In this paper the ethical implications of culture abuse in the workplace is explored. Helen and Martin’s (2018) description of these harmful and intentional behaviors that are identified as abuse is discussed. Abuse goes beyond harassment and discrimination because the actions are unyielding and meant to intimidate and are done in a very malicious and intentionally harmful manner. Aristocratic and Laissez-faire leadership style if not managed properly can incubate this abuse in the workplace (Faas, 2014) . The Workplace Bullying Institute which was developed in 1997 in response to the influx of complaints of hostile work environment (Namie & Namie, 2014) ) data will also be discussed. Finally, the role of diversity and the implications of having a variety of people with different experiences and backgrounds in the workplace input in the
Workplace abuse happens more often than we want to believe or admit. The Workplace Bully Institute developed by Greg Namie (2014) pinned “bullying” as a descriptor of these extreme and inappropriate workplace behaviors because we can readily identify with the schoolyard bullying situation. Over 92% of service providers that were surveyed, report that they had witnessed abuse of an employee that appeared to be based entirely on the diversity of culture. Helen and Martin (2018) reported that 75% of people surveyed in the service and commercial industry report were targeted or witnessed abusive behaviors in the workplace. People of Hispanic descent were reportedly the most targeted race of bullying in the workforce (Faas,2017). Eighty-one percent of women surveyed reported persistent sexual abuse in the workplace. Muslim workers report that they are often battling to practice cultural routines like prayer breaks, growing hair and head coverings, and derogatory comments usually associated with terrorism (Okechukwu, Souza, Davis, & Castro, 2013).
Helen & Martin (2018) characterize workplace abuse as repeated- harming mistreatment in the place of business. This mistreatment may come in the form of abusive language, sabotaging humiliating, and even intimidating behaviors. Not only are these direct harming behaviors exhibited but the cohorts may exclude, ignore or prevent participation in advancements or meaningful work. (Faas, 2017). The Workplace Bullying Institute (Namie & Namie, 2014) includes that this harassment can be individually perpetrated or with a “mob” mentality, in which several people are exhibiting these behaviors. The internet and social media has also being a weapon used in the arsonal of the abusive colleague. Cyberbullying has evolved from the teenagers cellphones to the executive’ s email, text messages, networking sites and apps. (Salazar, 2017).
Abuse in the workplace is a problem that has gained a lot of attention because of the damage and potential cost of these destructive behaviors .Okechukwu, Souza, Davis, & Castro. (2013) conducted a study of approximately 800 organizational leaders and workers across various commercial enterprise. More than half (487) 61 reported that they lose work time and even their jobs due to direct or indirect effects from this abusive behaviors. The employees reported worrying, avoiding and time off due to physical and psychological ailments associated with the bullying(Faas, 2017) The supervisors also noted that there is performance and commitment decline associated with reported bullying on the job. ( Harris, Kacmar, & Zivnuska, 2007)
The Workplace Bullying Institute (2014) did an extensive study on maladaptive behaviors in American workforce and the results were astonishing. Reportedly more than 1 out of every four (27%) person’s interviewed had been subject to some type of verbal or physical aggression on their job. What was even more unfortunate is that 78% of those that reported being victims of this contentions were classified as minorities. The highest occasions of sexual harassment were of identified members of LBGT community with 82% reported direct and indirect name-calling, crude comments, and sexual propositions. Latino workers reported 76% have experienced bullying as evident by exclusion, threats, and mimicking stereotypes like language, accent, clothing and work status. The WorkPlace Bullying reported that Approximately 27% of employees reported directly witnessing workplace bullying behaviors without taking action (Namie & Namie 2014). These are behaviors that are accepted and may have become the norm or culture in the place of Employment.
With more technological advancement and global trading, the commercial industry members encounter diverse people as employees, consumers and product suppliers. Technology advancing and more interacting with diverse people, unfortunately does not guarantee advancement in acceptance of different backgrounds and cultures.( Harris, Kacmar, & Zivnuska, 2007) Behind the anonymity of the computer and the world wide web, people are more vocal and cruel in their disapproval or dislike of people. The bullies are more connected to people with similar beliefs and actions and they participate with a pack mentality against their target. The attacks are often vicious, global and unerasable. ( Okechukwu, Souza, Davis, & Castro, 2013)
Oftentimes, the workplace is a microcosm of the norms of society. And just as the leaders in the community set precedents for societal behaviors, the organizational leaders usually set the precedents for the place of business. Harris, Kacmar, & Zivnuska, S. (2007) reported that the majority(62%) of the documented accusations of abusive, harassing and discriminatory behaviors were accusations towards supervisors, managers and other organizational leaders. These maladaptive standards and principles become part of the organisations daily operations and interaction with the staff. Andrew Faas (2017) describes several cultures in the workplace, but two; dictatorial and disjointed cultures that seems to foster the culture of bullying.
The autocratic leader : This culture is much run as a dictatorship in which the boss has complete control in decisions, interactions, and expectations. There usually is a “helicopter” or close and constant supervisor around ensuring that the there is strict adherence to instructions. More than not, in this environment, the leader is a bully, advancement in the company is associated with the bullying behaviors. Helen & Martin ‘s ( 2018) study participants reported that 61% of the bullies they encountered on the job were actually their leaders. African American workers were polled in a study by 219 of the 356 reported they were they were overlooked for promotions, employment and other opportunities they were qualified for. This discrimination was overwhelmingly (66%) under the supervision of an African American manager (Okechukwu, Souza, Davis, & Castro, 2013).
The laissez faire leader – This leader creates what Faas calls a disjointed workplace. There are loosely defined and enforced ethical guidelines There is a lack of core values or a balancing agent of power. This environment according to Helen & Martin (2018) is characterized by managers and employees struggling with the issue of workplace abuse and having very little or no training at all how to handle the abuse Some of these common struggles include identifying and reporting workplace bullying behavior, managing workplace bullying as a manager, and developing a civilized organizational culture. Interestingly, even though 72% of Americans were conscious of workplace bullying behavior at work, they reported not reporting the behavior and not addressing the problem adequately (Namie & Namie 2014)
Culture abuse is unethical regardless of the industry you work or companies you patronize. There is no current legislation that criminalizes these relentless offensive behaviors so the workplace has a moral obligation to create guidelines and protocol when these actions are discovered. There should be no room in an organization’s ethical policies that makes it acceptable to be abusive, a bully or practice discrimination towards a person based solely on their culture (Faas, 2017) Ethical behaviors and perceptions are important in the success of a company and creating synergy in a decision making team (Harris, Kacmar & Zivnuska, 2007). Information is disseminated quickly in this advanced technological era and unethical behaviors are spread even quicker. It is so important that an organization work swiftly if culture abuse is suspected or substantiated to detour continued or further abuse.