Employer’s responsibility for bullying

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Bullying exists within the majority of organisations. To what extent is this the employer’s responsibility? Abstract. This paper is concerned with the concept of bullying in the workplace and examines two critical issues. Firstly the extent to which bullying and the management of it is the responsibility of the employer.

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Secondly, it examines the differences between how a for profit and how a not for profit organisation approach the problems of bullying to ascertain to what degree they believe it is their responsibility. The paper finds that whilst there are differences in the ways both types of organisations operate, they show a similar lack of awareness as to the extent, nature and causes of bullying. The paper concludes with recommendations as to what actions they should take to recognise their responsibilities in this area. Contents page. Introduction4 Literature Review5 Methodology14 Results 16 Discussion21 Conclusions24 References and bibliography26 Appendices Appendix 1 – questionnaire results from personnel representatives31 Appendix 2 – questionnaire results from personnel representatives38 Appendix 3 – results of exit interviews, grievances and legal action42 Appendix 4 – notes from employees working group43 Introduction. A Health and Executive survey suggests the number of violent incidents related to bullying by workers on co-workers in England and Wales in 2002/2003 was 849,000 (British Crime Survey 2005). The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 20% of UK employees have experienced some form of bullying over the last two years (CIPD 2006). A Trades Union Congress report in 2006 found that 18 million working days are lost to British industry every year through the effects of bullying (TUC 2006). These statistics show that the issue of bullying is having a serious effect on British industry. The question arises as to who, in the workplace, should be held responsible for the occurrence of the problem and who should be expected to deal with it. “Not for profit” or “non profit” organisations are a growing sector of the British business picture. They vary from the traditional form of business in that there is generally no end product or service. Drucker (1990) defines their purpose as bringing about change in people. For many years, the not for profit sector paid little attention to the concepts of management seeing it as being a device of a ’business’ and therefore of no relevance to themselves (Drucker 1990). Recently, this opinion has changed and the not for profit sector has realised that they must adopt many of the practices which businesses have been using for years including the ways in which they manage people. This paper examines the issues of workplace bullying by comparing the views, approaches and actions of a profit orientated business – the DIY store, B&Q – and a not for profit organisation – Cancer Research UK.

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