What Is Populism and How to Mitigate It?

Author: A. A. Gede Basawantara

The 2016 US Presidential Election, Brexit, and Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen

Ever wonder how politicians like Donald Trump gain supporters? In ways that seem unusual, Donald Trump is widely known for his controversial presidential campaign, mainly his racist attitude. Yet, why are there people that still voted for him? Scholars called this phenomenon as ‘Populism’. Traced back since as early as Julius Caesar, populism, as according to Ganon et al. (2018), is defined as “…[T]he invocation of “the people” who are betrayed, wronged, or otherwise left vulnerable to forces outside their control.”

Based on the aforementioned definition, populism has several main traits. First, populism involves a homogenous group of people that feel “angry” and “resented” by the government. Second, populism is “… typically a reaction to a deep crisis, real or perceived.” These crises include economic crises (i.e. financial crisis, job losses), security crises (i.e. terrorism, climate change), and sovereignty crises (i.e. immigration). Finally, populism is typically an instrument of politics in a form of identity politics – where populists raise the notion of The Pure People vs. The Corrupt Elites.

In order to visualize these traits, let us take a look at a character from the Game of Thrones series, Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains. After witnessing the horrific condition of the people in the Slaver’s Bay, the Dragon Queen pledged herself to liberate all slaves in the area; encouraging them to stand against their ‘corrupt elites’, toppling down the elites, taking power, ruling over cities, and promoting “No More Slaves” notion. Similarly, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign promotes how the people should rise against the corrupt political elites while simultaneously taking advantage of his supporters’ emotions that are against immigrants, promoting “Make America Great Again” notion.

With that being said, does populism always come like that? Müller (2016) and Gagnon et al. argues that there are two types of populism, which are Right Populism – imbued with emotions, addressing crises through acts of racism, xenophobia, neonationalism, and sexism – and Left Populism – focuses on protecting democracy, upholding egalitarianism, and open to immigration. A very vivid example of these types of populism are Donald Trump – whose behavior depicts a Right-wing populist – and Bernie Sanders – whose behavior depicts Left-wing populist. However, Gagnon et al. (2018) disagree that populists can only be categorized into two polar. Gagnon et al. offer six cleavages in order to analyze a populist more comprehensively, which are: (1) Authoritarian vs. Democratic; (2) Market Fundamentalist vs. Redistributive; (3) Exclusionary vs. Inclusionary; (4) Xenophobic vs. Cosmopolitan; (5) Electoral vs. Participatory; and (6) Nostalgic vs. Aspirational. Through this, Gagnon et al. argue that even though Trump and Sanders are respectively authoritarian and democratic populists, both of them are also electoral populists (gain power in the government through the vote of the people).

Then, what are the impacts of populism? Let us take the case of Brexit as an example. In 2016, around 51 percent of population in the United Kingdom (UK) voted to leave the European Union (EU), mainly due to the voters’ resentment of immigrants in the UK. This phenomenon sparks the rise of racially-motivated crimes in the UK, reaching up to 70,000 reports in 2017-2018. Consequently, Brexit has resulted in the decline in the UK’s GDP by 2% in the first quarter of 2019 and has created uncertainty towards its international partners.

How do we mitigate populism? Cas Mudde and Antonio Argandoña offer several ideas to mitigate the issues caused by populism. First, political parties (established and emerging) should seek to propose inclusive visions and programs that deliver benefits for all citizens, not only for a part of the voters. Second, social media should be regulated and held accountable for damaging a pluralistic, fact-based and hate-free political debate, in the same way as traditional media. Third, participatory and deliberative platforms and initiatives (citizens’ assemblies, juries, forums) should be embedded into the decision-making processes to balance the oligarchic tendencies of electoral democracy. This could help to minimize a government to be out-of-reach and the people to feel being resented by the government. Finally, revising macroeconomic, taxation, industrial and commercial policies – for policies that are seem to create inequality among the people.
As the cherry on top, one question remains: is populism good or bad? We leave that for you to decide.


