Cyberbullying in the Workplace

cyberbullying, cyber bullying

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying techniques use modern communication technology to send derogatory or threatening messages directly to the victim or indirectly to others, to forward personal and confidential communication or images of the victim for others to see, and to publicly post denigrating messages

Cyberbullying has been in the news mostly for children and young adults. There is a website dedicated to cyberbullying kids and adolescents: Stop Cyberbullying. The site cyberbullying research center also mostly publishes about cyberbullying in school.

EDU.UDYM.COM has a blog post in which they state that Cyber-bullying is not only limited to harassing children but adults as well, most of which happens at the workplace. In their post they claim that

A tenth of the people using the Internet in America and England believe cyber-bullying to be a rising problem at their workplace.

Well recent research show that they’re right. In this exploratory study 1 in 10 of all respondents, could be considered to have experienced some form of cyberbullying at least once a week. These respondents experienced negative acts via modern technologies, by e-mail, telephone, or both, on at least a weekly basis. Also in this recent published study 34% of victims of workplace bullying had been subjected to face-to-face bullying.

What do you do if you’re being bullied at work ? Watch Dr. Restabog give good advice on how to handle corporate bullying on this video.

How was this study done?
One hundred three surveys (a modified version of the revised Negative Acts Questionnaire [NAQ-R]) were returned from randomly selected members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU). They were all male employees randomly selected by computer. There was also an online version of the questionnaire.

Why is this important?
Because workplace bullying can have negative consequences for the victims, by standers and it can have a bad effect on the culture of the organization. Victims can have emotional and even physical symptoms, it can affect their social and family live and future career advancements. For those who have to witness the bullying it affects their moral, it reduces commitment to the company, lowers job satisfaction and has negative consequences for teamwork and job relationships.

Generalizabilty of these results is limited since it was done in Queensland Australia, the survey had a very low response rate, only males participated. Those who had experienced cyberbullying may have been more motivated to respond.
Privitera, C., & Campbell, M. (2009). Cyberbullying: The New Face of Workplace Bullying? CyberPsychology & Behavior DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2009.0025