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  • Writer's pictureClara Wajngurt

Quick History of Workplace Bullying

Although the phrase workplace bullying may have been used at an earlier date, we find the earliest documented usage of this phrase in a speech given to the British Trade Union Manufacturing, Science, and Finance conference in 1994. At this conference Andrea Adams, a British journalist coined the phrase workplace bullying by describing it as one of the 'most stressful, destructive, humiliating and financially undermining forces at large (Adams,1994). 

In 2001, Braithwaite and later Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf and Cooper in 2011 called workplace bullying a broad range of 'repeatedly aggressive behaviors like exploitation, power plays, defamation of character, lack of civility, authoritarian management style, favoritism, verbal abuse and belittling, directed at a specific target. 

In 2011, Namie and Namie developed a continuum of negative behaviors ranging from disrespect and incivility like angry outbursts and intimidating comments, to abusive behavior, to its most extreme, threatening physical harm or safety.

Namie and Namie  suggested that the conflict resolution strategy of mediation is not the way to resolve a bully-target situation because the purpose of mediation is to consider the needs and interests of both parties. However, Keashly and Nowell (2011) indicated that the process of mediation in this case, is not to discipline the bully and target, but rather to mediate the situation so one can move forward without sanctions.


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