Not long ago, if we sought to comprehend common bullying behaviors at work, their frequency, and the harm they cause, we’d look to our friends in Europe, Canada, and Australia for published research studies.
Today, work from our international colleagues continues to enrich our understanding, but U.S. researchers have stepped up to produce a growing body of work on bullying, mobbing, and incivility in the American workplace. And if my travels to different conferences featuring poster presentations by graduate students in the midst of dissertations and theses are any indication, there’s a lot more good stuff in the pipeline.
From understanding to action
We must continue to examine the prevalence and effects of workplace bullying. This type of research must be ongoing, and eventually it should provide us with the ability to compare the frequency and variety of bullying behaviors over time.
However, we’re also at a point where we must emphasize evidence-based action by facilitating prevention, intervention, and response. Indeed, a centerpiece of the “workplace bullying 2.0” theme is that we’ve got the evidence to make our case for tackling this problem at all levels, including organizational change, public education, law reform, and mental health counseling.
Of course, work of this nature is underway as I write, but more is needed. We’re much closer to having a finely-tuned set of best practices and policies (public and private) to deal with workplace bullying than we were a decade ago. With the right blend of research, practice, public education, and advocacy, we can reach that desired objective.
This is one of a series of blog posts under the “workplace bullying 2.0″ rubric, exploring the degree to which workplace bullying has become a mainstream topic in American employment relations. Psychology and mental health, the law, human resources and organizational management, and labor studies are among the fields I’ll be examining.