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Bullying Bosses – Case Study Answers

Case Study

Bullying Bosses

“It got to where I was twitching, literally, on the way into work,” states Carrie Clark, a 52 year old retired teacher and administrator. After enduring 10 months of repeated insults and mistreatment from her supervisor, she finally quit the job. “I had to take care of my health.”

Although many individuals recall bullies from their elementary school days, some are realizing that bullies can exist in the workplace as well. And these bullies do not just pick on the weakest in the group; rather, any subordinate in their path may fall prey to their torment, according to Dr. Gray Namie, director of the Workplace Bulling and Trauma Institute. Dr. Namie further says workplace bullies are not limited to men—women are at least as likely to be bullies. However, gender discrepancies are found in victims of bulling, as women are more likely to be targets.

What motivates a boss to be bully? Dr. Harvey Hornstein, a retired professor that Teachers College at Columbia University, suggests that supervisors may use bulling as a mean to subdue a subordinate who poses a threat to the supervisor’s status. In addition, supervisors may bully individuals to vent frustrations. Many times, however, the sheer desire to wield power may be the primary reason for bulling.

What is the impact of bulling on employee motivation and behavior? Surprisingly, even though victims of workplace bullies may feel less motivated to go to work every day, it does not appear that they discontinue performing their required job duties. However, it does appear that victims of bullies are less motivated to perform extra-role or citizenship behaviors. Helping others, speaking positively about the organization, and going beyond the call of duty and behavior that are reduced as a result of bulling. According to Dr. Bennett Tepper of the University of Carolina, fear may be the reason that many workers continue to perform their job duties. And not all individuals reduce their citizenship behaviors. Some continue to engage in extra-role behaviors to make themselves look better then their collogues.

What should you do if your boss is bulling you? Don’t necessarily expect help from coworkers. As Emelise Aleandri, an actress and producer from New York who left her job after being bullied, stated, “Some people were afraid to do anything. But others didn’t mind what was happening at all, because they wanted my job.” Moreover, according to Dr. Michelle Duffy of the University of Kentucky, coworkers often blame victims of bulling in order to resolve their guilt. “ They do this by wondering whether maybe the person deserved the treatment, that he or she has been annoying, or lazy, they did something to earn it,” states Dr. Duffy. One example of an employee who observed this phenomenon firsthand is Sherry Hamby, who was frequently verbally abused by her boss and then eventually fired. She stated, “This was a man who insulted me, who insulted my family, who would lay into me while everyone else in the office just sat there and let it happen. The people in my office eventually started blaming me.”

What can a bullied employee do? Dr. Hornstein suggests that employees try to ignore the insult and respond only to the substance of the bully’s gripe. “Stick with substance, not the process, often it won’t escalate,” he states. Of course, that is easier said than done.

Questions

  1. Of the three types of organizational justice, which one does workplace bulling most closely resemble?
  2. What aspects of motivation might workplace bulling reduce? For example, are there likely to be effects on an employee’s self-efficacy? If so, what might those effects be?
  3. If you were a victim of workplace bulling, what steps would you take to try to reduce its occurrence? What strategies would be most effective? What strategies might be ineffective? What would you do if one of your colleagues were a victim of an abusive supervisor?
  4. What factors do you believe contribute to workplace bulling? Are bullies a product of the situation, or do they have flawed personalities? What situations and what personality factors might contribute to the presence of bullies?

Reference: – Seminars in HRM, Module – Motivation, Case Study, Chapter No – 6, Organizational Behavior by Stephen Robbins, Edition 13.

Bullying Bosses - Case Study Answers

Bullying Bosses – Case Study Answers – Case Summary

  • ˜A 52 years old retired teacher and administrator Carrie Clark quits job after facing 10 months of repeated insults and mistreatment from her supervisor.
  • ˜Bullying is not just for the weakest in the group, any subordinate in their path may fall prey to bullying.
  • ˜Dr. Gray Namie (director of the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute) states:
    • Bullying is not only from men, women also do the same.
    • Victims of bullying are also not only men, as women are more likely to be targets.

What motivates a boss to be a bully?

˜Dr. Harvey Hornstein, a retired professor that Teachers College at Columbia University, suggests that supervisors may use bullying for the following reasons:

  • To subdue a subordinate who poses a threat to their status
  • To vent their frustrations
  • To fulfill sheer desire to wield power

 

What is the impact of bullying on employee motivation and behavior?

