The centrality of what
large and small organizations aim to achieve aside profiteering may also be to
constantly aspire to satisfy stakeholders’ interest. However, in
actualizing this aim, most often than not depend on the human effort either
from the owner of an enterprise or from the staff of the enterprise. Bullying
and corporate harassment as a deleterious issue in the corporate world has not
been given much attention, the reason could be because there are fewer
literatures on it or because the victims of a bullying circumstances usually
don’t speak up for the obvious economic reasons.

 This piece which relies on ancillary data and
personal experience wishes to address the fundamental hindrance why most
organization could be in business for years yet without significant progress in
terms of profitability and healthiness. The theme of this piece also spins on
understanding the human side of every business in order to proffer solutions to
what the author termed as corporate bullying.

Bullying in its basic
usage is synonymous to words like Intimidation, mistreatment, oppression,
victimization, Harassment, oppression, hounding, harrying. While a Bully may
also mean the same as a tormentor, persecutor, oppressor, tyrant, intimidator
and aggressor.
According to Harvard
Business Review 2011, workplace bully is defined commonly as individual or
group who use aggressive or unreasonable tactics against co-workers or
subordinates persistently. As seemingly unpleasant the word bully may sound, it
is unfortunate those words are personified in many organizations. According a
recent research by Lagos Business School (Nigeria) the more unfriendly
the organizational (work-family) culture is, the more the employees think of
changing jobs.
 This and others may be the cause for high attrition
rate. However, the reason why people bully should also be explained as
elucidated below:


  • Personality Clash: In
    Africa, it is often said that one of the reasons why none of the human
    fingers is equal is because nature wants to remind us that no human being
    is the same in orientation and in personality. The finger prints security
    checks also tells this story better. With this background, it is on record
    that bosses tend to bully staff who they think they cannot work with as a
    result of incompatibility of personality colorations.

  •  Deadlines: Deadlines
    are usually cash lines. Clients see exceptionality in paying more to
    organizations who meet deadlines. Aside repeated buying, referrals are
    usually key for organizations who are able to meet deadlines. More often
    than not, supervisors or owners of the business get too emotional on
    subordinates for not meeting targets and set deadlines. From research,
    some organization award punishment for not meeting up to deadlines. Such
    punishment could range from monetary surcharges, forfeiture of day offs
    and other fringe benefits. Although, this piece doesn’t plan to address
    punishment implications for offences, however, there should be a prior
    acknowledgement from parties to employment on how to deal with ineffective
    work operations as against arbitrariness of disciplinary operations. This
    is what company manual and employee hand book should address. 

Aggressions transfer: The
world is said to be a war zone, hence for organization being a unit in the
world, the impact is clear. No soldier would be in the battle field
smiling all day, no no no! Not even in Hollywood or Nollywood movies. It’s
usually a battle field, and this relates to organizations; battling
between making more profit this year or losing out into bankruptcy, battle
of getting more customers or your competitors have them, it’s a battle of
lowering your cost to attain sustainability and   battling of
adherence to corporate governance issues in the face of economic upheaval. 

 More often its only leaders and owners of companies that share some of
these battles alone. Unlike a troop in the army where team work is
actually team work. For instance a battalion that losses a war can all
perish together in war front.
 However in corporate organization this isn’t
so. Workers leaves and move on if the business fails, hence leaving the
owner of the business to bear the bruises all alone. This is a typical
sorry case and as such the enterprise owners is on his/her own. With of
the understanding of this irony, the corporate leader seeks to result to
being emotional whenever subordinates aren’t pulling enough strings in
achieving corporate objectives. 

A story was told of a Lady Business owner
named Bimbo who was suffering from husband battering especially during the
weekend, it was told that this lady usually have an emotional crack down
on every of her male staff on every other Monday /Tuesday during the
operations meetings. Asides this, some unit heads having been verbally
assaulted by her also transfer similar verbalized bully on their
subordinates and so goes down the line. Aggression transfer creates a
tyrannical organization and it has ruined goodwill of organizations.

  •  State of the business in
    not too distant time ago in Nigeria, I once worked with an Executive
    Director in a group of firms majoring in Food and Quick Restaurant
    Business. She was so furious about an HOD not been able to track
    operational lapses from his subordinate. She dragged the HOD to the HR
    office and instructed the HR to issue him a query. In the process of this
    instruction, she made such comment as this: this Company is going
    down day by day, and we must all go down with it is since we don’t want to
    do the right thing.
     That’s shocking isn’t it? The effect of this
    statement was obvious, within 6 weeks of that statement, both the HOD and
    even the HRM resigned from that organization.  Now that’s the effect
    of bully!
From experience, actions
and inactions of corporate actors has over whelming effect on the corporate
existence of an enterpriseBullying being an adverse action and
inaction within corporate organizations has the following ripple effect to the
existence of an organization. Below points sums up few of such effects.

  • Lowers Staff morals: Performance
    of any organization would depend on the state of mind of the actors of the
    organization. You cannot have a highly disgruntled workforce in your
    organization and expect the best from them. Never, because people aren’t
    wood after all. They have emotions and the blood that runs through their
    vain often tell them whether the organization is favorable or not. More
    often than not when you verbally deal with staff, they transfer such to
    your customers. If you have ever heard a customer complain about the
    service of a company bitterly, and that such customer had to result to
    making such complain viral on the internet? Then I bet you to check out
    the ways supervisors or managers of that company interact with their
    staff, and you will see hostilities from top down.

