02 Feb 2016
Many workers are embarrassed and defamed at the hands of cyberbullies, says Dr Felicity Lawrence from Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
Dr Lawrence surveyed more than 600 public sector workers nationally and found 72 per cent had reported experiencing or observing cyberbullying over the past six months. Also, 74 per cent of those surveyed ranked their workplace as highly stressful, she said in a media statement.
Some of those surveyed had received aggressive and bullying emails, YouTube videos or social media posts from colleagues and clients who didn’t like decisions they had made that affected them, Dr Lawrence added.
“The public servants I surveyed indicated there’s a kind of ‘cyber-underground’ that has created a hidden negative online workplace culture where some employees feel they are free to harass and bully one another and yet remain unaccountable for their behaviour,” Dr Lawrence said.
The costs of cyberbullying are high. “The implications of this research are critical for Australian organisations looking to grow into the future,” Dr Lawrence said. “Traditional workplace bullying costs the national economy up to $36 billion each year, so the cost of cyberbullying [for] productivity could be profound.”