˜Victims may feel less motivated to go to work BUT they don’t discontinue performing their required job duties

˜Victims are less motivated towards:

  • Performing extra-role or citizenship behaviors
  • Helping others
  • Speaking positively about the organization
  • Going beyond the call of duty

˜According to Dr. Bennett Tepper (University of Carolina):

  • Fear may be the reason that many workers continue to perform their job duties
  • Not all individuals reduce their citizenship behaviors. Some continue to engage in extra-role behaviors to make themselves look better than their colleagues

What should you do if your boss is bullying you?

  • ˜Don’t necessarily expect help from coworkers

Emelise Aleandri, an actress and producer from New York who left her job after being bullied, stated:

“Some people were afraid to do anything. But others didn’t mind what was happening at all, because they wanted my job.”

˜Coworkers often blame victims of bullying in order to resolve their guilt

  • Dr. Michelle Duffy of the University of Kentucky stated:

“ They do this by wondering whether maybe the person deserved the treatment, that he or she has been annoying, or lazy, they did something to earn it”

What can a bullied employee do?

˜Dr. Hornstein suggests:

  • Employees try to ignore the insult and respond only to the substance of the bully’s gripe

“Stick with substance, not the process, often it won’t escalate” and “Of course, that is easier said than done”

 

Questions & Answers:

˜Question # 1:

Of the three types of organizational justice, which one does workplace bulling most closely resemble?

  • ˜Work place bullying most closely resembles interactional justice.
  • Interactional justice is the degree to which an individual is treated with dignity, concern and respect.

Bullying Bosses - Case Study Answers

Question # 2:

˜What aspects of motivation might workplace bullying reduce? For example, are there likely to be effects on an employee’s self-efficacy? If so, what might those effects be?

˜Victims are less motivated towards:

  • Performing extra-role or citizenship behaviors
  • Helping others
  • Speaking positively about the organization
  • Going beyond the call of duty

˜Employee’s self efficacy is affected as :

  • Quantity of work is reduced
  • Quality of work is reduced
  • Interaction with others become limited

 

Question #3:

˜If you were a victim of workplace bullying, what steps would you take to try to reduce its occurrence? What strategies would be most effective? What strategies might be ineffective? What would you do if one of your colleagues were a victim of an abusive supervisor?

˜Effective strategies would be:

  • Stay in organization to be able to get out of that situation
  • Get evidence in the form of document/Image/audio/video
  • Produce witnesses of the incident
  • Get support from your peers (Junior/Senior)
  • Get support from Union representatives (internal/external)
  • Get legal and medical help if required
  • Take your evidence to the most appropriate authority inside the organization. If that authority is involved itself or it is biased or useless then go outside your organization for social and legal aid

˜Ineffective strategies would be:

  • Leaving organization for running away from that situation
  • Trying not to collect evidence or collecting it in a useless or inacceptable form
  • Trying not to have any witnesses
  • Failing to get anyone’s support (inside/outside)
  • Consulting inappropriate authorities for help
  • Hesitating to go outside your organization to get social or legal aid

˜If a colleague is a victim:

  • Advice him to collect proper evidence
  • Help him to get witnesses and include yourself if valid
  • Help him to get enough support including your own
  • Suggest him to consulting inappropriate authorities for help
  • Suggest him to go outside your organization to get social or legal aid

 

Also Study: Bullying in Schools

Question #4: 

What factors do you believe contribute to workplace bullying? Are bullies a product of the situation, or do they have flawed personalities? What situations and what personality factors might contribute to the presence of bullies?

˜There are a variety of reasons why a person may bully another person in the workplace. These reasons may include:

Power

  • A person may use their position of power or their physical dominance over those who are perceived to be weaker. The bullying is often dependent upon the perceived power of the bully over their victim.

Self-Esteem

  • Bullies may put down others to boost their own self-esteem and confidence to help deal with personal feelings of inadequacy.

Difference

  • An individual or group may become targets of workplace bullying because others perceive them as being new or different.

Perceived Threat

  • Some people bully others because the other person is perceived as a threat to them personally, or a threat to their position within the company

Organizational Culture

  • The culture of a workplace is often shown by its values, beliefs and what is considered to be normal behavior. When the culture is positive it encourages individuals to adopt appropriate behaviors that promote respect of others
  • Conversely, employees may find themselves in a negative culture where inappropriate behaviors and attitudes are encouraged or condoned by management and bullying is seen as normal behavior for the majority of people in the workplace.

Bullying Bosses - Case Study Answers

Also Study: Teen Bullying