  • High Attrition rate:
    These talks about the rate of labour turn over in an organization. One of
    the basic signs you notice in a bully prone organization is that top
    managers leaves almost without notice. A good sign of a bullous
    organization job seekers should watch out for any time is companies
    recruiting regularly for top management position may not be a good place
    to work. Such companies only turn the HR department recruitment partner as
    against being a strategic partner in business.

  • Talent forbidden zones: With
    the advent of the social media, there is no more hiding place for any
    hostile organization. Have you recently recruited someone and concluded
    with pay package as well as other terms of employment, only for him/her to
    resume, then you hear him call to say; I am sorry I am no
    longer interested
    ! Yes it happens a lot right? Lol,   Believe
    it or not out of every 5 situation like this, 2 of them has to do with
    reputation issues on the side of the organization. We now have social
    generations of workers who are ready to go the whole route of making
    background check on the organization who is poaching them. They contact
    your former staff to enquire how it is like to working for you.
once worked in an organization with open cubicle style of office arrangement.
The Executive Director which happens to be the daughter of the CEO one day
openly described the Procurement Manager as an inefficient dummy who
cannot track simple supplies. But right there in my front was a job
 who has just accepted to work with us and he was to pick up
his letter the next week and then resume as Facility Coordinator. But guess
what? He never showed up. A call by the recruitment guy revealed that he can’t
work with such owner of the business who assault staff with words. Now how HR
guys will interpret this experience to the owner of the business often becomes
a major headache.
  • Bad PR: Managing
    organizational reputation could be a demanding job, and contracting this
    to Perception Managers also doesn’t come cheap. But what is more demanding
    is when the owner of a business directly or indirectly damages the
    business image. According to Tomas ChamorroPremuzic,
    a Professor of business psychology at the University College London; in
    his article; The Dark Side of Executive Narcissism: How CEOs Destroy
    Companies’ Reputation and Employee Morale; he stated that organizations
    led by arrogant, self-centered, and entitled CEOs tended to perform worse,
    and their CEOs were significantly more likely to be convicted for
    corporate fraud (e.g., fake financial reports, rigged accounts, insider
    trading, etc.) with this, the action and inaction of CEOs on the image of
    the organization cannot be over emphasized.
Fortunately a lot of huge
problems require simple solutions.

Douglas Mc Gregor’s X and
Y theory also sells even in this generation. To Gregor there are 2 types of
workers in an organization, the X workers who is typically a lazy worker and a
Y worker who is by a nature a workaholic. The strategy here is to  
give more work to those lazy leopards and monitor performance and attitudes
while you endeavor to understand the aspirations of the Y employee to motivate

Processes, Policies,
organizations’ SOPs and daunting bureaucratic procedures could be a
discouraging factor for worker’s performance. Some staff sees some policies as
a signal to get them out of the game. It is advised that organization steam
down rigidity on some processes for corporate gains. The essence of these
policies should be addressed.
Many are organizations
preaches this but they fail to get the practice right. It is important that the
Management would always make themselves approachable. Get along with staff and
make some intimate comment when they celebrate special occasions to show you
how value even their personal life. Open your office door wide so that people
can approach and talk to you. The idea here is not that management should
pamper staff but that management should listen to staff for the sake of the
business. With this you will get maximum value and Return on human capital

There is need to act
professionally irrespective of the situation. Emotional intelligence seems to
be a song for the employees alone, but frankly speaking, we all need it
irrespective of the level of our economic status. Try to read people and
yourself then put them in the perspective of the environment so that you can
get result and performance from people.

This generation is a social
generation. Hence, to draw from the monetary and non-monetary proceeds from any
organization’s economic activities, the organization must have an healthy
environment for individual talents to manifest. The epochal Elton Mayo
experiment as carried out in Hawthorne in the United States of America reveals
that the social structures and its impact on the workplace can affect job
performance, hence corporate success. There is need to publicly celebrate
staff, know their birthdays, anniversaries and like their comments on social
medias. Although Mayo’s experiment on the impact of social structures on
workers was conducted several decades before the advent of the social media, it
is important to understand the social needs and background of each of our staff
for us to get the best from.
From the fore going, It
can be inferred that bullying occur then there is weak leadership.  Hence
bulling has been identified as inimical to the progress of any organization. We
have been able to establish that Manager or owner of the business may also act
deliberately to the disadvantage of their organizations due to certain
situations such as Clash of personality, deadlines on projects and the state of
the business among others seems to bring out the devil within.

The effect of this, is
alarming aside having to do with public relational issues, organizations tends
to lose top talent on a sporadic basis. To curb this, we advise solutions which
include; demystification of policies and processes, practical open poor
policy,   the use work as punishment, getting social at work and
understand the concept of emotional intelligence among others.

Training on mastering HR related issues for organizational effectiveness kindly
mail or call +2348032288650



Ed’s Notes: This article
was initially published by the author on 3rd May, 2016, via (Last visited on 4th May, 2016)