A report on the National Survey of Staff Experiences of Bullying in Higher Education Institutions, showed that 33.5% of higher education staff have experienced bullying in the workplace.
The report, which was commissioned by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, was conducted anonymously. It surveyed 20 publicly funded Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
A total of 3,835 HEI staff engaged in the online survey, which covered demographics and work arrangements, negative acts at work, bullying and cyberbullying, bystander behaviour, anti-bullying culture and team psychological safety.
Data was collected during the Covid-19 pandemic, the press release specified.
The survey contained five sections, covering demographics and work arrangements, negative acts at work, bullying and cyberbullying, bystander behaviour, anti-bullying culture and awareness of anti-bullying policies and team psychological safety and work demands.
28% of those surveyed reported “occasional” work-oriented negative acts,which meant targeting someone’s professional standing. 26% reported person-oriented negative acts, which meant targeting someone’s personal standing.
An average of 32.9% of the respondents reported cyberbullying at work. 33.5% reported having been bullied at work within the past three years, with 70.6% of them having been bullied for several months.
In 55% of cases, the perpetrator of bullying was a senior colleague, while peer bullying accounted for 24.6% of cases.
Minority groups such as the LGBTQ+ community, disabled people and ethnic minorities were more likely to endure negative acts, bullying and cyberbullying at work.
Only 20.8% of respondents agreed that the anti-bullying policy and procedures at their HEI contributed to effectively protecting all staff members. However, 64.5% of respondents indicated that they were aware their HEI had an anti-bullying policy.
This survey also assessed organisational factors that may lead to bullying. Heavy workloads constituted an issue for 35.8% of respondents, while 34% indicated that their personal life suffered due to work.
Over a third of respondents, 36.2% reported that they felt valued in their work. 47.6% agreed that members of their team felt they can bring up problems and difficult issues.