chapter  7
17 Pages

The Ethical Dimensions of Bullying

ByTricia Bertram Gallant

Dulce’s comment above, in response to a New York Times health column entitled “Have you been bullied at work?” (Pope, 2008), dramatically paints a portrait of workplace bullying in the halls of the academy. Earlier chapters in this volume support this portrait and clearly establish bullying as a wrongful behavior that involves at least one victim and one perpetrator. When a wrongful behavior is identifi ed, the typical organizational response is to establish rules that articulate prohibited behaviors and create policies that delineate the process for dealing with perpetrators. This emphasis on the “victim-perpetrator dimension” (LaVan & Martin, 2008) may, however, encourage a focus on achieving compliance rather than on facilitating and supporting individual and organizational ethicality. Articulating shared standards and establishing policies for dealing with undesirable behaviors can be helpful, but to be successful, they need to be part of a larger organizational strategy to support ethical “conduct that is honest, transparent, and accountable to higher-order principles (such as do more good than harm),” even “when there may not be a law or rule to guide behaviors, or when there may be no known resolution to confl icting interests, needs, or demands (Bertram Gallant, Beesemyer, & Kezar, 2009, p. 201).