Workplace competition? 工作單位裏的競爭?

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Image caption Bullying can make workers very depressed

Vocabulary: bullying 詞匯: 以強凌弱

Competition in the workplace can be fierce but how far should people go to succeed? Bullying has become a common word in business in the 21st century. The aggressive boss, the intimidating colleague - do they just come with the territory? Do we have to suffer in silence? Is bullying just part of human nature?

Modern companies value cooperation. People's wellbeing can increase productivity and many countries have introduced laws against bullying, which have become part of the companies' human resources policy.

And what sort of behaviour falls into this category? Even experts recognise it could be difficult to define exactly what constitutes bullying. Helene Guldberg has a PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Manchester in the UK. She says bullying is "something that is intentional and involves some kind of power imbalance, so it's not an argument between equals".

The specialist adds that bullying behaviour is something that is repetitive. "It's not a one-off rage by one person against another", warns Guldberg.

A 2014 survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute in the US has suggested that 27% of Americans have suffered abusive conduct at work; another 21% have witnessed it.

You could say that some individuals are just more confident and demanding than others. They might be seen as bullies but believe they didn't mean to cause any harm. There is even a new expression for them: "alpha males".

But Darren Treadway, at State University of New York, has studied bullying in the workplace and come to believe that it's all about perception.

He says that supervisors have a responsibility as communicators to make sure that subordinates are getting an accurate perception of their behaviour.

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