Bullying may occur at the workplace, schools, homes, and/or any other social setting. Research on bullying mainly focuses on its effects on people who have witnessed it. For example, Stop Bullying (2014) confirms that harassment affects people’s creativity levels, reduces morale, may cause accidents, influences moral and ethical judgment capacity, and/or hinders people from realizing their full potential in their areas of talent.
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Forero, McLellan, Rissel, and Bauman (2009) confirm that bullying is expressed in the form of sexual harassment, verbal abuse, physical torture, and psychological torture. It has the implications of making children fail to attend schools. Besides lowering employee productivity, it makes people treat others as objects. Typical examples of world bullies include Hitler and Stalin. The effects of bullying on the society are not well studied. For this reason, this paper objects to conduct a mixed research study on the implications of bullying.
Cases of maltreatment are rampant in administrative centers and even learning institutions that accommodate people from diverse backgrounds. To overcome the challenges of harassment, it is important to establish how the society sees the problem so that possible solutions can be developed to address specific issues that are associated with it.
Without this plan, any solution to overcome bullying lacks validity and reliability. Students in schools and workers in their workplaces need a good environment to not only converse, but also to participate in teamwork for them to lead productive lives. Bullying leaders may hinder this expectation, thus making it necessary to have tangible known effects of bullying in societal settings to facilitate the development of appropriate policies to manage it.
The purpose of any research is to specify the primary thing that it aims to achieve. The proposed research will identify the effects of bullying in schools, homes, and workplaces. This information will help in the formulation of policies to manage it within these social settings.
The primary objective of the proposed research encompasses studying the effects of bullying in schools, homes, and in workplaces. The paper conducts primary and an intensive secondary research on the same issue. Secondary research is critical in the development of a background to the research, which helps in determining the validity of the problem and suggested research methodologies.
This section is critical in ensuring that the primary research will not settle on research methodologies of research and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data that may not yield any tangible findings to guide the development of policies for mitigating the bullying problem in the society.
The research will focus on two research questions:
- What does the US society consider the impacts of bullying in schools, homes, and workplaces?
- Do the societies have potential solutions to the problems?
The scope of the proposed research will be on the US societies. The focus will be narrowed to workplaces, schools, and homes. Since it is impossible to collect data from all states in the US due to time and monetary limitations, the focus will only be in the state of California. As noted in the limitations section, this limited scope introduces challenges of generalization of results.
Significance of the Study
The proposed study will be significant in addressing the problems of bullying in the society. It will lay a fundamental background on the process of developing policies for managing it. Government and organizations develop policies that are necessary for achieving certain strategic goals and objectives. Efforts to solve particular problems that attract public concerns create the necessity to formulate and implement public policies.
Public policy constitutes an action that a government deems appropriate and/or inappropriate for the people it serves. It encompasses a set of aims coupled with specified group of activities, which when properly executed resolve a particular public problem. In the context of the proposed research, bullying is a public problem since it has negative implications on the society as stated in the background section.
The study will be conducted within state of California. Consequently, the findings are only applicable within the geographical region. However, since the goal of the study is to establish the effects of bullying in the US, an assumption is made that the research findings will correlate with other states and counties across the US.
This claim implies that research will assume that the findings will be generalizable so that they have both internal and external validity. The method that is utilized in a qualitative research needs to aid researchers to attain optimal levels of validity of their research for their work to add a significant knowledge to the body of knowledge they seek to amplify. The research will assume that its variables are a valid mechanism of measuring the problem of bullying in the state of California.
Limitations and Delimitations
Based on the assumptions of the study, it has the limitation of generalization of the results. This gap may introduce problems of validity and reliability. However, an effort is made to first establish a theoretical background that is informed by a wide range of scholarly researches in different geographical regions so that if the findings that are established within California correlate with other findings, the results become possible to generalize.
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The theoretical background draws from secondary researches. Since these researches were conducted in the past, the applicability of the findings in the present geographical region of study presents some limitations. However, the primary research that is done using qualitative and quantitative data helps to resolve this problem.
Definition of Key Concepts
Reliability – Refers to the degree to which research variables and findings respond to the problem under research.
Bullying – This element encompasses any unwanted dominance or aggressive behaviors that are exercised over an individual at home, school, workplace, or any other social setting due to power imbalances. Powerful individuals normally direct it to the less powerful people.
Validity – The term refers to the “best approximation to the truth or falsity of proportions” (Rolfe, 2006, p.307).
Internal validity – The term refers to the degree of truth of various claims that are raised in the research and the existing variables.
External validity – Refers to the “extent to which one can generalize findings” (Cohen & Crabtree, 2008, p.333).
Various institutions bring together people from different backgrounds. For instance, schools bring together people from different socio-economic backgrounds and culture. Such people also have different physical, mental, and cognitive abilities.
Similar to schools, workplaces also have people who have different capabilities. In homes, different members of either nuclear or extended families have different powers of control. Irrespective of the institution, people may use their power inappropriately to bully those who have less power over their control or influence.
