Research finds 95% of school staff experience bullying
Monday, 14 May 2012
A new book co-authored by ACU's Dr Deirdre Duncan has found that more than 95 per cent of staff in schools have experienced some form of workplace bullying.
Launched by General Peter Cosgrove, Bullying of Staff in Schools was written by Dr Duncan, Adjunct Professor in Educational Leadership at ACU, statistical analyst John Edwards, and Dr Dan Riley from the University of New England. It aims to assist school employees to understand the phenomenon of staff bullying, its existence, the forms it takes, and its impact on staff and their schools.
The book draws together responses from over 2500 Australian government, Catholic and independent school employees to 42 separate kinds of bullying behaviour - revealing that more than 95 per cent of respondents had experienced at least one of those behaviours.
More than 75 per cent of respondents experienced a third or more of the bullying behaviours.
Dr Duncan said that bullying behaviour is largely invisible in the school workplace—except to the target—because it is so typical of the behaviour encountered there.
“In many cases the bullies are quite unaware of the fact that their behaviour is seen as bullying,” she said. “Bullying behaviour needs to be named and shamed if it is to be eliminated from the workplace.”
According to the research, the types of bullying behaviour most likely to be experienced by staff in schools are the questioning of one’s professional judgement and being set impossible targets, deadlines or workload. More than 80 per cent of respondents had experienced these behaviours.
The least experienced types of bullying behaviour were those actionable by law under the sexual harassment and anti-discrimination legislation or criminal action such as assault. Dr Duncan said this suggests that simply having a school policy on staff bullying is not sufficient to ensure a bully-free workplace exists.
“If location, location, location is a guiding principle for real estate investment, then education, education, education is the mantra for investing in a bully-free workplace,” said Dr Duncan.
Bullying of Staff in Schools is published by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and can be purchased from the ACER Online Shop.