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Dealing with conflict

Unless changes are implemented to reduce workplace bullying, American workplaces may someday need a warning label:  Working may be hazardous to your health.  In fact, workplace bullying has been labeled a silent epidemic and a cancer in organizations.  Moreover, it appears to be contagious.   

A 2007 study commissioned by found that almost fifty percent of all Americans have either been a target of a workplace bully, or they have witnessed workplace bullying, and it is costing organizations billions of dollars a year as a result of high turnover and absenteeism, low motivation and productivity, and increased health care costs related to stress related illnesses.    

Leading workplace bullying scholar, Stale Einarsen, defines bullying as psychological abuse that is persistently and continuously repeated over time.  It is done with malicious intent and the target perceives that it has a negative impact.  Behaviors associated with workplace bullying include public humiliation, verbal threats, withholding vital information, assigning impossible tasks, and threatening job loss.  

Companies can reduce the negative effects of workplace bulling by providing awareness and skills-based training, developing zero tolerance policies, and revising organizational cultures that reward bullying behaviors.