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‘Bully Off: recognising and tackling workplace bullying’ by Jo Clifton and Heather Serdar

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Bully Off: Recognising and Tackling Workplace Bullying.
By Jo Clifton and Heather Serdar
Russell House Publishing
ISBN 1-898924-66-X
Price: around £14
First published 2000
Website listed but not accessible: http://www.bullyoff.com


Bullying at Work is a significant issue in the workplace, affecting up to two million people according to the authors, who quote an CIPD poll, and up to five million according to a recent TUC poll, quoted on the GPMU site on bullying

This resource is 91 pages long, and produced as a spiral bound A4 workbook, providing a publication which is there to be used in practice, not as an academic text.

The layout is very clear, and despite their being no index, it is easy to find the information you require. The text is well peppered with anecdotes and cases which make it easy to read. At the end there is a good section on Sources of help and advice

In the Introduction the authors state that the text is designed to help individuals to

  • Recognise that it is happening to them
  • Find support and advice
  • Equip themselves to continue positively at work
  • Safeguard themselves from the effects of bullying

and to help employers by

  • Recognising bullying at work
  • Differentiating between bullying and management
  • Responding effectively when it happens
  • Setting up effective systems to prevent further occurrences.

It achieves half of these aims creditably, but I would not rely solely upon it either to safeguard workers from bullying, to respond or to set up systems of prevention.

The text is split into two main portions, The Individual perspective and the Organisational perspective, with sections on Legal aspects, references and Sources of Help to complete it. There are chapters on The Target, the Bully, the Manager and Whistleblowing, while in the second half the chapters are Assessing the Situation, Taking action, Implementation and Organisational support.

I have a few reservations. The examples and cases used are taken almost exclusively from the public and voluntary sectors. It doesn’t reproduce in full any sample policy statements or procedures. Some sections of the text are dealt with too briefly, e.g. the section on The manager runs to only three pages, and despite having a useful table on the differences between managing and bullying, there is scope for a much more substantial entry.

This is a resource worth having if bullying is an issue within your organisation. It is a good introduction, and the resources listed in the back can be used to expand your knowledge, if required. The US has designated Freedom from Bullies at Work week as October 23rd-30th. You could use this text as the basis for your own Freedom from Bullies at Work activities.

Chris Green
Senior Lecturer in Media Management
Manchester Metropolitan University

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