Weekend Poll Results: Time to Talk About Bullying in the Workplace

With thanks to all who participate, here are the results of this past weekend’s poll, which I’ve now closed. This poll’s focus:

Have you been bullied in the workplace?

The results: Almost three out of every four respondents said they’ve been bullied in the workplace. When I asked readers if they’d ever bullied someone else, 2.5% of respondents acknowledged having done so – and I found it interesting that a full 19% of respondents selected the response, “Not sure; I may have been aggressive but wouldn’t consider it bullying”.

That response may be unsurprising given readers’ responses to my question, “If you’ve been bullied in the workplace, do you think the bully would recognise her/himself as a bully?” Check those results below.

Standing Up to Bullies

42% of respondents reported having stood up to bullies, with varying results.  84% of respondents said they’ve observed others bullying or being bullied in the workplace; read through the stats below to see what they did about it.

Are There Distinctions Between Public and Private Sectors, or Countries?

I thought it would be interesting to ask both those who have and have not been bullied in the workplace to identify the countries in which they work. While half a dozen plus countries made the “not bullied” list, all of those countries also appeared on the longer list of countries in which other respondents reported having been bullied. Have a look, too, at peoples’ experiences in private and public sectors.

The Majority of Employers Are Trying to Foster Cultures That Discourage Bullying

38% of respondents said their employers have a Code of Conduct, and 13% of respondents work for employers with a policy/formal language that foster respectful environments. Another 36% said their employers have both a Code of Conduct and/or policies that foster respectful environments. Despite this, 68% of respondents who said they’d been bullied advised that the outcome was not positive when they reported bullying to management.

What to do? Well, 62% of respondents reported that their employers already have employee associations or networks through which they could advocate for a Code of Conduct, policy and/or fostering a respectful workplace.

Resources

You can also inform yourself. Readers were generous in identifying resources, and you can find that list by clicking here.

Time for Conversation

Exec Office Meeting

If you’d like to do something about workplace bullying, have a look at my report, below, on readers’ responses. Then, turn to the list of resources readers have recommended.

Both can inform conversations in your own workplace. Share these poll results and the list of resources, and see what conversations unfold.

The Stats

Have you been bullied in the workplace?

  • Yes: 71% of respondents
  • No: 24% of respondents
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”.  One wrote, “Maybe” and another indicated that bullying had occurred numerous times.

Have you ever bullied someone else?

  • No: 76% of respondents
  • Not sure; I may have been aggressive but wouldn’t consider it bullying: 19% of respondents
  • Yes: 2.5% of respondents
  • 2.5% of respondents selected “Other”. One commented that s/he is not a jealous person, and prefers to have a great team spirit in the workplace

If you’ve been bullied in the workplace, do you think the bully would recognise her/himself as a bully?

  • No: 73% of respondents
  • Yes: 10% of respondents
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One commented that the bully is the boss.
  • 15% of respondents selected “N/A; I’ve not been bullied in the workplace”

If you’ve been bullied in the workplace, did you stand up to the bully?

  • Yes: 42% of respondents
  • No: 37% of respondents
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments included, ” I quit, because nothing would have changed” and “Years later I reported the situation”.
  • 16% of respondents selected “N/A; I’ve not been bullied in the workplace”

If you’ve been bullied in the workplace and stood up to the bully, did that change the relationship?

  • 31% of respondents selected, “Yes; it made the situation more difficult”
  • 31% of respondents selected “No”
  • 19% of respondents selected “N/A; I’ve not been bullied in the workplace”
  • 11% of respondents selected “Yes; it changed the relationship for the better”
  • 8% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments included, “N/A; I quit”, “Stayed out of each other’s way until her contract wasn’t extended so she left!” and “Since 2008 up to this date the situation has not changed, it’s very depressing”.

If you’ve been bullied in the workplace, have you reported it to management?

  • Yes: 49% of respondents
  • No: 32% of respondents
  • 16% of respondents selected “N/A; I’ve not been bullied in the workplace”
  • 3% of respondents selected “Other”. One respondent stated that s/he’d reported it only to his/her second boss and not to the Board of Directors.

If you’ve been bullied in the workplace and reported it to management, did that have a positive outcome for you?

  • 68% of respondents said no
  • 23% of respondents selected “N/A; I’ve not been bullied in the workplace”
  • 11% of respondents said yes
  • 6% of respondents selected “Other”.  Comments included, “The first time was management. The second they knew she was trouble hence no ren” (extent of comment) and “The situation was discussed but not solved”.

Have you observed others bullying or being bullied in the workplace?

  • 84% of respondents said yes
  • 13% of respondents said no
  • 3% of respondents selected “Other”. One respondent wrote, “Mostly not, for its occurs without a third person’s presence”.

If you’ve observed bullying in the workplace, did you take any action? 

  • 30% of respondents selected “Yes; I reported it to management/a whistleblower line”
  • 25% of respondents selected “Yes; I intervened and/or spoke to the bully”
  • 25% of respondents selected “No”
  • 10% of respondents selected “N/A; I’ve not observed bullying in the workplace”
  • 10% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments included “The person bullied did not want me to do anything”, “Spoke to the person being bullied as they were closer colleague to give advice”, “Sometimes, depends on the situation” and “Depends if it’s a peer or a line manager”.

Does your employer foster a respectful culture that discourages bullying?

  • Yes: 72% of respondents
  • No: 23% of respondents
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments included “In theory, there are rules against bullying” and “Yes, but bullying still occurs”.

Does your employer have a Code of Conduct and/or policies that foster a respectful environment?

  • 38% of respondents selected “Yes; we have a Code of Conduct that addresses this”
  • 36% of respondents selected “Yes; we have both a Code of Conduct and policy to address this”
  • 13% of respondents selected “Yes; we have a policy/policies/formal language that addresses this”
  • 13% of respondents selected “No”

Do you have an employee association/network through which you could advocate for a Code of Conduct, policy and/or fostering a respectful workplace?

  • Yes: 62% of respondents
  • No: 33% of respondents
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”. Comments included “Our works council, but would they act on it??” and “Still bullying occurs”.

I asked that respondents who have been bullied in the workplace select “Other” and type in the name of the country in which this occurred. Here is a list of the countries mentioned.

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • England
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Scotland
  • South Africa
  • UK (with Essex and London specifically mentioned)
  • USA

I also asked respondents who have not been bullied in the workplace to select “Other” and type in the name of the country/countries in which they have worked. One person wrote, “Impossible” but others listed the following countries.

  • Canada
  • England
  • UK
  • South Africa
  • USA

If you have been bullied in the workplace, please advise if this occurred in the public or private sector.

  • 42.5% of respondents: private sector
  • 21.25% of respondents: public sector
  • 21.25% of respondents: both public and private sector
  • 12% of respondents: N/A; I have not been bullied in the workplace
  • 3% of respondents: “voluntary sector”

If you have not been bullied in the workplace, please advise whether you work in the public or private sector.

  • 57% of respondents selected “N/A; I have been bullied in the workplace”
  • 17% of respondents: private sector
  • 13% of respondents selected “I have worked in both the private and public sectors and not been bullied in either”
  • 9% of respondents: public secor
  • 4% of respondents selected “Other”. One respondent wrote, “Impossible!”

2 Comments on “Weekend Poll Results: Time to Talk About Bullying in the Workplace

    • You’re welcome, Jennifer, and I appreciate the suggestion. Here’s to the results and resources serving as impetus for constructive conversations and action.

      Like

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