Workplace bullying : the employee health and wellness response of a provincial department in the Limpopo Province
Banyini, Patricia Theresa
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Workplace bullying has become the most serious contemporary issue that negatively affects organisations socially and economically. Today organisations are faced with the financial burden associated with high staff turnover, absenteeism, low morale, high medical costs and poor performance resulting from bullying in the workplace. Therefore, organisations are focusing on ways and means to address this particular problem. The aim of the study was to explore the subjective experiences of employees regarding workplace bullying and the response of the employee health and wellness section of the Limpopo provincial Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism. This research was also prompted by the challenges the researcher faced as social worker in the Employee Health and Wellness office of said department. The lack of South African research and literature studies on bullying and the response by the public sector also motivated the researcher to conduct the study. The exploratory paradigm was utilised in this study, since limited information was available on the nature and extent of bullying as well as on the response of Employee Health and Wellness office at a provincial department in the Limpopo province. The qualitative research approach was utilised in this study, and questionnaires were used to collect data needed for the project. A purposive sampling method was used to select suitable respondents for the study. Utilising questionnaires, the researcher interviewed 19 employees who had experienced bullying in the department. The research revealed that all of the respondents in the sample had experienced bullying and received support from the departmental Employee Health and Wellness section. Most respondents had a high regard for employee health and wellness services as means of support to cope during difficult times in their careers. The research findings, however, also indicated that some respondents sought help from outside. The study also revealed that more effort should be focused on implementing employee health and wellness programmes as preventative approach. It is further recommended that employee health and wellness programmes should be pro-actively applied to include educational workshops and awareness programmes on the impact of workplace bullying and its associated economical and psychological implications on both the organisation and the individual in order to prevent it.
- Humanities