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Prompt: Against – Laws against bullying are not feasible as they are hard to define and have potential to limit managers’ ability to manage.

Bullying in the workforce is extremely hard to define as there is no true indication as to whether someone did or did not have malicious intent or if they meant to cause harm to colleague. In a Swedish Journal of Psychology, Agervold quotes Leymann’s definition of workplace bullying as the following:

Swedish researcher Henrik Leymann characterized [workplace bullying] as a prolongation of the way in which bullying had been described in children: “a social interaction through which one individual . . . is attacked by one or more . . . individuals almost on a daily basis and for periods of many months, bringing the person into an almost helpless position with potentially high risk of expulsion” (as cited in Agervold, 2007, p. 162).

Now based on this definition, there remains ambiguity over a couple different points. “Attacked” can have many meanings where they are being treated unfairly, spoke in an aggressive tone, or physically assaulted. “On a daily basis and for periods of many months” begs the question is that if one aggressively taunts another on a weekly basis, is that not bullying? What if the demeanor of a superior is seen as aggressive, but has no intention to appear this way? These questions that arise when reading the definition show how there is no clean-cut definition of bullying, even from a scientific researcher. It makes operations much more difficult when you are trying to limit something that is not clearly defined, for the reason being that if you don’t know what you’re trying to prevent, you can’t prevent it and it will take away from the actual operations.

Ferrell states in the textbook, “[A]nti-bullying laws would limit managers’ ability to manage since they would constantly be afraid their management styles could be perceived as bullying,” (Ferrell, 2015, Pg. 66). This points out exactly the idea that managers would be more concerned with how they are acting towards their staff, as opposed to doing a good job, which is why they are managers in the first place. If managers were to be “walking on eggshells” all day hoping not to offend their staff, the efficiency of the operation would overall decline and thus be bad for business.

References

Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2016). Business ethics: ethical decision making and cases. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Agervold, M. (2007). Bullying at work: A discussion of definitions and prevalence, based on an empirical study.Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 48(2), 161-172. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450.2007.00585.x

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