Employment Law & HR News & Updates.

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Two-thirds of women bullied by female colleagues

A recent survey discovered that two-thirds of women have experienced bullying from female colleagues.

The results of the survey, published in the journal Development and Learning Organisations, described such bullying as ‘Queen Bee Syndrome’. The syndrome details women treating other women in a demoralising, undermining and bullying manner within the workplace. The research discusses the syndrome and emphasises that bullying behaviour should not be confused with ambitious female colleagues.

When discussing the findings, Cecilia Harvey, author of the research stated: “Queen Bees are adult versions of the mean girls from school — but now they have grown up and are more calculating. These socially aggressive behaviours include gossiping, social exclusion, social isolation, social alienation, talking about someone, and stealing friends or romantic partners.”

The results show that 70% of women have experienced bullying from a female boss and 33% have been victims of bullying from their fellow female colleagues. When asked about ‘Queen Bee Syndrome’ almost 75% of respondents stated they believed the bullying behaviour stemmed from a place of insecurity or the desire to be the only strong woman with power in the workplace.

These findings coincide with the results of a survey undertaken by the Workplace Bullying Institute. They discovered that 58% of workplace bullies are women and that the majority of female bullies target other women coworkers over men.

Harvey explained the importance of putting an end to ‘Queen Bee Syndrome’, stating that in order to put an end to bullying in the workplace: “Management must develop a more complex and realistic image of woman that includes recognition of their aggressive tendencies and the form of victimisation females are more likely to use.”

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