Signs of Bullying in the Workplace


Bullying is one form of conflict that is characterized by unwanted aggressive behavior by some individuals that seem to be in high positions towards their juniors (Hodson, Roscigno, & Lopez, 2006, p. 387). On the mention of the term bullying, several people align their thoughts towards physical infliction of pain, forgetting that bullying can take various forms, which include verbal aggression among others. Verbal aggressiveness is a personality trait in some individuals that facilitate them to attack self-concepts of other people, thus barring them from acknowledging their colleagues.

Several scholars view verbal aggressiveness in the workplace as a cause of destructive communication. Verbal aggression in the workplace should be eliminated, because it is a form of bullying which diverts the attention of the junior employees, hence reducing their ability to deliver (Hodson, Roscigno, & Lopez, 2006, p. 402). Guidance and counseling are the best recommendations for putting an end to the issues of verbal aggression as a form of bullying in the workplace.

Bullying in the workplace statistics

Factors Causing Verbal Aggressiveness in the Workplace

Frustration, social learning, communication deficiency, and the existence of a conflict between parties are the major factors that cause verbal aggressiveness. However, it is worth noticing that the causal factors of verbal aggressiveness are not limited to the ones mentioned here (Hershcovis, et al., 2007, p. 228).

  Frustration. Frustration is just a feeling of becoming upset due to inability to achieve a certain objective. In most cases, it emerges when another person acts as a barrier, thus culminating into hatred. The intention here is that the person sets out to deal with the individual accordingly and always term him or her as worthless. If these two persons are working under the same roof, the issues of bullying through verbal aggressions will be unavoidable. It reflects well when the frustrated person is a senior (Hodson, Roscigno, & Lopez, 2006, p. 407).

Communication deficiency. It is a situation where an individual lacks the proper skill to deal with an issue especially, which requires reasoning. In order to fill this very gap of lack of proper argumentative skills, some people will turn to verbal aggressiveness and even become ready for physical confrontation (Hershcovis, et al., 2007, p. 228). This is a common factor that causes bullying in the workplace especially if the boss lacks the argumentative verbal skills because he or she has the urge to prove junior employees that he is perfect.

Social learning. The environment in which an individual grows plays a significant role in shaping the traits of that person. Therefore, it is clear that if the workplace contains verbal aggressiveness type of bullying on junior employees, then even the newest employee will adopt the same with time. The environment here does not mean the workplace alone, but also the surrounding in which one grows (Hershcovis, et al., 2007, p. 228).

Psychopathology. It concentrates on the existence of unresolved issues between individuals and they end up carrying it forward to the job place. It is something that leads to verbal aggressiveness and intense bullying all over, thus resulting in the consumption of a lot of time in unworthy things. It emerges because the nature of humans is that they always want to revenge and prove that they are the ‘lords’ in one way or another (Hodson, Roscigno, & Lopez, 2006, p. 411).

Types of bullying in the workplace

Types of Verbal Aggressiveness in the Workplace

There exist five major types of verbal aggressiveness in workplaces, and they include name-calling, character assassination, issuance of ultimatums, and nonverbal techniques (Lee & Brotheridge, 2006, p. 371). Name-calling refers to a form of verbal aggressiveness that in the case of any problem, the boss calls the name of a particular employee to be the cause, even though he or she is not part. Character assassination is intimidation of an individual, because of a certain personality trait he or she bears (Madlock & Kennedy-Lightsey, 2010, p. 61). Ultimatums are constant threats that senior employee issues to a junior to make him or her feel inferior. Non-verbal implies the use of body parts like eyes to bully an individual.

Effects of Bullying in the Workplace

Verbal aggressiveness in the workplace just like the other forms of bullying has adverse effects on the bullies, the victims, as well as the employers. The major effects emerge in the issues of health of the victims and the overall performance of the organization (Madlock & Kennedy-Lightsey, 2010, p. 47).

Health effects. Verbal aggression attacks the psychological composition of an individual. The result is the emergence of several conditions that include stress and panic. Stress causes some extreme conditions like high blood pressure responsible for some diseases like stroke and diabetes. Anxiety, lack of sleep, and ulcers are the other health effects that emerge because of verbal aggression in the job place (Madlock & Kennedy-Lightsey, 2010, p. 43).

Job performance. The aim of every employer is to get optimal performance out of his employees. However, verbal aggressiveness or any other form of bullying interferes with the self-esteem of various employees, thus making them take a lot of time in hospitals or scheming on how to deal with the bullies. The effect is a loss of time and concentration, which leads to the production of insufficient and substandard goods and services (Madlock & Kennedy-Lightsey, 2010, p. 51). The result is that the organization becomes unable to generate optimum profits, as it will also have to spend colossal amounts of cash on the treatment of the employees.

Persuasive Section

Since verbal aggressiveness is a type of bullying and has a detrimental effect just like the physical bullying, employers have to deal with it effectively; else it destroys an entire organization (Lee & Brotheridge, 2006, p. 361). Calling a spade by its name is the first step in dealing with verbal aggression because it makes the bully know that what he or she is doing is actually interfering with the overall performance of the company. Initiating training programs to educate the employees and employers on the effect and forms of bullying is the other way of ending verbal aggression (Lee & Brotheridge, 2006, p. 372).


Verbal aggressiveness is a form of bullying that exists in several workplaces, yet employees ignore. It is damaging to the health of the victims because it causes a variety of diseases, which include high blood pressure and ulcers among others. Frustration, social learning, and lack of proper verbal skills are the major causes of verbal aggressiveness in any workplace. Name-calling, threat issuance, and nonverbal cues are a few forms of verbal aggressiveness that take place in various organizations. In order to deal with this vice, the victim needs to initiate training and education on the effects of this kind of bullying, because it can render people jobless due to the closure of an organization.


Hershcovis, M. S., Turner, N., Barling, J., Arnold, K. A., Dupré, K. E., Inness, M., … & Sivanathan, N. (2007). Predicting workplace aggression: a meta-analysis. Journal of applied Psychology, 92(1), 228.

Hodson, R., Roscigno, V. J., & Lopez, S. H. (2006). Chaos and the Abuse of Power Workplace Bullying in Organizational and Interactional Context. Work and occupations, 33(4), 382-416.

Lee, R. T., & Brotheridge, C. M. (2006). When prey turns predatory: Workplace bullying as a predictor of counter aggression/bullying, coping, and well-being. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 15(3), 352-377.

Madlock, P. E., & Kennedy-Lightsey, C. (2010). The effects of supervisors’ verbal aggressiveness and mentoring on their subordinates. Journal of Business Communication, 47(1), 42-62.