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Bullying at Work: The Cost

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This is a guest article written by Paul Paul Pelletier, LL.B., PMP
Paul PelletierBullying is good for business.
For a moment, let’s forget about the moral, ethical, and ethical reasons why workplace bullying should be stopped. Let’s instead focus on the financial incentives, ROI, and profits.
The key to unlocking an organizational response is to concentrate on the wider business impacts that could affect the bottom line, reduce program and project success, or cause havoc within the employee ranks. Simply put, ending bullying is good for business.

Bullying at work costs billions
Making the business case for ending workplace bullying
Workplace bullying: A definition
Who is bullied?
What are the effects of bullying?
Work interactions that aren’t bullying
The cost of workplace bullying
Human resource impact
Legal costs
Reputation and executive job security
Profits, share values, and clean up
Customers and clients


Bullying at work costs billions
The statistics are clear and irrefutable–workplace bullying is costing businesses billions of dollars annually.
A bully can create a short-term benefit, such as a project being completed on time and within budget, or a unit that is in a better place, but there are long-term negative business effects that far outweigh any temporary gains.
Patricia Barnes, a judge and lawyer who has written extensively on workplace bullying, said that workplace bullying is the “single greatest preventable and unnecessary expense” on a company‚Äôs register.
Making the business case for ending workplace bullying
Before we can start a conversation with our companies about why bullying is bad for business, it is important to have the right information so that we can be convincing and credible with our corporate executives, organizational leaders, and board members.
To tackle the problem like project managers, we must have a strong, evidence-based business case. This should include a costs/benefits analysis as well as convincing needs analysis.
We need to have a clear understanding about bullying (and not), proof that it is a growing problem, and irrefutable information regarding the financial consequences of bullying. A return on investment should highlight the opportunity-cost of not acting and clearly demonstrate that taking action pays economic dividends for the organization.
Workplace bullying: A definition
First, we must clearly define and articulate workplace bullying.
Workplace bullying refers to the mistreatment of one or several people (the targets) by one/more perpetrators. It is a targeted, systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction. These actions are repetitive, disrespectful, and intentional and are always done for the bully’s advantage. It has nothing to do work.
However, the bully can cause serious economic and productivity problems.
The Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute(WBI) defines workplace bullying as “repeatedly, health-harming maltreatment, verbal abuse or conduct which is intimidating, threatening, embarrassing, or sabotage that hinders work or some combination thereof.” I have written an article about bullying in project management. Workplace bullying can be divided into three types.
aggressive communication
Manipulation of work

Who is bullied?
Bullying at work can affect anyone, but it is most common in the top performers. Their work is affected, which has an impact on the success of the project.
What are the effects of bullying?
Bullying targets often change how they work in relation to their offenders and their organization. We found out how people react to bullying through a WBI survey of 800 managers and employees from 17 industries.