A study of online behavior shows that cyberbullying is even
worse in the workplace than it is at school.
Dr. Christine Sprigg, Dr Carolyn Axtell and Sam Farley of the
University of Sheffield, together with Dr. Iain Coyne of Nottingham University,
will unveil their work at a seminar during the Economic and Social Research
Council's (ESRC) annual Festival of Social Science this week.
Most studies focus on children and teens in school. This one
looked at the workplace, where online technologies of communications are
becoming more important than ever before.
The researchers looked at three surveys of employees at
universities in the U.K. Of the 320 people who responded to the survey, about
eight out of ten had experienced cyberbullying behaviors on at least one
occasion in the previous six months. Those behaviors include being humiliated,
ignored or gossiped about.
The results also showed 14 to 20 per cent experienced them
at east once a week — not unlike what kids get at schools off-line.
Bullying at work can hurt job satisfaction and increase
mental strain, the researchers said.
The online nature of the bullies may also affect the reporting
of such behavior. The study found that people who witnessed online bullying seemed
to suffer fewer ill effects than those who saw it in the "real
world." That may make them less likely to tell anyone about it.