Workplace bullying makes people quit

People may be inclined to quit their job if bullying is prevalent in their working environment. This is the suggestion of new research published in the Sage journal Human Relations, which found simply being present in a company where such action takes place is enough to make people want to leave.

According to investigators from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, nurses feel a stronger urge to quit their post if bullying occurs in their workplace, even if they are not victims of such actions themselves.

Marjan Houshmand, corresponding author of the report, noted: "This is potentially interesting because we tend to assume that direct, personal experiences should be more influential upon employees than indirect experiences only witnessed or heard about in a second-hand fashion."

According to the researchers, bullying is perceived by workers as being even more unfair when their colleagues are victimised and they are not, adding employees may see resignation as a way of acting in defiance against the behaviour.

Occupational Digest Kisane Prutton, a Chartered Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, commented: "This piece of research from Canada found that nurses who worked in hospitals where workplace bullying occurred were more likely to consider quitting their jobs than those nurse who were actually being bullied.

"It is a stark warning to employers who are tardy in tackling workplace bullying. Not only are employers at risk of incurring financial costs and decreased productivity when the target of bullying goes off sick or raises a formal grievance, but also, as this study suggests, of losing other staff as an indirect consequence.

"These are precisely the sort of issues that Norman Lamb MP, the Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is seeking to address in the UK, following the Government's recent consultation, Resolving Workplace Disputes."