Which role did you play in school bullying? Which role do you play now?

From, “An Introduction to the psychodynamics of workplace bullying”

“Four different roles have been identified in bullying scenarios: assistants, re-enforcers, outsiders, and defenders (Salmivalli, 1999). Some children eagerly join in the bullying when someone else has started it and then act as assistants to the bully. Others, known as re-enforcers, may not attack the victim but offer feedback to the bully, for example, by coming to see what is going on and thereby providing an audience. They may incite the bully by laughing and  making encouraging gestures. Outsiders tend to stay away and not to take sides with anyone, yet by silently approving they allow the bullying to continue. Defenders comfort the victim and try to make the others stop their bullying behaviour (Salmivalli, 1999). Similar roles have been found within the workplace. Most witnesses to bullying are passive, which conveys messages to bullies, participants, and targets that incivility is acceptable (Van Heugten, 2010)…

‘A bystander is the descriptive name given to a person who does not become actively involved in a situation where someone else requires help’ (Clarkson, 1996, p.6)

The few witnesses of bullying who offer support to the victim tend to do so hesitantly (Van Heugten, 2010). In a study of union members in the UK, it was found that colleagues rarely offered overt support; union officials typically responded by providing indirect support and yet the onus to resolve the bullying tended to be placed on the victims (Mawdsley, 2012).

In attributing roles within workplace bullying scenarios four different groups were identified (Power, Lee, & Brotheridge, 2008). These were pure perpetrators who report to have bullied others but not to have been bullied; pure targets who report to have been bullied by others but not to have bullied others; hybrids who report to have been bullied by others as well as to have bullied others; and observers, who report neither to have been bullied by others nor to have bullied others but may have witnessed negative acts (Power, Lee, & Brotheridge, 2008). The minority of witnesses, who act as allies of the bully, may have been friends of the bully when they first joined the organization, or may have been seduced into friendship via sexual relationships, or financial, or status-related, inducements (Van Heugten 2010).

Although children are aware of bullying going on in their schools and claim that they want to do something about it, their words rarely turn into action (O’Connell, Peplar & Craig, 1999). Peer only intervene to prevent the bullying in around ten per cent of cases ( Atlas & Pepler, 1998; O’Connell, Peplar & Craig, 1999).”

Most shocking of all, “…even if teachers were present they only intervened in approximately one in six incidents of bullying in the playground and one in five in the classroom. This lack  of intervention provided the tacit message to bullies that ‘they can get away with in’ (Craig, Peplar & Atlas, 2000). Likewise in the workplace the most relevant factor in explaining the antecedents of bullying behaviour was the managers’ lack of attention to it (Cangarli, 2010).

#workplaceculture #leadership #workplacebullying #bullying #bullyingawareness #bullyingprevention

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