How do people feel about bullying?

Statistics, causes and signs

Bullying (page 3/6)

Depending on the study, the number of employees affected varies between 2.7% and 2.9%. With the data collection of the bullying report from 2002, representative statistics for Germany were available for the first time: From the end of 2000 to the beginning of 2001 around 4,400 people were interviewed, of which around 1,300 people were included in an in-depth study. At the time of the survey, 2.7% were bullied, 11.3% said they had been bullied at some point in their life. Every ninth person of working age is bullied at least once in the course of their employment. The bullying rate of 2.7% corresponds to an absolute number of around one million people (with a total number of employees of around 38 million according to Destatis 2004).

The risk of bullying women is 75% higher than that of men. One possible reason for this is, among other things, the willingness of women to speak more about their bullying experiences.

According to a study, bullying primarily takes place within the sexes. But there are also other patterns because of the higher proportion of male managers.

Those under 25 years of age have the highest risk of bullying. In the age group of 55-year-olds and older employees, there was an increased risk of bullying.

How does bullying arise and what are the causes?

In the bullying literature, three cause areas are distinguished. First of all, men who are bullied are more likely to be men who are in a managerial position to the person being bullied. Motives can be in the strategic area or on a personal level.

Second, it is difficult to characterize those affected by bullying. There are conflicting viewpoints about the characteristics of those affected by bullying in various studies.

  • In Wietzig et al. 2004, Zapf 1999 listed high self-esteem, airs of superiority and low resources for relaxation or distancing.
  • Kobelt et al. 2010 point to a lack of compromise, a lack of willingness to talk, rigid patterns of perception and low self-criticism with a high level of vulnerability. Although there is no clear relationship between bullying and certain characteristics of the people affected by bullying, there are indications that certain personality constellations favor bullying.
  • People who are victims of bullying attacks signal an unsafe and conflict-avoiding behavior. However, this does not automatically mean that it is their own fault. For example, “under-controlling” one's self-esteem also promotes bullying. Finally, those affected by bullying tend to be physically weak or have disabilities. Noticeable “being different”, for example through appearance, nationality or particular ambition at work, calls for potential bullies.

Third, a traditional viewpoint attributes bullying phenomena first and foremost to organizations, as certain characteristics cannot be traced back to psychological personality traits.

Signs and alarms of impending bullying

There are a number of signs of the onset of bullying to which the potential victim can react early and counteract them.

On an interpersonal level:

  • Conversations suddenly fall silent when the person concerned joins them.
  • Unobjective hints are made and rumors are deliberately circulated.
  • The person concerned is neither greeted nor returned and his statements are falsified.
  • Defamation in the presence of the person concerned or behind their back.

At the operational level:

  • Information about operational issues is turned off.
  • The cooperation is boycotted.
  • Small mistakes and omissions are exaggerated.
  • The victim of bullying is assigned unimportant work or his or her workplace is relegated to an unattractive corner of the company.

Behaviors of the bully

The bully is assigned a self-esteem problem, which is expressed in a feeling of inferiority or disadvantage. A common motive is envy. Due to a lack of conflict resolution strategies, the bully uses a number of unfair and unfair means and behaviors to counter the alleged injustice.

In the case of refusal of contact and information, the bullied person is clearly given to understand that he is undesirable by avoiding him or not greeting him anymore. Information is withheld from him or even incorrectly communicated in order to demonstrate him.

Attacks on reputation and performance are intended to deliberately ridicule or badly make and intimidate the victim. In addition, the bully spreads untrue rumors or makes fun of the physical and personal weaknesses of the person concerned.

If the boss is the source of the bullying, the employee can be put under extreme psychological pressure through extremely high demands or constant criticism.

The threat of sexual or physical violence is another means of giving the victim of bullying a “lesson”.