ঢাকা রবিবার, মার্চ ৭, ২০২১

Bullying at Workplace

Md. Uzzwal Hayder

Manager Human Resource Development
Crystal Martin Apparel Bangladesh Limited.
A Subsidiary of Crystal International Group Ltd, UK.

In today’s competitive business world more or less we are facing complexity in workplace due to diversified workforce’s. In the age of extremely fastest technologically advanced world people are more concerned for “individualism” where there is no universal rationality. Com batting among the individual has become a common phenomenon in the workplace.

Typically, bullying is the activity of recurring, aggressive behavior which aims to hurt another individual, physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Workplace bullying refers to repeated, unreasonable actions of individuals (or a group) directed towards an employee (or a group of employees), which are intended to intimidate, degrade, humiliate, or undermine; or which create a risk to the health or safety of the employee.

Workplace bullying often involves an abuse or misuse of power. Bullying behavior creates feelings of vulnerability and injustice in the target and undermines an individual’s right to dignity at work. Workplace bullying can be instigated by coworkers, supervisors, contract workers, or labor representatives.

Features of bullying are:

  • The misuse of power in a relationship
  • It is ongoing and repeated
  • It involves such behaviors that can cause harm.

Types of bullying behavior

  • Physical – examples include hitting, pushing, shoving or intimidating or otherwise physically hurting another person, damaging or stealing their belongings. It includes threats of violence
  • Verbal/written – examples include name-calling or insulting someone about an attribute, quality or personal characteristic
  • Social – examples include intentionally excluding someone, spreading rumors, sharing information that will have a harmful effect on the other person and/or damaging a person’s social reputation or social acceptance
  • Cyber bullying – any form of bullying behavior that occurs online or via a mobile device. It can be verbal or written, and can include threats of violence as well as images, videos and/or audio.
  • Racist bullying: belittling, mocking, intimidating or shaming someone because of their physical appearance, ethnic background, religious or cultural practices and/or the way they dress or talk. For more information,

Indications of Bullying At Workplace:

  1. Repeatedly lying, not telling the truth, concealing the truth, deceiving others to get one’s way, and creating false hopes with no plans to fulfill them.
  2. Overt or veiled threats; fear-inducing communication and behavior
  3. Purposefully ignoring, avoiding, or not paying attention to someone; “forgetting” to invite someone to a meeting; selectively greeting or interacting with others besides a victim
  4. Isolation/exclusion.Intentionally excluding someone or making them feel socially or physically isolated from a group; purposefully excluding someone from decisions, conversations, and work-related events
  5. Constantly justifying or protecting behavior or making excuses for acting in a particular manner
  6. Minimizing, discounting, or failing to address someone’s legitimate concerns or feelings
  7. Dodging issues, acting oblivious or playing dumb, changing the subject to distract away from the issue, canceling meetings, and avoiding people
  8. Shame and guilt.Making an employee constantly feel that they are the problem, shaming them for no real wrongdoing, or making them feel inadequate and unworthy
  9. Undermining work.Deliberately delaying and blocking an employee’s work, progress on a project or assignment, or success; repeated betrayal; promising them projects and then giving them to others; alternating supportive and undermining behavior
  10. Pitting employees against each other.Unnecessarily and deliberately pitting employees against one another to drive competition, create conflict, or establish winners and losers; encouraging employees to turn against one another
  11. Removal of responsibility.Removing someone’s responsibilities, changing their role, or replacing aspects of their job without cause
  12. Impossible or changing expectations.Setting nearly impossible expectations and work guidelines; changing those expectations to set up employees to fail
  13. Constant change and inconsistency.Constantly changing expectations, guidelines, and scope of assignments; constant inconsistency of word and action (e.g. not following through on things said)
  14. Mood swings.Frequently changing moods and emotions; sharp and sudden shifts in emotions
  15. Constantly criticizing someone’s work or behavior, usually for unwarranted reasons
  16. Withholding information.Intentionally withholding information from someone or giving them the wrong information
  17. Projection of blame.Shifting blame to others and using them as a scapegoat; not taking responsibility for problems or issues
  18. Taking credit.Taking or stealing credit for other people’s ideas and contributions without acknowledging them
  19. Using excessive flattery and compliments to get people to trust them, lower their defenses, and be more responsive to manipulative behavior
  20. Creating a feeling of uselessness.Making an employee feel underused; intentionally rarely delegating or communicating with the employee about their work or progress; persistently giving employees unfavorable duties and responsibilities
  21. Yelling or shouting at an employee; exhibiting anger or aggression verbally or non-verbally (e.g. pounding a desk)
  22. Tampering with someone’s personal belongings; intruding on someone by unnecessarily lurking around their desk; stalking, spying, or pestering someone
  23. Aggressively forcing or persuading someone to say or do things against their will or better judgment
  24. Undeservedly punishing an employee with physical discipline, psychologically through passive aggression, or emotionally through isolation
  25. Continually derogating someone or their opinions, ideas, work, or personal circumstances in an undeserving manner
  26. Embarrassing, degrading, or humiliating an employee publicly in front of others
  27. Acting vindictive towards someone; seeking unfair revenge when a mistake happens; retaliating against an employee
  28. Threatening unwarranted punishment, discipline, termination, and/or physical, emotional, or psychological abuse
  29. Offensive communication.Communicating offensively by using profanity, demeaning jokes, untrue rumors or gossip, or harassment
  30. Launching an overt or underhanded campaign to “oust” a person out of their job or the organization
  31. Blocking advancement or growth.Impeding an employee’s progression, growth, and/or advancement in the organization unfairly

