On Horizontal Violence

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					Heidi Cowie, RSW

On Horizontal Violence
No matter whether it’s called inter-group conflict, interpersonal conflict or
bullying, horizontal violence is a significant issue. It happens in any arena where
there are unequal power relations and is broadly defined as repeated
unreasonable and inappropriate actions and practices that are directed to one or
more workers, which are unwanted by the victim. It may be initiated deliberately
or unconsciously and inevitably causes humiliation, offence and distress. It
interferes with job performance and has damaging long-term effects on recipients.

British research shows that one-third to a half of stress related illness is due to workplace
bullying. A report tabled in British parliament, noted that an estimated 40 million working
days are lost each year because of bullying at work - more than 160 times the number of
days lost through strikes. As well, 25% of targets of bullying will leave that job, as will 20%
of witnesses. 35% of those who leave do so very quietly, without any feedback. Studies by
Dr Rayner (UK) have found that 51% of victims changed jobs because of bullying.

Examples of horizontal violence can run the gamut from belittling gestures like a deliberate
rolling of the eyes or crossing of the arms, to sarcastic remarks and slurs, to fault-finding,
elitist attitudes, behaviours that seek control and punishing activities by management. For
recipients, it can result in sleep disorders, poor self-esteem, depression and of course,
removal from the workplace through sick leave, stress leave or resignation. The “hard cost”
of bullying is increased absentism and a high employee turnover rate. The “soft cost” is
heightened stress on remaining staff to deal with the increased work load. In turn, this can
often lead to added tension, brain drain, family problems, and dependency issues.


    In Service “Health Break”                      Team Workshop                       Individual
An impactful half-hour of useful            A 3-hour on-site workshop for              By appointment.
tactics to combat Horizontal Violence.      Team Administrators.

*   Identifying behaviours                  * Rating the depth of conflict
*   Problem-solving techniques              * Discovering barriers to
*   Controlling anger                        effective communication
*   Strategies for change                   * Conflict resolution skills
*   Effective tips & exercises              * Positive role modelling
                                            * Detailed strategies and
                                             techniques for change.
                                                                                                 Heidi Cowie
$225                                        $700

                    Suite 318 – 2349 Fairview Street, Burlington, ON L7R 2E3 Tel: 905-634-9291
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