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Workplace bullying refers to recurrent, irrational behaviors targeting an employee or a group of employees, which results in risks to their safety, as well as health state. Various authors have reached the agreement that bullying at the workplace denotes a significant hazard and risk that should be identified and tackled promptly (Maiuro, 2015; Woodrow & Guest, 2014). In this question, the importance of stopping workplace bullying and the approaches that can be adopted to prevent it are thoroughly discussed.
It is important to prevent bullying from occurring in workplace settings because of its adverse impacts on employees, as well as the organization in general. The effects of bullying can be grouped into human costs, organizational costs, and spillover costs (Nielsen & Einarsen, 2012). The human costs refer to the effects that bullying has on the wellbeing and health of employees. Victims of workplace bullying tend to exhibit signs of psychological stress, such as depression and anxiety, negative emotions, anger, and higher degrees of emotional tiredness and fatigue (Nielsen & Einarsen, 2012). It has been established that workplace bullying is usually associated with physiological effects, such as musculoskeletal complaints and having sleep problems. Additionally, workplace might lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in victims (Nielsen & Einarsen, 2012). In this regard, studies show that victims of bullying at the workplace have higher PTSD levels when compared to non-victims (Nielsen & Einarsen, 2012). As a result, it is evident that workplace bullying has significant negative outcomes on the health and wellbeing of employees who became victims of this wicked practice. It is also interesting to note that these wellbeing and health impacts are not only limited to direct victims, but also to those who witness their colleagues being bullied (Nielsen & Einarsen, 2012). For example, studies have documented that employees who witness bullying behaviors tend to develop anger towards those perpetrating the practice.
Besides human costs, it is important to eradicate workplace bullying because of the resulting costs to the organization. The organization is also affected by bullying through lower levels of employee satisfaction in both job and life aspects, lower organizational commitments, and high levels of the intent to leave (Nielsen & Einarsen, 2012). All these tend to reduce employee productivity, and ultimately the organization’s performance. Additionally, the effects of workplace bullying can have an impact on other life areas, such as the non-workplace environment. For example, abusive supervision may affect an employee’s family relationships. Also, workplace aggression and abusive supervision might spillover to other domains, such as family relationships (Maiuro, 2015). Due to these adverse impacts, it is of ultimate importance to ensure that the workplace is free of bullying to enhance the wellbeing and health of employees, and the productivity of both employees and the organization.
Some measures can be adopted to deal with the problem of workplace bullying. The first measure is the primary intervention, which places an emphasis on preventing workplace bullying from occurring in the first place (Woodrow & Guest, 2014). Some of the proven effective primary interventions included training employees on negative behavior awareness, stress management training, and policy communication. Negative behavior awareness training entails providing the training to employees on ways of identifying and reporting their colleagues who exhibit behaviors associated with bullying. Stress management training is geared towards enabling the employees to manage the demands and pressures which emanate from both personal and work lives, which is a contributing factor to bullying (Woodrow & Guest, 2014). This approach is helpful in reducing personal stress, increases employee performance, enhances team morale and communications, and reduces the negative organizational stress. Policy communication entails designing and articulating the clear-cut policies, showing the consequences for those engaging in workplace bullying, including the disciplinary actions that will be undertaken by the organization. The second approach of dealing with workplace bullying is through secondary interventions, which has the main objective of equipping the employees with the skills and resources to cope and deal with workplace bullying in case it occurs. The last approach is through tertiary intervention, which focuses on lessening the negative outcomes, associated with the occurrence of bullying (Woodrow & Guest, 2014). It is important for the organization to react in a suitable manner, following the reporting of workplace bullying. An example of a tertiary intervention that has been proven effective is workplace mediation, wherein the third part to bullying, such as external consultant or Human Resources (HR) staff mediates between the victim and alleged perpetrator to resolve the issue using a facilitated discussion that focuses on the present, as well as future relationships. Another tertiary intervention is issuing sanctions to employees found perpetrating bullying, such as dismissing, demoting, or transferring them to another department (Woodrow & Guest, 2014).
To sum up the above mentioned, it is crucial for the organization to address the issue of workplace bullying because of the significant negative consequences that the practice has on employees and the organization, which might, in the long run, affect the performance of the organization. Tackling the issue within the organization will entail three aspects, including primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions.
Grievance Procedure (GP)
There is no doubt that in employment relations, grievances usually emerge. A grievance refers to a formal communication of discontent with the employment terms and conditions, the work environment, or relationships at the workplace (Wall & Wood, 2005). GPs refer to a process in which an employee can raise existing concerns at the workplace to the top management. In most cases, it is more formalized and needs the strict adherence to the established rules. This part discusses why companies need a GP and the advantages of having an effective GP to the firm and employees.
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GPs are needed to clearly outline how to address the difficulties that may emerge in working relationship between employees and their employers. GPs must be in place to make sure that employees receive the same treatment in the same circumstances and help in dealing with workplace issues in a fair and rational manner. These procedures are helpful in ensuring that employees are compliant with the existing laws (Armstrong, 2008). These procedures are required to offer workers with a course of action if they have complaints that cannot be addressed using the normal communication channels to the top management. GPs also offer timescales and contact the points for addressing workplace issues (Wall & Wood, 2005). Moreover, these procedures are helpful in resolving workplace matters without embarking on external dispute resolution processes, such as an employment tribunal. In this regard, having a GP helps to prevent minor employment issues from accumulating and ensuring that industrial action is the last course of action that can be adopted. Failing to address grievances might transform the grievance into a dispute (Armstrong, 2008). Therefore, it is imperative for top management to set up the mechanisms that ensure consistent and fair handling of all grievances raised by employees.
