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From backyard to boardroom

2nd edition

Edited by Paul McCarthy, Jane Rylance, Robin Bennett and Helga Zimmerman


Bullying doesn't stop at school. Adult life creates its own pressures, particularly in the workplace. Some people habitually, some occasionally, use inappropriate means to achieve their ends. Always there are victims-at work, in clubs, in families-and their numbers seem to be increasing.

Research shows bullying to be astonishingly widespread and with high human and financial costs. For example, research indicates that between 25% and 50% of workers are likely to experience workplace bullying at some point during their career, and that 40% of those frequently bullied have been driven to contemplate suicide.

Bullying: From Backyard to Boardroom describes and explains the modern phenomenon of bullying, providing valuable insight into the scale of the problem and the many ways and settings in which bullying occurs in Australia.

It shows that bullying is always the personal behaviour choice of the bully, but an organisation's choice of structure and culture also impacts upon the incidence of bullying. The book shows how bullies thrive in some organisations and wilt in others. It contains moves and means to counter bullying, including policies, management strategies and legal remedies.

Bullying: From Backyard to Boardroom is written in a clear and concise style. It is a practical book based on current research and the best theoretical frameworks. It is a useful resource for professionals who need to address bullying, for those experiencing bullying, and for those providing support to someone being bullied.


The Bullying Challenge
Paul McCarthy and Jane Rylance
Bullying in Schools and in the Workplace
Ken Rigby
European Research on Bullying at Work
Dieter Zapf
Bullying/Abuse in Helping Professions
Jane Rylance
Systems Bullying (The Police)
Michael Kennedy
Cultures of Secrecy, Abuse and Bullying
Cara Beed
Bullying Using Organisational Procedures
Greg McMahon
The Reluctant Executioners
Vaughan Bowie
Epiphany: A Method of Analysis for Workplace Violence
Fiona Underwood
The Bullying Syndrome
Paul McCarthy
Health and Safety Guidelines to Address Bullying at Work
Cath Rafferty
Bullying Of Victims By Present Injustices In The System
Peter Gorman
Eliminating Professional Abuse by Managers
Michael Sheehan
Bullying the Elderly
Trish Bulbeck

Bibliography/ Index


[A]n important book which addresses a contemporary issue in many Australian workplaces. Containing implications for individuals, groups, organisations and governments, many readers will find the book of considerable interest.

Grant Michelson, in The Journal of Industrial Relations, December 2001, and Worksite, Spring 2001

Reading this book has added to the knowledge I hold about workplace bullying and will inform my work as a practitioner.  Reading the book at times got me overwhelmed by the extent of bullying, and at other times hopeful at the options available to move away from a culture where bullying is present. ...
... [T]here are many ideas in this book, which provoke and challenge.
If you are in the position of influencing the culture of your (or any) organisation then please remember the voices of those who brought this problem of workplace bullying to our attention.

Industrial Relations Society of SA newsletter, Vol 4 No 3, 2001

... this is a valuable educational resource [which] should remain a useful tool in the fight against workplace bullying.

Law Society Journal (NSW), March 2003

[A]n informative, thoughtful and concise publication ... an invaluable insight into the nature, incidence and negative ramifications of bullying behaviour in an Australian context. ...
The discrete examples of bullying ... illustrate the extensive and complex nature of the problem, particularly in relation to the workplace. The number of people affected by bullying is astonishing. ... Various chapters are devoted to a general discussion of bullying and its ramifications in organisations generally. Others concentrate on specific sectors of the working community, for example in policing, the helping professions and in relation to the elderly. ...
[B]ullying is not solely attributable to the behaviour of "the bully". Flaws within organisational structure and systems may also be responsible for creating, reinforcing and maintaining bullying behaviour, thus enabling the bullying to thrive in the workplace. Organisational changes such as downsizing are identified as creating the breeding ground for bullying behaviour. Individual susceptibility to becoming a victim is also discussed. This research is imperative...
Bullying - from Backyard to Boardroom highlights the seriousness of bullying by spelling out the vast range of negative ramifications that are derived from bullying behaviour. ... A UK study identified that one in four victims of bullying will actually leave their job ... Low worker morale, absenteeism, replacement of staff, retraining and a declining public image are among some of the negative outcomes that create financial losses.
... The book would be a valuable resource for any organisation. Not only as a tool for heightening awareness of bullying, but as a guide for implementing policies to help prevent the problem and to effectively deal with any complaints that arise.

Rights Now, September 2001


Published April 2001
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781862873926
Australian RRP $38.50
International Price $35.00
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Industrial Relations / EEO
Management & Human Resources
Occupational Health and Safety
Secondary School Resources

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