201 Carter Drive, Suite 100
West Chester, PA 19383
Just before the Holiday break, the Office of Human Resources informed the campus community of a new "anti-bullying" resources section on our home page. Since then, I've received a number of calls from employees asking me "What's it all about? Do we have a problem here?" My reply was, "well, we and about every other employer in the country have a problem - in varying degrees." Our hope is that bringing attention to it here at West Chester and providing some effective resources for employees will have a meaningful impact on its prevalence here.
While statistics vary on incidence, a recent national poll concluded that about 37% of our national workforce has been on the wrong side of a workplace bully at one time or another. That's roughly about 54 million people. Anyone who has ever been a target of a bully or witnessed bullying knows just how devastating the experience can be. Work is difficult enough these days without having to deal with the personal and organizational consequences of a serious bullying problem. In reality, we spend almost as much of our time awake at work as we do at home.
When we think of a bully, we generally think of a supervisor riding an employee or employees in a visibly harsh, persistent and publicly embarrassing manner. But in actuality, bullies come in all shapes and sizes and genders, and they can work at any level in an organization. Peer bullying is frankly a bigger problem than "boss" bullying, according to a number of studies. Bullying can be subtle to the casual observer, and bullying can be tacitly tolerated for years by an organization because the bully is highly productive. I can tell you from my experience, as well as my labor relations and organizational development staff's experience in the past couple of years, more and more of our time is being devoted to managing interpersonal conflicts and controversies which have a genuine dimension of employee aggression, passively or overtly. There are many reasons why bullying is on the rise, so there is no simple solution. But the primary preventive tool we each possess is the ability and means to treat each other with consideration, dignity and a reasonable measure of patience.
Michael T. Maloy
Associate Vice President of Human Resources