When it comes to workplace bullying, women are no different and no worse than men, except in one respect: Women more often target other women.
According to one study cited in the Harvard Business Review, men tend to be equal opportunity bullies — targeting men and women about equally. Not so with women, who target other women in more than seven out of every 10 instances.
Some other findings:
- Instances of verbal abuse are more commonly committed by men (57%) than women (41%), but
- Women (54%) are more likely than men (41%) to engage in more subtle forms of bullying, such as sabotaging another’s work, and
- Women (50%) are more likely than men (45%) to abuse their authority over subordinates.
The study goes on to issue a warning to HR managers: Left unchecked, bullying becomes the norm as a business culture. That is, managers and subordinates begin to think of bullying as a standard way of doing business. And in such environments, productivity invariably goes down and turnover goes up.