Australian psychologist and Ph.D. candidate Moira Jenkins has studied bosses accused of workplace bullying and found that they “suffer severe health effects including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicidal thoughts,” as summarized in a recent news report by Lauren Novak for the Adelaide Advertiser.
Novak further reported:
Jenkins…interviewed 30 managers accused of bullying, “breaking the long tradition of listening to only the victims’ point of view” and finding there are long-term health and career consequences – whether guilty or not.
“There was significant anxiety and depression among them,” Ms Jenkins said.
“Some of them had talked about post-traumatic stress disorder, some had contemplated suicide.
“There were considerable mental-health issues.”
This study helps to fill a significant void in the workplace bullying literature, and it raises a ton of important questions. At bottom, it underscores the importance of preventive measures. I have frequently remarked that bullying is a “lose-lose” proposition, in that bullying targets and employers often pay a price. Jenkins’s work indicates there can be a third loser, the accused aggressor.
Jenkins will present her findings at the 7th International Conference on Workplace Bullying & Harassment, to be held in Cardiff, Wales, from June 2-4, and hosted by the University of Glamorgan. I’m sure her work will yield plenty of engaged responses.