The following article courtesy
Bully For Me.
Corporations and Bullying
They've been called "soul
stealers." And for good reason. They steal our
joy and love of beauty in life when they are infected
with toxic people and environments.
Large corporations in general,
and in particular, ones that focus exclusively on
the shareholder and on making larger and larger profits
every year, do not allow creativity and enthusiasm
for life to survive. In fact, they encourage bullying
and mobbing of talented and hard-working employees
because they focus on making money and not "rocking
the boat" over human relationships and creativity.
Working in a large institution,
whether for profit or not, inherently creates a system
that does not favor human kindness and caring. In
the "traditional" large corporation laughter
and fun is not approved unless it can be proven to
somehow increase profits. In fact, one of our favorite
lines at my previous workplace when someone was caught
talking was "is it called work" or "talk?"
on others is perfectly acceptable
in this environment as long as you can
"justify" it in financial terms.
ever-popular comic strip "Dilbert" is so
popular because it comments on "cubicle hell."
And whether you work in a cubicle, a shop floor or
a retail environment, you recognize the fawning up-and-comer,
the crazy introvert, the dictator, the bully and the
psychopath, among others. These caricatures are created
in institutions because generally, no one actually
relates to anyone else in a healthy way. Once an institution
has grown too large, the left hand no longer knows
what the right hand is doing, and is likely too busy
making its own political plans to "take over"
or hold onto its current position to care. "Dilbert"
humorously points out how ludicrous and toxic working
in large corporations can be.
The only passion or fun allowed
in such an environment is the game of "sucking
up to the boss" and the ever popular "generating
more revenue" at all costs. Stepping on others
is perfectly acceptable in this environment as long
as you can "justify" it in financial terms.
Validation comes in the form of numbers, not emotions.
Corporations more often than not,
fail in areas like corporate governance, public safety,
anti-harassment and environmental protection issues.
When these shortcomings are exposed and threaten productivity
and profitability, they react by developing programs
to prevent it, thus protecting them selves as an entity.
Companies want to survive at all costs, and
a prevention program is viewed as a way to protect
themselves from liability. However, they
often have people within the corporation who believe
that they don't actually have to follow the program.
They just have to have it "available" because
the over-arching mission and goal of the company is
to generate profits. They have no pretensions about
caring about "lofty" socialistic or humanistic
ideals. So when bullying and mobbing is conducted
by management, it is not viewed as bullying, but rather
"cost-cutting" and "down-sizing"
for the companies good. In extension, how can they
see employees targeting other employees as an issue,
if they don't see it in themselves?
generally only see bullying as
a productivity issue. Often they target the "victim"
as much or more than they do the bully.
Studies show that 1 in 5 people
are bullied at work, and corporations are doing nothing
about it except to try and hide or "overlook"
it until it's out of control or someone goes "postal."
Only when they see they have a real duty to their
employees because of legal liability will they change
their policies to prevent bullying. Only then will
they stop blaming the victim for taking HR's valuable
time complaining about "non- issues" or
Companies generally only see bullying
as a productivity issue. Often they target the "victim"
as much or more than they do the bully, causing secondary
wounding to an already traumatized person in failing
to prevent the emotional violence, even when they
know, sometimes for years, about how the person is
For example, I personally know
of someone who was bullied repeatedly for several
years verbally. This person had told management and
their union about the issues. Neither the corporation
nor the union would help, because they are both there
to protect profits, one for the employees and one
for the company. They are not there to deal with "relationship
issues." So when this person finally gave up
trying to overlook the behaviour of this bully and
basically told the bully to back off, the bully physically
attacked this person. When this person defended himself,
he ended up being seen as just as much of a "problem"
as the bully and was targeted as "deadwood"
to be "gotten rid of" by management as quickly
as possible. Both people were suspended for the same
amount of time, even though management and the union
had had several complaints about the bully from others
as well as from the target and witnesses clearly stated
the bully had started the altercation. What the company
was concerned about in this case, was that this issue,
now out in the open, got in the way of their profitability
and was taking up "valuable time" on something
to do with "relationship issues."
