The Problem of the Bullying in the Workplace

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Introduction and Purpose

Gossip, taunts, and ignoring, mocking are all forms of bullying that create an unhealthy team atmosphere. Bullying at work affects employees and reduces their effectiveness, preventing the company from growing and achieving its goals. Sometimes the system within the company itself is conducive to bullying. This happens in teams where there is no corporate culture, but there is tension within the community. A weak object is chosen, on which this tension is dumped, and bullying begins. People in the team do not want to become outcasts, they are afraid of being judged by stronger colleagues, and they succumb to their influence. Therefore, it is important first of all not to fall under the aggressor’s pressure and not to become part of his or her entourage.

Bullying manifests itself in the form of constant unreasoned criticism and invasion of personal space. The aggressor touches the victim without consent, patting, hugging, disposing of personal belongings or things on the desk. Mockery of physical features, appearance, clothing, actions, attributing non-existent opinions and statements is not uncommon. Bullying often occurs in companies led by psychopathic leaders for whom aggression and violence are normal. However, there are other trends that should be considered in the literature review proposal. The latter aims to review the key findings in the five articles related to workplace bullying.

Key Findings from the Literature Review Proposal

Five peer-peer-reviewed articles on workplace bullying formed the basis for the literature review proposal. Chan and his colleagues concluded that the health of victims of bullying deteriorates over time compared to those who are not bullied (2019). Furthermore, in their cross-sectional study, they found that bullying correlates with job loss and unemployment as a consequence (Chan et al., 2019). Rosander and his colleagues discovered that bullying is something that is interrelated with gender (2020). According to their study, women were more likely to self-identify as victims (Rosander et al., 2020). This suggests that perhaps the patriarchal attitudes that dominate many offices contribute to the oppression of less protected groups. The third study analyzed focused more on identifying the difference between bullying and other forms of harassment (Notelaers et al., 2018). The authors found that it is important to differentiate between these phenomena, as this will help provide qualified assistance to the victims.

The last two research papers focus on such aspects as efficiency and anxiety. Pradhan and Joshi surveyed ten hospital employees and found that bullying decreases employees’ success (2019). They believe that providing a healthy work environment can help to improve this indicator (Pradhan & Joshi, 2019). Wu and his colleagues analyzed twenty employee-supervisor pairs and concluded that bullying-induced anxiety impairs employee performance (2020). In turn, the presence of an anxious trait determines the strategy of reaction to harassment (Wu et al., 2020). Overall, a literature review suggests that bullying has a devastating effect on workers’ careers and should be prevented.

Article One Findings

The first article to begin this analysis is the study “Workplace bullying and psychological distress of employees across socioeconomic strata: A cross-sectional study.” Chan, Wong, Yeap, Wee, Jamil, and Swarna Nantha are the scholars who contributed to this paper. The article was published three years ago in the journal BMC Public Health. The authors conclude that there is a correlation between workplace bullying and poorer health outcomes for those who are victims of it (Chan et al., 2019). In addition, abuse in the team generates stress and, subsequently, dismissal and unemployment. A comprehensive observational study of Malaysian workers was conducted by scientists (Chan et al., 2019). It was important for Chan and his colleagues to determine the prevalence of bullying and its impact on the emotional state of the victims.

In this study, cross-sectional, self-report surveys were used to determine the frequency of bullying and employee perceptions of it. Among the 5,235 respondents, the majority were women – 62.3% of the total number of participants (Chan et al., 2019). Their age ranged from 18 to 35 years old; that is, they were mostly young people (Chan et al., 2019). Nearly half of the employees reported being a victim of workplace bullying. Furthermore, a correlation was found between being female and receiving a higher salary and the likelihood of being exposed to abuse (Chan et al., 2019). The results of the study reviewed indicate that there is a relationship between socioeconomic position and psychological distress regarding workplace harassment.

Article Two Findings

The second paper selected for study and review was “Gender matters: Workplace bullying, gender, and mental health.” The study was elaborated by the scholars Rosander, Salin, Viita, and Blomberg. It was originally issued and published in the Frontiers in Psychology in 2020. The researchers aimed to examine the role of gender in the process of workplace bullying (Rosander et al., 2020). As in the previous article, the frequency of harassment and its health consequences were also identified in this study. It was also planned to establish whether the method of measurement – self-labeling or the method of behavioral experience – affects potential gender differences.

The authors conducted a longitudinal study with two measurement points 18 months apart. Participants were residents of Sweden; a probability sample was drawn for the purposes of the study. The main criterion for sampling was employees working in teams with ten or more employees. It turned out that females were more likely to identify themselves as victims of bullying. However, the difference was not significant – 8% of women and 6% of men (Rosander et al., 2020). If participants had mental health problems at baseline, this increased the likelihood of bullying. It is worth noting that this trend occurred among both men and women (Rosander et al., 2020). There were also gender discrepancies when comparing self-marking and behavioral experience results (Rosander et al., 2020). This study demonstrates the importance of gender in the analysis of workplace bullying.

Article Three Findings

Next, the third peer-reviewed article selected for evaluation and discussion was the study “Do interpersonal conflict, aggression and bullying at the workplace overlap? A latent class modeling approach.” The work was developed by the academics Notelaers, Van der Heijden, Guenter, Nielsen, and Einarsen. The research was published in the Frontiers in Psychology in 2018. In their study, the authors looked at how aggression, bullying, and conflict in the workplace differ from one another (Notelaers et al., 2018). The researchers studied this question with a latent class analysis, using cross-industry data from 6,175 Belgian workers.

