We've observed the bully on the highway...thus the title 'road rage' and in some cases; homicide was the consequence. Sports events can be lethal as we've viewed the clips of fights in the stands and on the playing field. Folks are hurt and some even die as a result of a melee. One can stand in line at department stores, restaurants, concerts and a bully becomes impatient and attempts to cut line and 'all hell breaks loose' in a flash. One word leads to another and of course that pesky finger doesn't help things! I'll get back to that finger! The political arenas stateside are interesting conclaves of mental, emotional & verbal bullying and let's not forget the physical consequences of this behavior among the various international governments. I still can't forget the image of a republican yelling out "you lie" at President Obama when he was addressing the nation and again that pesky finger that Governor Brewer aimed at the former in an appalling manner. Yes, bullying occurs on many levels of society and don't think that doesn't have an impact on children and youth.
The family is where it all starts for some and influences how members interact with each other and how eventually this dysfunctional behavior permeates all facets of society. Law enforcement and the criminal justice system take the concept of bullying to new heights. Not all but there is a pattern of this behavior played out on the nightly and the 24hr. news cycle, taser incidents, the numerous lawsuits for rogue cops and disproportionate sentencing for many people of color and the poor in general. As I said in Part 1 a myriad of milieus.
Many work environments today have become toxic with daily acts of humiliation and exploitation. The current economic environment with downsizing promotes the overloading of workers with additional duties, verbal abuses, overt and subtle forms of intimidation prevail and for many folks who need their jobs--there is a sense of powerlessness. We all know of so many families who are struggling because of lay-offs and have lost their homes and vehicles which makes job hunting a complex and difficult process. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, victims of this behavior are experiencing depression, symptoms of PTSD, requiring significant sick time and in some work environments there are exceptional turnover rates. Reduced productivity and poor company image have implications for more outsourcing to other countries. For the latter, poor work environments and low wages are reasonably adapted to for they are better in comparison to the miserable work surroundings they toiled under before the companies moved to their towns and villages.
As an aside, I was concerned that in some of the studies women in supervisory positions engaged in more bullying behavior than their male counterparts. This was disturbing to me and again I couldn't help but wonder if women who've long been victims of subjugation, harassment and domination in work and corporate settings; have been co-opted with that mindset. Their efforts to become more empowered by engaging in the same behavior that has victimized so many females in the workforce with the perceived lack of repercussions and in some cases observable advancement sustaining the behavior. This deserves more scrutiny and workshops to stem the tide of this unacceptable development.
Tracy Whitaker, DSW, ACSW, conducted a study with some suggestions for this pervasive problem which states that there should be policy and laws to protect workers from this behavior and likens it to the sexual harassment policy. Folks who are the victims of this phenomena--should seek redress by documenting incidents, look for other opportunities and resist the negative environments that they work in. I would also suggest assertiveness training and researching time management protocol to substantiate your concerns that interfere with productivity and may change the nature and practices of cross training and overburdening existing employees. No one should be berated or humiliated and certainly that pesky finger has no place in the work environment or any other milieu for the implications and consequences of that one act can be devastating.
I've provided a link with an excerpt from a book authored by Katherine Williams "Workplace Bullying" which I think is one of the more comprehensive accounts of this phenomenon with solutions and varying definitions for the types of bullying and their impact. I suggest checking it out and you may want to get the book from the library or the various online book sellers.