How Bullying affects the Society
Bullying denies people their rights of equity and equality in terms of participation in societal processes. Equality refers to a state of an affair in which people in a society or even isolated groups of people possess a similar status with reference to some certain respects. Social equality means possessing equal rights as stipulated by the law on property rights, freedom of speech, equal access to public social goods and public services, assembly rights, and voting rights.
Equality also means wellbeing impartiality, public safety fairness, and financial justice (Thorvaldur & Zoega, 2011). When organizations, schools, or homes have bullies, less powerful people develop a perception that they are less capable relative to people who control their life. Consequently, the bullied individuals loose equity and equality rights.
Bullying hinders the embracement of gains of diversity in organizations, especially when it exists along ethnic, racial, or gender demographic attributes. Diversity refers to the differences that are witnessed among people within an organization such as different religious and moral believes. It also includes professional and ability differences akin to people’s diverse gender, ethnic origin, racial background, sexuality, and age among other characteristics.
People have the right of access to quality public goods. Living in a bully-free social setting means the prevention of infringement of people’s freedoms (Hudson, 2009). Rights apply without discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. When one person dominates another person or influences his or her decision-making process akin to the perception of superiority, bullying is experienced.
Although they may seem like simple acts, some types of discrimination may amount to psychological torture or bullying. Discriminatory practices are those that segregate the quality of public goods such as healthcare and education, depending on characteristics such as ethnicity, race, sexuality, disability, gender, age, and nationality among others. The private sector may also explore discriminatory practices.
For example, a fast food organization explores discriminatory practices if it offers different eating areas for people from different racial backgrounds. It can also demonstrate segregation if it chooses to offer different foods and services qualities to such people. As such, some individuals determine where to seat, what to eat, how fast to eat, and the nature of the delivered service.
This observation amounts to bullying. Stop Bullying (2014) recommends social institutions to explore policies that enhance equality, diversity, and rights of all people, despite their demographic and psychographic differences. This situation constitutes an amicable strategy for overcoming bullying in the society.
Importance of Stopping Bullying
Every society needs to stop bullying since it has negative effects. It creates a sense of inferiority, which may hinder innovation and creativity in an organizational setting. Innovation means the introduction of a new business element that can be implemented to improve sales volume. In the business settings, innovation takes place in the form of introduction of new products, services, or technologies.
In the manufacturing context, innovation involves the introduction of new manufacturing processes and practices, new technologies, and new materials among other things, which help to lower the costs of production or increase the pace of production and quality of the manufactured products.
The process of innovation requires the participation of people in developing new ideas or new ways of doing things. Bullying makes it impossible for junior or less powerful people to present their ideas to the organizational management due to their perception of inferiority complex. In such a situation, an organization loses an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage due to power imbalances among its employees.
As revealed before, bullying needs to stop as it erodes people’s equity and equality rights. It also has physical, mental, and cognitive negative impacts on people who experience it. Polanin, Espelage, and Pigott (2012) assert, “Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes, including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide” (p.91).
It influences all people, including those who witness it and/or those who experience it. In school settings, bully pupils and students increase their exposure to risk of abuse of alcohol during their adolescent stage, smoking, and engagement in other defiant behaviors. They also vandalize property, engage in fights, and/or have a high probability of dropping out of school (Polanin et al., 2012). They are more likely to face convictions, abuse their partners, children, and even other adults at their adulthood.
Children who witness bullying have a high likelihood of abusing drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. They risk suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental problems (Polanin et al., 2012). In fear of bullying, they also have high absenteeism rates. In workplaces, bullied workers have high turnover rates, low productivity, and less motivation.
They fear defending their own rights before their bullies. At home, bullied individual have poor participation in communication, live in fear, and anxiety. In some situations, they suffer from depression. To overcome all these problems, it is necessary to stop bullying in all social settings.
Types of Bullying, their Consequences, and Prevalence Levels in the US
Bullying may take several forms. Workplace bullying occurs within organizations and other places of work. Workplace bullying mainly influences new employees. It manifests itself in the form of blackmailing, humiliation, rejection by work peers, threats, and intimidations. This type of bullying causes low employee productivity.
Although there lacks accurate statistics on its prevalence in the US, stop Bullying (2014) approximates that workplace bullying lowers the productivity of an individual by up to 60%. Home-based bullying has the consequences of inducing fear for one’s partner or spouse and children. Children who experience this type of bullying have low concentration levels in schools. Besides, they experience low levels of cognitive development.
School-based bullying is perhaps the most common form of bullying in the US. A study by Nansel et al. (2011) reveals that between 15% and 20% of students reported being bullied over a period of one term. This prevalence level is lower compared to other places of the world. For example, Nansel et al. (2011) confirm that some countries record up to 70% students who claim to have experienced bullying. In schools across the globe, many cases of frequent bullying have been reported while other cases have occurred at least once in a week.
For example, research on a Malta sample indicated a 19% prevalence level while a sample on Irish school bullying reported a 1.9% prevalence level (Forero et al., 2009). The types of bulling may take the form of physical aggression, verbal abuse, name-calling, threats, and even rejections. It is important to note that most researches on bullying have been done in Australia and Europe (Nansel et al., 2011).
