace bullying earlier this year it showed half of all organisations reported incidents of bullying in their workplace. 

The three most common outcomes of bullying incidents reported were decreased morale (68 percent), increased stress and/or depression levels (48 percent) and decreased trust among co-workers (45 percent). 

SHRM is the world’s largest HR management association. It has more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries.

Compared with two years earlier, most organisations indicated that incidents of bullying had either stayed the same (48 percent) or decreased in frequency (34 percent), while 18 percent reported an increase in frequency of bullying.

The most common bullying behaviours were verbal abuse (reported by 73 percent of respondents), malicious gossiping and/or spreading lies/rumors about workers (62 percent), and threats or intimidation (50 percent).

Just under half (44 percent) of respondents said their organisation had no formal (written, documented) workplace bullying policy and no plans to put one in place.

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