This concern for numbers
over people creates psychopaths and brutal environments
that steal our souls. But for most companies,
blaming the victim is easier than doing the work of
educating and helping the targets and bystanders,
and especially in dealing with a bully, who might
sue them for constructive dismissal or other complaints
if they are "punished" in any way for their
outrageous behaviour. Often it is far easier for a
company to remove the target/victim - as they are
seen as the "problem" for "rocking
the boat" and showing the company what it wanted
to keep hidden.
companies develop anti-harassment and
workplace safety programs, their primary purpose
is to protect the company.
are told the corporation is a "good" entity
- it is there to kindly and altruistically provide
us with jobs, to protect us from harm while at work,
and to create a situation whereby if they make more
money - we all win because of the supposed "trickle
down effect" and "invisible hand" theory
of economics. But really, we all lose. Because the
theories are flawed. They are not based on ethics
and people, but on money and greed. Those billion
dollar profits don't go to researching how to make
a better work environment, rewarding and training
for staff, medi-care, or healing it's people that
get injured while making billions for it every year.
In fact, as I can attest, companies often
fight very hard to get out of their legal obligation
to pay for injured workers while they are recovering.
So when the corporate system fails, as it often does,
especially in situations such as bullying, there is
no one to protect us, least of all the corporation
as an institution, no matter what their anti-harassment
policies state. Bullying simply thrives in the corporate
When companies develop anti-harassment
and workplace safety programs, their primary purpose
is to protect the company. So is it truly possible
for companies to embrace helping anyone being bullied,
if the purpose of having the policies is to help protect
the company over the employee?
I'd like to believe the workplace
is changing. That employers are realizing the value
of people more. But I'm an idealist. And it is always
more difficult to make large scale changes in larger,
more traditional corporations. But there is hope.
If we can get companies to adopt the anti-bullying
and mobbing policies, to recognize there is a very
real problem that they are partially responsible in
creating, and that this issue that will affect them
in the long run, then change can begin.
Teaching people that difference
is valuable, and that communication is the key to
a healthy environment is very important. Giving people
the education and training to know how to deal with
bullying and other soul-stealing activities of the
large corporation teaches self-sufficiency and self-esteem
and increases morale, efficiency and productivity,
which of course, are the "magic words" to
any large corporation.
is the true "soul stealer" in a
large corporation because bullying
creates more bullies.
next step is creating peer support groups, as they
will make more of a difference in the long run than
the policies alone ever will. Creating kind workplaces
is extremely important. Bullying cannot continue
if people take a stand for their peers. Caring
for others, empathizing with their plight and offering
basic human kindness destroys what the bully wants,
which is control and fear to paralyze people from
acting kindly towards each other.
Bullying is built on pulling people
and corporations apart from the inside out. It is
a sickness that takes human kindness and caring out
of relationships wherever it can. It is the true "soul
stealer" in a large corporation because bullying
creates more bullies. It creates a toxic environment
where people feel they must become a bully or a party
to the bully to survive.
But although bullying can only
thrive in dysfunctional work places where fear reigns
and people are afraid to support others for fear of
being hurt themselves - something that is important
to remember is that the bully is always outnumbered.
Even if there are no real policies in place
to protect a worker, employees can affect change by
joining with and educating others on this issue.
The employees still have the advantage over the bully
if they have the courage to stand up to the bully,
and are educated and committed to stopping bullying
wherever and whenever they can.
Peer support can challenge and
prevent bullying. But it is up to the corporation
to deal with large scale and repeated bullying and
mobbing. Organizations that tolerate and condone bullying
only encourage people to give up trying to make a
difference, and these same people that no longer feel
safe no longer "produce', which is important
to the company's "bottom line." If a corporation
won't change for the sake of ethics, and because it
is the right thing to do, it may change if those in
charge can see it will make a difference to the bottom
line in reduced sick time, higher morale and productivity,
It's still, in the end, up to the
individuals to join together to take a stand. It's
up to the targets to educate others. And it's up to
the group of us as a unit to lobby government and
force large corporations to change and hear our voice.
Laws will be changed if enough of us speak
out against this "silent epidemic."
We need to speak out as often as we can, with as many
people as we can, as to the importance of the bullying
issue. We can do this individually and as a group,
because together we are a powerful force for change.
We can stop the violence done to us emotionally and
physically. We can stop the bullying and "crazy
Your voice makes a difference!
So what are you going to do?
has been added in this article for emphasis.)