date: 14 February 2000
embargo: 11.00 hrs Monday 14 February 2000
Attention: news, industrial and forward planning editors
Nearly half Britain's employees `have witnessed workplace bullying'
Almost half of Britain's employees (47%) have witnessed bullying at work and one in ten report being bullied in the last six months, a new study reveals today (Monday).
The survey, conducted by the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) and supported by the TUC and the CBI, suggests the phenomenon contributes to the loss of 18 million working days every year.
5,300 employees from the public, private and voluntary sectors completed the survey, funded by the British Occupational Health Research Foundation, making it the biggest British study of the prevalence and effects of workplace bullying.
The key findings show:
· Almost half (47%) the respondents reported witnessing bullying in the last five years. One in ten (10.5%) said they had been bullied in the last six months and one in four (24.4%) said they had been bullied within the last five years.
· An estimated 18 million working days are lost every year because of bullying. Victims of workplace bullying take an average seven extra days off each year than those who are not bullied.
· Bullying affects employees at all levels from workers with no management responsibility (10%) to middle (11%) and senior managers (9%). However, most perpetrators are managers. In three out of four cases (75%) respondents reported being bullied by managers. Just over one third (37%) reported being bullied by colleagues.
· Over two-thirds of those who were bullied (68%) said they were not the only victims at work.
· Bullying is most common in the prison service (16%), post and telecommunications (16%), teaching (15.5%) and performing arts (14%).
· Bullying is linked to negative management styles. Victims of bullying were more likely to experience autocratic and divisive styles of management than those who hadn't experienced bullying at work.
· Bullying negatively effects morale and productivity. Those who reported being bullied within the last six months consistently report the poorest health, the lowest work motivation and satisfaction, the highest absenteeism figures as well as the lowest productivity, compared to those who were not bullied. Those who witnessed bullying at work were also more likely to report poor health and low morale than those who worked in bullying-free environments.
Professor Cary Cooper and Helge Hoel, the study's authors, want employers to:
· develop procedures for dealing with complaints
· train managers so they are aware of the negative effects of bullying
· undertake regular risk assessments or stress audits to identify bullying at work
Professor Cary Cooper said: "The findings in this study show that with better management training and awareness, bullying is avoidable. Workplace bullying not only damages the individual but everybody who experiences it."
TUC General Secretary, John Monks said: "These shocking new figures show bullying is rife at work - and that no workplace is immune. The study suggests that bullying is often down to bad management style. That's why it is crucial that unions and employers work together to tackle what is becoming one of Britain's most worrying workplace phenomenona."
Michael Ladenburg, Chief Executive of the British Occupational Health Research Foundation said: "An important part of the study's value lies in the new insights it gives into the many different types of bullying and the cultural changes companies need to bring about if the optimum balance is to be achieved between efficiency and damaging - and potentially costly - pressure in the workplace."
The findings are based on a national sample of 5,300 respondents from 70 organisations.
Experience of bullying was measured by presenting the respondents with a definition emphasising the negative, long term and persistent nature of bullying.
The study was advised on by representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors. Study Advisory Board members include: The Health and Safety Executive, TUC, CBI, The Federation of Small Business, The Institute of Personnel and Development, The Institute of Management, The Employers' Organisation (local government), Co-op, Nat West, Littlewoods, Rover Group, Shell UK, The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, The Andrea Adams Trust, Manufacturing, Science and Finance Union, and the Police Federation.
Notes to Editors:
Case studies are available
All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
A series of TUC rights leaflets, including one on how to tackle bullying at work, are available on the know your rights line 0870 600 4 882. Lines are open every day from 8am-10pm. Calls are charged at the national rate.
Media enquiries: Stephanie Power 020 7467 1310 or Liz Chinchen on 020 7467 1248 or 076 99 744115 (pager)
Press release (800 words) issued 14 Feb 2000
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/mediacentre/tuc-401-f0.cfm
printed 20 June 2013 at 11:23 hrs by 22.214.171.124