Mietzner, Marcus. Reinventing Asian Populism: Jokowi’s Rise Democracy, and Political Contestation in Indonesia. Honolulu: East-West Center, 2015
Müller, Jan-Werner. What is Populism?. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016

Argandoña, Antonio. “Why Populism Is Rising And How To Combat It”, Forbes, January 24, 2017. Accessed July 10, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/iese/2017/01/24/why-populism-is-rising-and-how-to-combat-it/#629301491d44
Gagnon, Jean-Paul, Emily Beausoleil, Kyong-Min Son, Cleve Arguelles, Pierrick Chalaye, Callum N. Johnston. “What is Populism? Who is the Populist?” Democratic Theory 5, no. 2 (2018)

Mudde, Cas. “How Can Liberals Defeat Populism? Here are Four Ideas.” The Guardian, February 13, 2018. Accessed July 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/13/liberals-populism-world-forum-democracy-5-ideas
“Brexit ‘Major Influence’ in Racism and Hate Crime Rise.” BBC, June 20, 2019. Accessed July 10, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-48692863
“What Effect has Brexit had on the UK Economy?” BBC, February 10, 2019. Accessed July 10, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47168866

Automation and Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe?

Author: Graciotto Van Handriyanto

“Will I lose my job?”

Millions of labors asked the same questions to their employer, government, and ultimately to the future. The rise of automation, be it by a simple robotics or a more complex artificial intelligence seems to make blue collar labor an ineffective means of production. Martin Ford, an American Futurist writes in his book Rise of Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

“As robotics and advanced self-service technologies are increasingly deployed across nearly every sector of the economy, they will primarily threaten lower-wage jobs that requires modest levels of education and training. These jobs, however, currently make up the vast majority of the new positions being generate by the economy…”[1]

This issue transcends the concern of United States and developed countries and it even resonances throughout the globe inquiring states to decide a stance, are robots and AI a friend or foe?

To answer this question, we need to look back to the past and see how this very question has been perpetuated for decades. Thanks to innovations, machines and technologies has been constantly replacing human, and most of the time it is rather unpleasant.  The creation of digital camera for an example, renders the service of photo development shops useless. During the 1950s and early 1960, the concerns over automation and joblessness was so strong that the in 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson creates the “Blue-Ribbon National Commission on Technology, Automation, and Economic Progress” to confront the productivity problem of that period. [2] Matthew Yglesias argues that apparently despite of all the tragedy of innovations, the society as a whole always thrive. Innovations leads to a huge leap forward and on average, job growth continued and living standard rises.[3]

So, what happened? For starters, automation allows people to work less. Historically speaking, people work less hours and the economy doesn’t fail. Take employment to population ratio as an example, it grows from 55% in the 1950 to an average of 60% in 1980[4]. Wages also rose faster than inflation, generating wealth and welfare for the society in general. This too reduces inequality due to the fact that advance technologies are accessible to everyone instead of only limited to a small group of elites.

What’s next? The technology has evolved, creating changes beyond basic mechanical function. The rise of A.I leads to advance automation such as self-driving car or home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. Frey and Osborne wrote in their working paper that as technology advances and goes forward, low-skill workers will reallocate to tasks that are non-susceptible to computerization such as tasks that requires creative and social intelligence, and as such creative and social skill are necessary to win the race.[5] But in order to be utilized by the general public, technological advances needs to be accompanied by companies that can use them and the creation of practical products of the technology. Vox’s Ezra Klein argues that “developing technology turns out to be a lot easier than getting people – and particularly companies – to use it properly.”[6]

Friend or Foe? Changes would always be surprising for some, but in general it’s necessary to understand that it’s a step toward the future. Automation and artificial intelligence take our job, but jobs change throughout the years. Understand that all these technological developments are no foe, they assist us on daily basis and makes life easier for everyone. Man needs to adapt to the new form of jobs that requires creative and social skill and create companies that makes these advancements be used by and benefitting everyone. So, embrace technology as your friend and utilize its never-ending potential.


[1] Martin Ford, Rise of Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future (New York: Basic Books, 2015), 26

[2] David H. Autor, “Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation,” Journal of Economic Perspectives Vol. 29, No. 3 (2015): 3-4

[3] Matthew Yglesias, “The automation myth,” Vox, published on July 2015, and accessed on April 8th 2019, https://www.vox.com/2015/7/27/9038829/automation-myth

[4] “Database, Tables & Calculators by Subject: Employment-Population Ratio,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed April 28th 2019, https://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet

[5] Carl B. Frey and Michael A. Osborne, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerization?” Technological Forecasting and Social Change No. 114 (2017):269

[6] Ezra Klein, “Technology is changing ho we live, but it needs to change how we work,” Vox, last updated September, 2016, and accessed on April 8th, 2019, https://www.vox.com/a/new-economy-future/technology-productivity

Climate Change and The Fall of The Mayan Civilization: Are They Connected?

