Many of us in the workplace anti-bullying movement have understood that men who face workplace bullying are less likely than women to talk about their experiences and to seek assistance. However, thanks to the work of Dr. Sue O’Donnell (U. New Brunswick, Canada), we have an excellent seven-minute video that captures a cross section of the male experience of being a bullying target. I had the privilege of watching the video as part of her presentation at the 2017 Work, Stress and Health conference currently underway in Minneapolis.
A nursing school professor, Dr. O’Donnell worked with New Brunswick colleague Dr. Judith MacIntosh to conduct interviews of men who had experienced workplace bullying and then teamed with Nick Wilson Videography to turn those interviews into a form of live testimony. It’s a powerful video that will resonate specially with men who have struggled with workplace bullying and how to talk about it. This is no small subset of targets. To illustrate, the Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2014 U.S. national prevalence study found that among survey respondents, some 40 percent of workplace bullying targets were male.
Drs. O’Donnell and MacIntosh have co-authored “Gender and Workplace Bullying: Men’s Experiences of Surviving Bullying at Work” (Qualitative Health Research), their underlying research study for the video. Here’s the abstract of the piece:
Although men are targets of workplace bullying, there is limited research focused on their experiences. To address this gap, we used a qualitative grounded theory approach and interviewed a community sample of 20 Atlantic Canadian men to explore and explain their experiences of, and responses to, bullying. The main problem identified by men was a lack of workplace support to address and resolve the bullying, a challenge named abandonment. Men addressed this problem by surviving, a process that involved efforts to manage persistent bullying and the associated consequences. Men experienced physical, emotional, and social health consequences and, contrary to prevailing assumptions related to men’s help-seeking behaviors, men want support and many sought help to address the problem and its consequences. Responses to abandonment and the associated consequences varied according to a number of factors including gender and highlight the need for research aimed at understanding the gendered nature of bullying.