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  • Writer's pictureClara Wajngurt

Workplace Bullies Thrive Because of Bystanders

Updated: Feb 6, 2019

We have heard time and time again that workplace bullies thrive because of the bystanders who watch the bullying take place.

The bystander effect occurs in a situation that shows when a person needs help, many observers simply stand by and don't assist the target.Very often when there are many observers to workplace bullying on the job, people will say either I am too afraid to get involved, or someone else will help-it's not my responsibility.

The first step to overcome the bystander effect is to recognize that a problem exists-the target needs help-and a bully is exacerbating the situation-and once we recognize that a problem exists, then help is needed to alleviate the situation. Secondly, the bystander must be confident that they can make a difference in the situation-do something and help out.

Very often when the target(includes the one who is bullied and the bystanders)complains to their supervisors about a workplace bullying incident, it can backfire, because the supervisor will not call this bullying and will not respect the actual complaint.

If your organization was better informed -  had a workplace bullying prevention policy, and was better informed about workplace bullying - bystanders would not be afraid to speak up for fear they might lose their jobs. In this case they would be more apt to support the one who is bullied.

What do you think?


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