This finding creates a room for conducting similar researches in the US. Any place that creates a room for bullying needs to be investigated to determine the elements that attract such bullying cases. Therefore, this research will offer a working platform of determining such places in an attempt to come up with the best methods or strategies of fighting such evils.
Various scholars prescribe certain characteristics that a qualitative research must meet for results and recommendations to arrive at an effective resolution of the stated problem. For this reason, the methodology that is deployed in the research needs to have some specific characteristics. They include “credibility, reliability, use of rigorous methods and verification, validity and clarity, and coherence in reporting among others” (Cohen & Crabtree, 2008, p. 331).
A research can be designed as one of the four main approaches, viz. qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods (pragmatic approach), and emancipator approach (participatory or advocacy approach). In this research, pragmatic approach is utilized. Freshwater, Sherwood, and Drury (2006) posit, “Pragmatic researchers grant themselves the freedom to use any of the methods, techniques, and procedures that are typically associated with quantitative or qualitative research” (p.295).
The freedom of choice of method depends on the researchers’ perception and evaluation of methods that best suit the particular kind of research they are conducting. The best choice is the one that utilizes methodologies that complement one another. This aspect forms the basic logic for designing this research to use pragmatic approach that deploys aspects of both quantitative and qualitative research.
For the methodology of any qualitative research to be effective, it deserves to demonstrate various features or criteria for excellence as established by the preceding assessment criteria. However, such research designs have problems of validity.
Qualitative research lacks validity “because of the necessity to incorporate rigor and subjectivity as well as creativity into scientific process” (Whittermore, Chase & Mandle, 2001, p.522). Rigor is crucial for a systematic qualitative research (Finlay, 2006). The data that is adopted only needs to make use of particular criteria to establish relationships or differences. The proposed research establishes the prevalence of bullying in California. Besides, it determines the perception of its effects on the society.
The research will use questionnaire as the primary data collection tool. The independent variable is the perception and recognition of the existence of bullying in workplaces, schools, and homes within California.
The dependent variable is its effects and problems on the society (schools, homes and workplaces). Some questions that require qualitative information will also be used to help in the provision of data on specific perceptions about the effect of bullying in the society. Ten questions will be used to capture the aspects people’s experiences with bullying in schools, home, and workplaces as shown appendix 1.
Nine hundred copies of questionnaires will be distributed without selecting certain demographic characteristics of people who receive the questionnaires. Respondents will have to indicate these characteristics in the questionnaires. It will be expected that all the 900 people will answer all questions in the questionnaires promptly. Hence, no questionnaire is anticipated to be rejected.
Data will be analyzed through computations of percentages of responses for each question in the questionnaire. These results will then be used to conduct an analysis of people’s perception and recognition of the impacts of bullying in workplaces, homes, and in schools.
Cohen, D., & Crabtree, B. (2008). Evaluative Criteria for Qualitative Research in Health Care: Controversies and Recommendations. Criteria for Qualitative Research, 6(4), 331-339.
Finlay, L. (2006). Rigor, Ethical Integrity or Artistry” Reflexively Reviewing Criteria For Evaluating Qualitative Research. British Journal of occupational Therapy, 69(7), 319-326.
Forero, R., McLellan, L., Rissel, C., & Bauman, A. (2009). Bullying behavior and psychosocial health among school students in New South Wales, Australia: cross sectional survey. BMJ, 319 (7), 344–348.
Freshwater, D., Sherwood, G., & Drury, V. (2006). International research collaboration: Issues, benefits and challenges of the global network. Journal of Research in marketing, 11(4), 295-303.
Hudson, D. (2009).The Right to Privacy. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing.
Nansel, T., Overpeck, M., Pila, R., Ruan, R., Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2011). Bullying behaviors’ among US youth: prevalence and association with psychological adjustment. JAMA, 285(16), 2094-2100.
Polanin, J., Espelage, L., & Pigott, T. (2012). A meta-analysis of school-based bullying prevention programs’ effects on bystander intervention behavior and empathy attitude. School Psychology Review, 41(1), 89-97.
Rolfe, G. (2006). Validity, trustworthiness and rigor: quality and the idea of qualitative research. Journal of Advanced Marketing Research, 53(3), 304-310.
Stop Bullying. (2014). Facts about Bullying. Web.
Thorvaldur, G., & Zoega, G. (2011). Educational Social Equity and Economic Growth: A View of the Landscape. CESifo Economic Studies, 49(4), 557–579.
Whittermore, R., Chase, S., & Mandle, C. (2001). Validity in Qualitative Research. Qualitative health research, 11(4), 522-537.
- Please specify your gender (male or female)
- Place specify your age
- above 41
- What is your current working status
- Working in an organization
- Have you ever experienced bullying
- If your answer to question 4 is yes, at what institution did you experience it?
- If your answer to question 4 is yes, specify the type of bullying
- Physical assault
- Abuse language
- Denial of work privileges
- Any other, specify
- If your answer to question 4 is yes, how did you cope with it?
- Sought for psychological help
- Others (Specify)
- If your answer to question 4 is NO, what prevented you from seeking help? Specify
- Why do you thing bullying is inappropriate?
- What do you think the state of California should do to address the kind of bullying you have experienced?