Workplace bullying an issue, says professor

By Kris Dube / News Editor
March 4, 2014
Workplace bullying an issue, says professor
Dr. Lisa Barrow, an expert on bullying in the workplace. Submitted photo.

ST. CATHARINES - An assistant professor at Brock University's Goodman School of Business says more needs to be done to address bullying in the workplace.

Dr. Lisa Barrow, an author of two books on this subject, started studying bullying in the workplace in 2004.

It wasn't until she started her research on the topic that she realized she was actually once a victim.

That's why she wants to continue raising awareness with employers about how often harassment and verbal humiliation happens at work.

“It' s a topic that's not discussed very often,” she said.

Interacting with companies of all types and their employees for the last number of years, Barrow said her goal when starting out was to help people overcome the negativity that surrounded them at their desk and other avenues in the workplace.

“My thought was to try to determine if there was a positive way to influence employees to become more productive and more dedicated to their organization,” said Barrow.

In today's modern era, Barrow says cyber-bullying is a common occurrence that takes place both inside and outside the workplace.

Traditional bullying involves face-to-face interaction and she says that still takes place too much – but through aggressive phone calls, emails, text messages and activity on social media – many people's lives are being impacted.

“There's an incessant use of information and communication technology to harass employees, intimidate employees and basically wreak havoc in their lives,” she said.

Barrow said statistics have shown that 29 per cent of employees suffer from anxiety and depression and when bullying is added to the mix – it doesn't help matters at all.

“It has a negative impact on their performance and a negative impact on their organization,” said Barrow.

She feels there are many solutions that employers can use in an attempt to reduce the amount this takes place at work such as human resources departments making revisions to include ways of addressing cyber-bullying in company policy and agreeing to respond to allegations of this type of behaviour in a more timely manner.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Barrow and her work.