Bullying in the workplace is gaining the attention of top-level executives and researchers as it drains company financial and managerial resources. The studies conducted focus on identifying bullying behavior, characteristic traits of bullies and their victims, environmental stresses that create a bullying atmosphere, and the lost productivity as an effect of bullying on the employee’s psychological wellbeing. The immaturity of this research topic suggests that by investigating the behavior and finding ways to govern and discipline those responsible for the behavior, it will taper. However, further investigative research on informal learning suggests a long-term effect on the workforce. This paper explores the effects of bullying on the social learning environment of the workplace.
Learning is like the air we breathe, it is natural, abundant, and happens everywhere. It has been the topic of intellectuals, scholars and researchers for over a hundred years. They have defined it, theorized about it, philosophized about it, argued about it, researched it, studied it, and governed it. They have determined how we learn, why we learn, and in what environments we learn the best. In this literature review, we will focus on social learning in the workplace and how bullying affects the learning environment, the learner, and the organization.
Workplace learning is different from the conventional or pedagogical style learning that we are accustomed to from birth. Learning in the workplace is “informal learning” (Ahlgren and Tett, 2010; Collis and Winnips, 2002; Eraut, 2004). Eraut (2004) describes informal learning as having more flexibility and significant social recognition than deliberate pedagogical learning. Eraut (2004) investigated learning in the workplace by conducting interviews, observations and questionnaires along with theoretical frameworks to understand informal learning. His research was significant to understanding the importance of knowing how workplace learning is
THE EFFECTS OF BULLYING ON SOCIAL LEARNING 3
transferred and received, when it is most valuable, and factors that can influence workplace learning. His research showed that a positive, open, flexible environment with good relationships among the employees is more conducive to learning than the negative, restrictive environment with employees who lack self-confidence and support. Eraut (2004) and Collis and Winnips (2002) both agreed that the results of workplace learning was the acquisition of tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is knowledge gained through experiences over time and indistinguishable to the learner (Collis and Winnips 2002; Eraut, 2004). This type of learning is not readily available on the internet or in textbooks, it is not teachable, and it requires a certain culture. Ahlgren and Tett (2010) conducted 14 case studies on various diversified industries in Scotland to...