Having an effective GP is beneficial to both the employees and the organization. For employees, the most widely acknowledged benefit is associated with the GP and it acts as a dispute resolution and conflict management tool (Armstrong, 2008). To this end, it offers a peaceful avenue of reducing the fears and pressures of workers and settling disputes at the workplace without the need to stop working or embarking on economic sanctions. The GP helps in preventing minor disputes from escalating into serious disputes. The GP also offsets the ambiguity that might be present in the language used in drafting the contract, which enables the employment contract to be interpreted with respect to several different events that might happen in a working relationship (Wall & Wood, 2005). The third benefit of having a GP is that it enhances the perceptions of equity and fairness. In this way, employees are provided with an opportunity to articulate their views to the top management and before third-party arbitrators. Thus, a grievance agreement encourages workers to express their concerns and issues without having the fear of the possible reprisal. Also, the procedure offers a speedy and fair way of handling complaints and acts as an avenue through which employee discontents and frustrations can be expressed. For the organization, a GP guarantees the uninterrupted labor during the period while the labor agreement is enforced. It also acts as a source of information for the top management regarding the issues in the workplace, which can help in the formulation of corrective measures. The organization also benefits from having a GP through ensuring consistency with regard to the formulation and application of policy and can help in ensuring compliance with the organization’s policy by supervisors and middle management because their decisions are hinged on the GPs (Woodrow & Guest, 2014). Additionally, having a GP saves the top management the energy and time for dealing with issues of less importance that are dealt with at the lower management. Thus, the top management only handles issues of significant importance to the organization. Lastly, having a GP saves the company’s money and time for solving problems encountered in the workplace (Armstrong, 2008). This procedure is also instrumental in the creation of an organizational culture that fosters trust and openness.
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Employee Involvement and Participation at Qatar Airways
Employee participation and involvement (EPI) can result in considerable improvements in the performance of the organization. Studies have shown that failing to engage employees in the decision-making processes weakens their commitment to the organization. Moreover, in the current workplace environment, employees are empowered to challenge the management’s authority, as well as influence the company (Gennard & Judge, 2005). Thus, it is imperative for the organization to ensure that its employees are involved and participate in its decision-making processes. In assessing the nature and extent of EPI practices at Qatar Airways, emphasis must be first placed on whether there is the compatibility between these practices and the organizational characteristics including its history, technology, structure and activities. This is because the structures and processes deemed suitable for older organizations might not fit needs of younger organizations that were established in different commercial, industrial and social contexts (Gennard & Judge, 2005). Essentially, there are no universal EPI practices, therefore, the primary guiding principle is that the practices must be compatible with current circumstances of the organization. For example, there is no need to have EPI practices to enhance service/product delivery if the company is operating in a product market, wherein the price, rather than reliability and quality of the product, determines the competitive advantage. Thus, the first point of analysis will be to analyze the current circumstance of Qatar Airways and then ascertain whether its EPI practices are compatible with its needs.
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The second aspect that will be considered when analyzing the EPI practices at Qatar Airways relates to whether the organization uses a joint employee-employer agreement with respect to participation. EPI arrangements are ideal when they are crafted through joint agreements, involving the employees and the management (Gennard & Judge, 2005). EPI arrangements that are jointly agreed create some sense of ownership among the employees, which, in turn, increase the commitment towards ensuring the success of EPI schemes. However, when EPI arrangements are imposed by the management, employees have no sense of ownership, thus no stake in making sure that the arrangement succeeds (Gennard & Judge, 2005).
The third aspect that will be analyzed relates to training and development, which will entail investigating the opportunities that are available to all employees to take part in the EPI schemes and whether suitable training was offered to them (Gennard & Judge, 2005). EPI does not relieve the management their duty to make decisions, however, when employees have the relevant background information, there is a good likelihood that the quality of made decisions will improve significantly. It is also imperative to note that the management should retain the duty to make business decisions whole, at the same time, not prejudicing against the rights of employees and the responsibilities of trade unions, in case they are recognized (Gennard & Judge, 2005). An example of a tool that can be used to assess joint nature of the EPI at the organization and training and development is a survey instrument that collects the views of employees regarding the degree to which they are consulted and their perceived influence on the organization.
Another aspect that will be analyzed concerning the EPI practices at Qatar Airways relates to the amount of resources allocated towards the same. For EPI arrangements to be effective, adequate resources are needed to cater for the costs, such as paid leaves, training, meetings, and time lost among others. The allocation of insufficient resources is likely to result in the failure of the EPI initiative (Gennard & Judge, 2005). The level of support provided by the management is also an important aspect that will be analyzed.
Lastly, the mechanisms established by the organization to monitor and review the EPI arrangements will also be analyzed. EPI requires constant reviewing and monitoring in order to ascertain whether the EPI are yielding the desired outcomes regarding improvements in service quality and efficiency (Gennard & Judge, 2005). The effectiveness of EPI is measured with respect to its contributions to the achievement of the key organizational objectives.
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