Study set to expose workplace cyber-bullying
With a click of the keyboard, it is sent.
It is the silent version of bullying, but could have same devastating impacts on workers as a punch in the face.
There are still plenty of unknowns about how often cyber-bullying takes place at work and what effect it is having on Australian public servants in particular. However, if research from the UK is any indication, the cost is great.
'Punched From The Screen', a 2012 study from the University of Sheffield and the University of Nottingham, revealed 20 per cent of workers personally face cyber-bullying each week. Bullied employees were found to be less satisfied at work, and showed more "mental strain" than non-bullied workers.
Now, Queensland University of Technology Ph.D. candidate Felicity Lawrence is looking to find how Australia's public service workplaces stack up.
Her study, backed by the University of Sheffield, aims to analyse thousands of responses from workers who not only have experienced cyber-bullying themselves, but have addressed individual incidents in their own workplaces.
The phenomenon of cyber-bullying is a relatively new concept in Australia, but could become more prevalent as offices improve their technology and conduct more work online.
Researchers are hoping the results can be the stepping stone for new or refreshed legislation at national and state level.
It could also influence Australian public sector work management policies and individual work practises. Based on the results, these agencies may look for new solutions to mitigate the risk of cyber-bullying.
One way businesses can help workers is implementing HR management software, which can track and record online grievances and harassment claims.
The HRMS software can also work alongside company policies to create a positive environment that allows employers to deal with disputes quickly.
Government workers who wish to participate in the Queensland University of Technology study can log onto http://survey.qut.edu.au/f/179689/20e4/ for further information.