Research into victimisation at work

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CYBERBULLYING through email, text and web posts is as common in the workplace as conventional bullying – but is even more difficult to uncover, according to Sheffield University experts.

Occupational psychologists Dr Christine Sprigg, Dr Carolyn Axtell and Sam Farley turned the focus of their investigation to the cyberbullying of adult workers, instead of younger people in schools, which has so far attracted more attention.

Details of what they found will be revealed at a seminar at the Showroom Workstation on Paternoster Row tonight from 5pm until 8pm. The team will also make suggestions on how employers should tackle and prevent cyberbullying in the workplace.

They believe the problem will become more important as communication technologies continue to become more widespread.

The study included three separate surveys among employees in several UK universities.

Respondents were given a list of what can be classed as bullying, such as being humiliated, ignored or gossiped about, and were asked if they had faced such behaviour online and how often.

Of the 320 people who responded, eight in 10 had experienced one of the behaviours in the previous six months.

“Our research showed cyberbullying has a stronger impact on employee mental strain and job satisfaction than face-to-face bullying,” said Dr Axtell.