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Bullying in the Workplace reviewed


Bullying in the Workplace by Elaine DouglasTitle: Bullying in the Workplace: An Organisational Toolkit
Author: Elaine Douglas
Publisher: Gower
Format: A4 Hardback (ISBN: 0566084082, Price: £85.00)
or A4 Ringbinder (ISBN: 0566082756, Price: £125.00)

Buy the hardback version or the ringbinder version from the TrainingZONE - Blackwells book shop.

I wanted to review this book as I wanted to see whether it would help me design a course module to raise managers' awareness of bullying. Some research quoted suggests that between 25-50 per cent of employees experience bullying and harassment. Bullying like other forms of harassment, isn't a case of what the intention is, but how the recipient interprets words and actions. Perhaps I am lucky, as I haven't felt bullied at work, but the culture of working long hours and returning to work when still ill, could signal that bullying does occur.

I found the book well written and easy to read. It is split into two main sections, the first is referred to as The Manual, the second The Toolkit. The Manual covers why people bully and how to understand the problem. It then moves onto practical information to help create an anti-bullying policy and tips on how to implement such a policy. The roles and responsibilities of managers, HR professionals and individuals are also clearly explained, including how to detect signs of being bullied in others.

The Toolkit was the most useful section for me. This section is split into three applications, models of behaviour, analysing behaviour and dealing with behaviour. The models of behaviour are clearly explained and this is the best, simple explanation of transactional analysis that I have come across. The PUCA model – which looks at behaviour in terms of passivity and co-operating I thought, could also be applied to other areas, such as assertiveness.

Understanding behaviour is made up of questionnaires to analyse one's behaviour with regard to bullying and also the 'organisational behaviour'. I found this section the least useful, mainly because it seems easy to overload on questionnaires. I was also not very convinced about their validity – it is really easy to tell which answers will lead to the conclusion of bullying or harassment.

The final application, dealing with behaviour, also had some very useful techniques, again clearly expained such as scripting, broken record, active listening and so on.

In general I found Bullying in the Workplace a very useful resource. Whilst I'm not sure that I will use it to address bullying per se, the toolkit section will definitely help me when developing training events. If bullying is an issue, or suspected issue in your organisation, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Reviewed by Matthew Simkin, Senior Training Advisor, National Museum of Science and Industry.


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