Organizational Misbehavior: Bullying

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  • Topic: Bullying, Abuse, Workplace bullying
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  • Published : June 5, 2013
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Managing Organizations
Individual Assignment

Organizational Misbehavior (OMB)

Organizational misbehavior (OMB) is a common phenomenon in workplaces. The definition is as follows: “intentional workplace behavior which defies and violates shared organizational norms and expectations, and/or core societal values, mores and standards of proper conduct” (Lecture 6). A form of OMB is workplace bullying. Defining the term is rather difficult, however some researchers managed to do it. A common definition according to Wikipedia: “workplace bullying is the tendency of individuals or groups to use persistent aggressive or unreasonable behavior against a co-worker or subordinate. Workplace bullying can include such tactics as verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse and humiliation.” In an effort to provide a more all-encompassing definition, and catch the attention of employers, Catherine Mattice and Karen Garman define workplace bullying as "systematic aggressive communication, manipulation of work, and acts aimed at humiliating or degrading one or more individual that create an unhealthy and unprofessional power imbalance between bully and target(s), result in psychological consequences for targets and co-workers, and cost enormous monetary damage to an organization’s bottom line." Because it can occur in a variety of contexts and forms, it is also useful to define workplace bullying by the key features that these behaviors possess. Bullying is characterized by (Einarsen, 1999; Keashly & Harvey 2004; Lutgen-Sandvik, 2006): * Repetition (occurs regularly)

* Duration (is enduring)
* Escalation (increasing aggression)
* Power disparity (the target lacks the power to successfully defend himself) * Attributed intent
A crucial element in the study of OMB is the motivation/personality traits underlying the individual’s behavior. Another important factor is the impact of this behavior on his victim(s), the environment and the organization. Next, a systematic approach model will be introduced to cope with this problem. Finally, a stereotypical case will be presented that provides an example. When studying organizational misbehavior some questions arise such as, can this kind of behavior be explained by simply attributing it to human nature or is bullying a result of circumstantial, societal and/or psychological factors? Proof can be found to support both of these assumptions. On one hand, human nature since the beginning of human civilization has been associated with competition among one another. People have always been trying to be better than someone else they know. People with more social power have always monopolized their authority and taken over people’s daily life that has less authority than them. If we look at aggression at workplace from this point of view, the behavior is well justified and it disencumbers individuals from responsibility, but certainly does not solve the issue. As the WBI (the Workplace Bullying Institute) explains: “it assumes that humans can never use their advanced cognitive capacity to overcome more primitive biological impulses. If that were true, men would be mounting females whenever they chose at work, regardless of marital status, laws, morals, or codes of civil behavior. One could argue that hierarchies appear throughout the animal kingdom and are simply replicated naturally in workplaces. That would be wrong. Workplaces are social systems designed by humans with deliberate intent and not natural.” As concluded by WBI, bullying is more likely to be a learnt behavior pattern than human nature. “The research evidence collected so far clearly suggests that personality characteristics/typical reaction patterns learnt from home, in combination with physical strength or weakness in the case of males, are quite important for the development of these problems in individuals. At the same time environmental factors play a major role in determining...
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