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What is Bullying?

The origin of bullying comes from a school yard bully that uses verbal threats, physical intimidation, and aggressiveness on a weaker person. More recently, its definition has become broader and has taken on psychological attributes (non physical) of harassment. People still tend to associate bullying more with physical violence, perhaps because of their school yard memories, but are becoming much more aware of its psychological attributes.

The term bully or bullying is also applied in the workplace. It is used to describe a supervisor that is verbally aggressive and threatening towards employees, or will use their position of authority or power to abuse employees.

The term bullying has been expanded to encompass groups. A group can unite to bully an individual, and is similar to the mobbing definition.

The definitions of bullying usually always include threats, intimidation, aggressive behaviour, and verbal abuse, but may not always have all of the same psychological or mental attributes. Although their intention is similar, they don't always have the same definitions or scope. The definition or scope of some words used is also changing, or the same word can have a different definition or scope in different laws or policies. Some words used are not as clear or obvious and can also be deceptive in a way. The definitions below may not apply to you and you should find out what your workplace harassment policy or law is. Below are examples of bullying.

 [+]  Examples of Workplace Bullying

  • Constant threats of dismissal or intimidation.
  • Attempts to destroy or harm the person's self-esteem or confidence.
  • Constant negative remarks or repeated criticism or sarcasm.
  • Consistent overtime, unrealistic work demands, or work overload.
  • Isolating or systematically isolating the person.
  • Spreading false information or rumors.
  • Tasks that are ambiguous, contradictory, or that are deprived of purpose.
  • False insinuations, attacks to the individual's dignity, integrity, or self-image.
  • Attempts to humiliate or public humiliation.
  • Classical Conditioning can also be used (see Psychological Manipulation)
  • Negative conditioning or a constant state of interrogation.
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