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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bullying At Work

By Kirsty Ross

Most Australians are bullied while at work and have told a survey their workplaces remind them of high school. But while despising the act, a large majority actually think bullying is one of the secrets to a successful career. More than 80 per cent of harassment victims said overbearing bosses or managers were the biggest offenders.

Half blamed a co-worker, and only 10 per cent pointed the finger at a subordinate. These are the startling findings of a careerone.com.au survey of about 1500 nationwide. It revealed three quarters of Australians had been bullied in the workplace. Of the 72 per cent of respondents who said they felt like teenagers at high school, more than half said there was a "cool group" and a "boys' club".

Bullies pick on women more often than men, at 79 per cent, versus 69 per cent. Like children afraid to enter the playground, 71 per cent of those bullied said they dreaded going to work. About the same amount said it negatively affected their work output and motivation, and less than half felt physically sick from the ordeal. Yet surprisingly less than 1 per cent said they took action or confronted the bully.

Rather, one in 20 had quit a job to avoid torment. CareerOne editor Kate Southam said the avoidance tactic indicated a great number of people were getting away with bullying co-workers. "Workplaces are not playgrounds - bullies often et rewarded by management w are in favour of aggression and people who dominate, rather than skill and talent," Southam said.

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