Factors that Increase the Risk for Bullying Behavior:

  • Significant organizational change (i.e., major internal restructuring, technological change).
  • Worker characteristics (e.g., age, gender, parental status, apprentice or trainee).
  • Workplace relationships (e.g., inadequate information flow between organizational levels, lack of employee participation in decisions).
  • Work systems (e.g., lack of policies about behavior, high rate and intensity of work, staff

      shortages, interpersonal conflict, organizational constraints, role ambiguity, and role conflict.

 How bullying affects people: 

  • Reduced self-esteem
  • Musculature problems
  • Work withdrawal and sickness absence
  • Sleep and digestive disturbances
  • Increased depression/self-blame
  • Family tension and stress
  • High stress, post-traumatic stress
  • Mental disorder
  • Financial problems due to absence

 How bullying affects organizations:

Each of the individual consequences listed above can be very costly for the organization. Costs of bullying generally fall into three categories:

  1. Replacing staff members that leave as a result of being bullied, cost of training new employees.
  2. Work effort being displaced as staff cope with bullying incidents (i.e., effort being directed away from work productivity and towards coping).
  3. Costs associated with investigations of ill treatment, potential legal action and loss of company reputation.

What can be done about bullying?


  • Recognize that you are being bullied.
  • Realize that you are NOT the source of the problem.
  • Recognize that bullying is about control, and therefore has nothing to do with your performance.
  • Keep a diary detailing the nature of the bullying (e.g., dates, times, places, what was said or done and who was present).
  • Forward the bullying report to an appropriate person. guidance on dealing with the issue.


  • Create a zero tolerance anti-bullying policy. This policy should be part of the wider commitment to a safe and healthful working environment and should have the full support of top management.
  • When witnessed or reported, the bullying behavior should be addressed IMMEDIATELY.
  • If bullying is entrenched in the organization, complaints need to be taken seriously and

          investigated promptly. Reassignment of the bully may be necessary.

  • Structure the work environment to incorporate a sense of autonomy, individual challenge/mastery and clarity of task expectations for employees. Include employees in decision-making processes.
  • Hold awareness campaigns for EVERYONE on what bullying is. Encourage reporting.
  • Ensure management has an active part in the staff they supervise, rather than being far removed from them.
  • Encourage open door policies.
  • Investigate the extent and nature of the problem.
  • Conduct employee attitude surveys.
  • Improve management’s ability and sensitivity towards dealing with and responding to conflicts.
  • Establish an independent contact for employees (e.g., Human Resources contact).

Recommendation: Bullying can never give any positive result for anybody in an organization.

So, for the better interest of any organization bullying behavior should be controlled very strictly.

The below points may be taken into consideration as preventive measures against bullying:

  • Encourage everyone at the workplace to act towards others in a respectful and professional manner.
  • Have a workplace policy in place that includes a reporting system.
  • Educate everyone that bullying is a serious matter.
  • Try to work out solutions before the situation gets serious or “out of control”.
  • Educate everyone about what is considered bullying, and whom they can go to for help.
  • Treat all complaints seriously, and deal with complaints promptly and confidentially.
  • Train supervisors and managers in how to deal with complaints and potential situations.
  • Encourage them to address situations promptly whether or not a formal complaint has been filed.

E-mail: uzzwal81@gmail.com