It was found that those employees who have rarely been subjected to any form of oppression in the team do not distinguish between conflict-aggression and bullying. However, those who have encountered these phenomena more often consider them to be different in nature (Notelaers et al., 2018). Researchers also found that “conflict-aggression and bullying to have distinct relationships with well-being and strain outcomes” (Notelaers et al., 2018, p. 1). The study is useful in that it confirms the judgment that a unifying approach cannot be used between different types of oppression in the workplace. In addition, the difference between conflict-aggression and bullying, as proven by the authors, will help practitioners provide more accurate assistance to victims. It is also to be expected that policymakers in the program will develop solutions to workplace problems that take into account the researchers’ findings.

Article Four Findings

The second paper that was selected for analysis and review was the study “Impact of workplace bullying on employee performance.” The research’s authors were scholars from Nepal, Ajay Pradhan and Jalsha Joshi. The article was published in 2019 in the International Research Journal of Management Science. The authors investigated what workplace bullying practices exist in Nepal (Pradhan & Joshi, 2019). They also examined the relationship between workers’ performance and their susceptibility to harassment (Pradhan & Joshi, 2019). A descriptive and causal comparative research design was used to identify trends in workplace bullying.

The researchers used data from eighty hospital workers from Kathmandu and Lalitpur. A structured questionnaire was used to collect responses and assess the presence or absence of bullying. The authors found that workplace bullying has a significant positive relationship with employee performance (Pradhan & Joshi, 2019). According to the researchers, the work environment is the most persuasive factor affecting employee performance (Pradhan & Joshi, 2019). However, a factor such as bullying is the third most important aspect. Ajay Pradhan and Jalsha Joshi (2019) believe that treating all employees equally and guaranteeing them the same rights should be the basis for the functioning of any company. Moreover, enforcing laws to prevent harassment of employees can reduce bullying. The importance of the study is that it demonstrates that bullying has an impact not only on the emotional state of employees but also on their effectiveness at work.

Article Five Findings

The fifth article to be analyzed was the study “Workplace bullying, anxiety, and job performance: Choosing between ‘passive resistance’ or ‘swallowing the insult’.” Wu, He, Imran, and Fu are the authors of this article. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology in 2020. The authors of the article believe that anxiety is a factor that seriously affects the effectiveness of workers. They believe there are predominantly two ways to respond to bullying. Workers can either passively resist or “swallow the insult” (Wu et al., 2020, p. 2). The researchers’ goal was to determine under what circumstances people choose between these options (Wu et al., 2020). In addition, the article summarizes the mechanisms of state anxiety and trait anxiety.

The authors used cognitive balance theory to measure the loss of self-control and strategic choice. In addition, they constructed a moderated mediation model and used it to discover the relationship between workplace bullying and job performance (Wu et al., 2020). The study involved employee-manager pairs from 20 organizations and institutions (Wu et al., 2020). A two-point longitudinal study confirmed that the presence of an anxiety trait among employees determines the choice between two behavioral strategies. The importance of the study in its practical contribution to the study of behavior in organizations. Additionally, the study proves the judgment that bullying can cause employees to feel insecure, which affects job performance.

Discussion and Conclusion

Bullying in the workplace is a devastating phenomenon that can worsen employees’ health and destroy their careers. Moreover, if it is not stopped in time, bullying can negatively affect the organization’s profits (Chan et al., 2019). Analysis of the publications revealed that the harassment and intimidation of a person depend on several factors: the gender of workers, their level of income, and the profession’s characteristics. In addition, the very negative atmosphere in the team encourages the bullying of colleagues (Pradhan & Joshi, 2019). Help in overcoming bullying should be carried out by psychologists based on existing research by scientists (Notelaers et al., 2018). This is the way to achieve the most effective results.

One of the myths about bullying is that bullying is exclusive to loners. In fact, the most vulnerable are those employees whose success is known to others (Chan et al., 2019). Bullies believe that the latter are a threat to their social status in the team. An important circumstance is that introverted and non-conflicted employees are also susceptible to bullying in the workplace (Wu et al., 2020). They prefer to react passively to humiliation and tolerate unfair treatment. This is also common in male patriarchal teams, where bullying is more likely to happen to women (Rosander et al., 2020). Overall, the material in the proposal will be used as the foundation for writing the literature review paper.

Suggestions for Future Research

Future research needs to focus the authors’ attention on ways to overcome bullying. There are already quite a few papers that have highlighted the causes of this phenomenon. However, far fewer studies analyze how to deal with the problem effectively. This is especially important because the impact of bullying is so devastating. It is not only about the company’s revenue, but also about people’s health and happiness. Certainly, it is also important that the authors still focus on earlier research in the process of creating such analyses.


Chan, C. M. H., Wong, J. E., Yeap, L. L. L., Wee, L. H., Jamil, N. A., & Swarna Nantha, Y. (2019). Workplace bullying and psychological distress of employees across socioeconomic strata: A cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 19(4), 1-8. Web.

Notelaers, G., Van der Heijden, B., Guenter, H., Nielsen, M. B., & Einarsen, S. V. (2018). Do interpersonal conflict, aggression and bullying at the workplace overlap? A latent class modeling approach. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1-14. Web.

Pradhan, A., & Joshi, J. (2019). Impact of workplace bullying on employee performance. International Research Journal of Management Science, 4(1), 1-13.

Rosander, M., Salin, D., Viita, L., & Blomberg S. (2020). Gender matters: Workplace bullying, gender, and mental health. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1-13. Web.

Wu, M., He, Q., Imran, M., & Fu, J. (2020). Workplace bullying, anxiety, and job performance: Choosing between “passive resistance” or “swallowing the insult”? Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2953. Web.

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