none

ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE IS KEY TO ENDING WORKPLACE BULLYING

10-09-2019
by 
in 

In partnership with peak health and safety bodies, The University of South Australia has developed a novel approach to tackling the distressing and costly problem of bullying at work. And with the total cost of bullying at work in Australia estimated to be as much as $36 billion per annum, tackling the problem would benefit employers as much as it would employees.

Australia is home to some of the worst workplace bullying in the developed world, ranking sixth highest in a recent study comparing us with 31 European countries.

Around 10 per cent of Australian employees admit to being bullied at work, but that figure may hide the true extent of the problem, with much antisocial workplace behaviour going unreported and research suggesting up to two-thirds of workers may experience unfair treatment on the job.

Although laws to discourage workplace bullying have been strengthened in recent years, employment experts acknowledge that further protective measures are needed.

Researchers at the University of South Australia have developed a novel diagnostic and response solution to address that need, providing a simple, evidence-based approach to recognising and addressing bullying issues in Australian workplaces.

Lead researcher, Associate Professor Michelle Tuckey, says the key to curbing workplace bullying lies in understanding that the behaviour can rarely be blamed on isolated individuals.

“Workplace bullying is often mistaken as a problem between staff members, an interpersonal problem, when evidence shows it’s really a reflection of how the organisation functions,” says Prof Tuckey.

“It’s a cultural issue, a systems issue – if you have a healthy culture and healthy systems, then you don't get a lot of bullying, but if you don't have that culture and those systems, bullying is more common.”

Building on six years of research, Prof Tuckey and her team have devised a method to help businesses develop the sort of cultures that prevent bullying at work.

“We're taking a safety risk management framework and treating bullying as a work health and safety hazard, following the normal risk management approach, which is to identify hazards, assess the level of risk, implement risk controls, and then monitor and evaluate,” says Prof Tuckey. “An important feature of our approach is the involvement of staff and managers in each stage.”

The risk management solution was developed through extensive engagement with 342 documented bullying complaints lodged with SafeWork SA and is currently being trialled with peak health and safety bodies to enhance the regulatory response to bullying and to support proactive risk management in a range of other organisations.

“We analysed about 5500 pages of information to learn what's going on in the culture and the work systems when people feel mistreated,” says Prof Tuckey. “Then we turned that into a survey-based measurement tool with 10 different domains used to deliver a score predictive of a broad range of work health and safety outcomes, including exposure to bullying.”

“The diagnostic tool shows an organisation where they should focus their efforts and prioritise their resources,” says Prof Tuckey. “Many organisations already have policies, training and complaint systems in place; our tool complements those structures to prevent bullying behaviour.”

Related news & editorials

  1. Australis Engineering introduces the Hygenius Food Grade Conveyors – the truly clean and hygienic conveyor. Perfect for raw meat, poultry, seafood, pet food, fruit and veggies and dairy.
    01.03.2021
    01.03.2021
    by      In , In
    A new conveyor belt system aims to revolutionise the handling of food by minimising cross contamination and reducing downtime.
    Australis Engineering introduces the Hygenius Food Grade Conveyors – the truly clean and hygienic conveyor. Perfect for raw meat, poultry, seafood, pet food, fruit and... Read More
  2. More than one in six Australians suffers hearing loss, and thanks to an ageing population and more people being exposed to dangerously loud noise, that number is expected to rise in the coming decades.
    22.02.2021
    22.02.2021
    by      In , In
    More than one in six Australians suffers hearing loss, and thanks to an ageing population and more people being exposed to dangerously loud noise, that number is expected to rise in the coming decades.
    The resulting productivity losses, according to recent figures from Australian hearing care and... Read More
  3. The team at PFD Food Services turned to A-Safe to improve their Brisbane warehouse workflow and ensure the products supplied to customers are safe and meet food safety requirements.
    17.02.2021
    17.02.2021
    by      In , In
    Safely moving large palettes on forklifts in tight spaces can be a challenging ordeal. Add in staff and pedestrians to that mix and it increases the likelihood of something going awry.
    That’s why the team at PFD Food Services turned to A-Safe to improve their Brisbane warehouse workflow and ensure... Read More
  4. Absorb’s Spill Kit Service Program was designed to provide comprehensive supply, auditing and management of spill kits across your entire site, ensure your duty of care is maintained and to promote compliance with Environmental Legislation.
    15.02.2021
    15.02.2021
    by      In , In
    A fire extinguisher must be ready at all times – that’s why we get them checked and serviced by a professional.
    Similarly, an environmental spill kit must be ready at all times. When was the last time you had yours checked or serviced by a professional?
    Supporting Australian companies for 25 years... Read More
Products
Suppliers