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This paper provides a brief report that summarizes the critical elements of the article “The race without a finishing line: legislative means for confronting bullying in the Australian workplace” written by Hanley and O’Rourke (2016).
According to the authors of the article, workplace bullying can be characterized as internal violence (Hanley & O’Rourke 2016). The hostile behaviour aimed at intimidation or emotional damage of an individual or a group is called workplace bullying (Hanley & O’Rourke 2016). It is important to distinguish between different kinds of aggressive behaviour. If an aggressive act occurs repeatedly over a period of time such negative conduct can be treated as a case of workplace bullying, rather than a separate incident (Hanley & O’Rourke 2016). It is difficult to come across similar definitions of bullying because of its “multicausal nature” (Hanley & O’Rourke 2016). The understanding of the term ‘bullying’ differs among various countries. The lower-level violence can be referred to as bullying in the European Union and Australia. The terms such as harassment, emotional abuse or mistreatment are more common in the United States (Hanley & O’Rourke 2016).
Explanation of the Problem
According to the authors of the article, bullying is a widespread phenomenon and is a common attribute of many organizations (Hanley & O’Rourke 2016). The negative financial impact of the workplace harassment is hard to underestimate. It causes absenteeism, higher rates of staff turnover, lower productivity and legal claims that result in the substantial capital loss (Hanley & O’Rourke 2016). The annual financial damage of bullying to Australian industry was estimated at the range from A$6 billion to A$36 billion (Hanley & O’Rourke 2016).
It is hard to distinguish a single reason behind bullying. According to the most studies, there is no specific motivation for bullying; rather, it is a multi-faceted phenomenon (Hanley & O’Rourke 2016). McAvoy and Mutagh see the current trend of tough management styles as a root cause of the creation of a culture that might be conducive to bullying (cited in Hanley & O’Rourke 2016). The most common cases of bullying are hierarchical in their nature.
Establishing organisational codes of conduct might help in addressing the issue of bullying. However, even with the full commitment to proper HRM practices, it is difficult to implement some policies (Hanley & O’Rourke 2016). As the authors of the article point out, creating an effective incentive structure for the constructive workplace behaviour might help to significantly reduce the incidence of harassment (Hanley & O’Rourke 2016). The proper employee behaviour must be rewarded and bad one has to be punished. Anti-bullying legislation that works towards implementing policies and mechanisms that would harness the problem of bullying can serve as a litmus test of the country that has intention to overcome workplace bullying (Hanley & O’Rourke 2016). The authors of the study suggest that without comprehensive legislature that would ensure a universal employee protection it is extremely difficult to address the problem of workplace bullying.
Hanley, G & O’Rourke, A 2016,‘The race without a finishing line: legislative means for confronting bullying in the Australian workplace’, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, vol. 54 no.3, pp. 352-368.