IN TOUCH : Beware – bullies on the loose

A recent survey shows that bullying is rife in New Zealand workplaces and that managers have limited understanding of the problem or how to address it.
Targeting workers in health, education, travel and hospitality, the survey “Understanding Stress and Bullying in the New Zealand Workplace” was carried out by an inter-disciplinary team led by Tim Bentley, associate head of Massey University’s School of Management. It found New Zealand can boast some of the highest rates of workplace bullying in the world. Of the 1728 respondents, 18 percent reported being bullied, while 75 reported suffering from stress.
“The magnitude is higher than expected,” says Bentley who noted that nine times out of 10, the manager is the bully and bad leadership the cause. However, when managers were asked about workplace bullying, they believed it occurred infrequently in their workplace. The survey also found misunderstanding among both management and staff as to what behaviours constituted bullying.
While the Department of Labour, which part funded the research, warned about extrapolating its results to all sectors of the workforce, it said employers needed robust practices and procedures to deal with workplace bullying.

More on what constitutes bullying and how best to deal with it can be found at www.dol.govt.nz

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