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Ethical Issues – Bullying in the Workplace

Ethical Issues – Bullying in the Workplace

Part of the ethical responsibilities of organizations is to create a positive workplace environment for all their workers. However, workplace bullying is a common problem that prevents the achievement of this ethical responsibility. Bullying refers to the continuous mistreatment of one or more people in a workplace environment. This can result in either emotional or physical harm (Nielsen & Einarsen, 2012). Bullying does not only affect individual employees but also a company’s overall ethical culture. This essay evaluates the problem of bullying in workplaces as a major ethical issue that needs to be effectively dealt with.

Why Understanding Workplace Bullying is Important

            Comaford (2016), in an article posted in Forbes Magazine, posted the results of a study by a University of Phoenix professor showing that approximately 75% of workers experience some form of workplace bullying. Workplace bullying involves recurrent mistreatment of a person by person(s) in the workplace environment. Bullying conduct can be intimidating, humiliating, or threatening (Hauge, Skogstad & Einarsen, 2010). The fact that a majority of people experience these actions at some point in their working experience makes this a very important ethical issue to deal with. Actions of bullying tend to make employees unhappy and unsatisfied with their jobs. Therefore, it influences their performance capabilities. Aside from being an ethical issue that affects the employees, bullying affects the organization as a whole by reducing the performance of employees. Therefore, organizations need to deal with this issue as a way of maintaining a positive ethical culture and also increasing the satisfaction and performance of employees in the workplace.

Stakeholders in this Ethical Issue

            The following are some of the stakeholders who may be concerned about the issue of bullying in the workplace because they are concerned for the wellbeing of the employees and/or the creation of an ethical business environment.

  • Human Resource Officers: HR officers are responsible for ensuring that employees have a positive workplace environment and access to resources and avenues that promote their satisfaction with their job roles as well as productivity. These officers need to be concerned with bullying as an ethical issue because it is their responsibility to evaluate the workplace and ensure that cases of bullying are prevented and well dealt with when they occur.
  • Union delegates: Workers’ unions work as the intermediaries between employees and their employers. Their concern in the issue of bullying may be advocating for the creation of a positive workplace environment that is free from bullying and discrimination of people.
  • Doctors: Bullying exposes people to many potential health risks. The doctors may be concerned about this ethical issue because they have the responsibility to promote health and well-being. By eradicating bullying, they can contribute to the protection of the health of millions of people.
  • Psychologists: Some of the effects of bullying are psychological. The role of psychologists is to ensure positive mental and emotional health for the workers. Participating in the issue of bullying is a concern for people’s mental health by eradicating avenues that create stress and mental strain.
  • Lawyers: The law is clearly against workplace bullying and discrimination. The possibility of the occurrence of a bullying incident exposes a company to the risk of litigation. Lawyers’ concern in this issue is to ensure that affected employees get compensated and that organizations are protected from the effects of this ethical issue.

Why Organizational Policy is the Right Way to Solve This Issue

As dangerous as workplace bullying is, it is often overlooked by many organizations. It is important that companies demonstrate a commitment to the reduction of this issue through the development of anti-bullying policies. The main consequence of the lack of such policies is the promotion of such behaviours because there are no structures in place to promote accountability. One of the ways in which an anti-bullying policy can be beneficial in solving this ethical problem is that it will provide guidelines on the standard of conduct expected of every employee. A lot of people do not understand workplace bullying or the actions that constitute bullying. Creating an anti-bullying policy will help educate people more on the issue so that they can understand the actions they must avoid.

This policy can also help solve the issue by creating a framework for the victims of bullying to report to the authorities and seek help when required. Businesses can only deal with this problem when they understand when it happens. Therefore, it is important that anti-bullying policies clearly state the procedures that victims or people who have witnessed bullying can report the issue to the authorities. The bullying policy is also important for creating the expected standards of action when a person has been accused or found guilty of an act of bullying. Perpetrators of this action need to be held accountable and this can only be done if the organizations are ready to create rules for holding them accountable. Lastly, creating a bullying policy is an organization’s demonstration of its commitment to deal with the problem. Other employees can follow the same culture of anti-bullying when they see the commitment of their leaders.

How the Issue of Bullying is Related to Larger Problems in the Society

There are various issues in society that contribute to the problem of bullying within the workplace. One of the common problems in the society today is social inequality. Some of the common characteristics that cause social inequality include race, gender, and sexual orientation. In each of these characteristics, there are groups that are generally considered to be superior to the others. For instance, in terms of race Caucasian people have been considered superior. In terms of gender, men have been considered superior at the expense of women. In terms of sexual orientation, heterosexuals tend to be considered superior to others. The inferior groups are usually subjects of discrimination. The discrimination of inferior groups tends to be done through actions that qualify as bullying. Therefore, in a lot of cases, the victim of bullying is usually a member of a minority group (Hauge, Skogstad & Einarsen, 2009). There are many incidents within the media today which reflect the inequality and discrimination that often leads to workplace bullying. For example, a recent care of prejudice against African American customers by a Starbucks manager brought forth the discussion on the discrimination of African Americans in many settings. The incident involved two African Americans who went to a Starbucks shop with the hopes of having a business meeting. While waiting for their other associate, the store’s manager called the police reporting suspicious activity by the two men (Romano, 2018). This was a reflection of the case of a wrongful judgement of people in the United States based on their skin colour. If this kind of bias is reflected in the workplace context, it can easily lead to bullying. If some have the same perception as the Starbucks manager, they could easily place judgment on their fellow employees and repeatedly perform actions that make them unhappy and put them at risk of harm. This would constitute racism that has been caused by inequality. Therefore, this example shows how workplace bullying can be caused by inequality in society.

Conclusion

Bullying is a major ethical problem that affects a majority of employees and organizations. This is a problem that can only be dealt with if businesses show a commitment to eradicating the problem by developing an anti-bullying policy and collaborating with other stakeholders to deal with the problem. This way, they can create an environment that is satisfactory to the employees and enables productivity to take place.

References

Comaford, C. (2016, August 27). 75% of employees are affected by bullying’s what to do about it. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2016/08/27/the-enormous-toll-workplace-bullying-takes-on-your-bottom-line/#646719345595

Hauge, L. J., Skogstad, A., & Einarsen, S. (2009). Individual and situational predictors of workplace bullying: Why do perpetrators engage in the bullying of others? Work & Stress, 23(4), 349-358.

Hauge, L. J., Skogstad, A., & Einarsen, S. (2010). The relative impact of workplace bullying as a social stressor at work. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 51(5), 426-433.

Nielsen, M. B., & Einarsen, S. (2012). Outcomes of exposure to workplace bullying: A meta-analytic review. Work & Stress, 26(4), 309-332.

Romano, B. (2018, May 29). Starbucks closes 8000 stores as employees grapple with bias issues. Seattle Times. Retrieved June 25 from: https://www.seattletimes.com/business/schultz-calls-anti-bias-training-effort-a-historic-step/

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Question 


Ethical Issues - Bullying in the Workplace

Ethical Issues – Bullying in the Workplace

Assignment Instructions

Identify the ethical issue. (Bullying)
Using best practices for academic writing, write an essay that covers all of the following:
o Explain why you chose this particular issue and why you believe it is important.
o Describe other stakeholders for this ethical issue, and what concerns they are likely to have.
o Explain why you believe that an organizational policy is the right way to resolve the issue.
o Describe how this particular issue might be related to larger problems that affect your community, the country, or the world. Is the issue currently in the media spotlight? Are there any recent incidents or reasons why this issue has come to the public’s attention?

Support your choices with cited concepts from reliable professional sources.

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