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Better management can reduce bullying in academia: podcast

New research shows workplace bullying does not arise from interpersonal issues or personality clashes but is linked to organisational and management issues and impacts every sector, including tertiary education.

In Australia, around one in 10 workers is exposed to ongoing bullying at work, lead researcher from the University of South Australia Professor Michelle Tuckey said, costing workers their physical and mental health and about $36 billion each year to the global economy.

While universities have bullying policies in place, Tuckey said they often focus only on behaviours and individual prevention, and overlook the underlying causes in the organisational system such as how administration, work performances and the relationships are managed.

"This is where the biggest gap lies," Tuckey told Campus Review

"The higher education sector needs to pay attention and actually do a proper risk management process for bullying that identifies what the risk factors are and puts risk control measures in place in a proactive way."

Tuckey joined Campus Review to discuss bullying in the workplace and what actions universities can take to reduce bullying in the sector.

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One comment

  1. Very interesting research. For too long Universities have ignored the structural basis of poor workplace cultures and bullying. It makes a lot of sense that this happens because structures support or even encourage it. Its easier to ignore it or, if its acknowledged, blame individuals. In high pressure, high achievement environments with little or no job security, like research or casual teaching, and management with significant and often unchecked power to decide on employment contracts and conditions, it seems inevitable that actual or perceived bias, favouritism, and misunderstandings with terrible consequences will occur. Bullying is a pattern of behaviour that unfairly disadvantages or distresses a staff member…. it doesn’t necessarily involve insults, abuse etc.

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