Author: Natasya Fila Rais

Climate change, also called global warming, refers to the rise in average surface temperatures on Earth.[1] There has been a few debates on whether climate change is real or not. There is a broad agreement that says climate change is real. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concur that climate change is indeed occurring and is almost certainly due to human activity.[2] An overwhelming scientific consensus maintains that climate change is due primarily to the human use of fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. The gases trap heat within the atmosphere, which can have a range of effects on ecosystems, including rising sea levels, severe weather events, and droughts that render landscapes more susceptible to wildfires.[3] Human activities, such as deforestation and agriculture, are believed to contribute to climate change.

Climate change can cause the rising of the Earth’s temperature.  The earth’s average temperature has gone up 1.4° F over the past century and is expected to rise as much as 11.5° F over the next.[4] The temperature rising can cause the polar ice caps to melt, which will lead to the rising of the sea level. Such rising will cause more frequent and dangerous storm, rapid intensity of rainfall, flood, and threaten animal habitats and endangered species.

The Maya Empire, became an influential ancient civilization in the sixth century A.D. It was located on the Yucatan Peninsula and region that is now known as Guatemala. The Maya excelled at agriculture, pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar-making and mathematics, and left behind an astonishing amount of impressive architecture and symbolic artwork.[5] The declining of the Mayan civilization was claimed to be one of the most mysterious declining processes among other ancient civilizations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed.[6] Prior to the development of the drought theory on Mayan civilization’s demise, researchers had suggested soil erosion as the cause of the civilization’s downfall.[7] Soil erosion happened as a result of the Mayans chopping down forests in order to create farmlands. The environment where the Mayans lived could no longer sustain the lives of the people there. Extreme and intense period of drought was believed to be one of the reasons why the Maya civilization collapsed. Other Maya scholars argue that constant warfare among competing city-states led the complicated military, family (by marriage) and trade alliances between them to break down, along with the traditional system of dynastic power.[8]

Looking at the cause of the declining of the Mayan civilization, it is believed that climate change is the primary reason why the aforementioned collapsed. Scholars, scientists, and historians who are experts on the Mayan civilization are still arguing on the fact. The declining of the Mayan civilization is suspected to be caused by soil erosion, drought, deforestation, and warfare. During the modern day, soil erosion, drought, and deforestation are considered as a few factors that contribute to climate change. From such perspective, it is believed that the Mayan civilization collapsed because of the climate change. The Yucatan Peninsula, where the Mayans were located, is a seasonal desert. The region depends on heavy summer rains that provide as much as 90 percent of the annual precipitation.[9] Precipitation happened rapidly across the peninsula. Surface water often dissolves the limestone bedrock of the Yucatán, and also creates caves and underground rivers.[10] David A. Hodell had proposed the idea of the drought theory in 1995 after analyzing sediment records in Lake Chichancanab. The lake is located in Yucatán, Mexico and possesses gastropod and ostracod shells with varying levels of the isotope 18O. A small percent of H218O naturally resides in the lake water, but when temperatures rise, the proportion of H218O becomes greater.[11] Douglas Kennett’s data also show particularly long droughts between 200-300 C.E., 820-870 C.E., 1020-1100 C.E., and 1530-580 C.E. Short but very severe droughts also occurred in 420, 930, and 1800 C.E.[12]

From the data provided, it could be possible for the Mayan civilization to collapse because of the climate change, as the phenomenon that happened during those times was similar to the cause of climate change in this era. However, it is said that warfare also contributed to the collapsing Mayan civilization, so natural phenomenon is not the sole cause of the declining of the civilization. The warfare itself contributes to the death of the Mayans, not only through war, but also through extreme food shortage.

In conclusion, debates are still happening between scholars and the Maya civilization expertise whether the cause of the Mayan civilization to decline is because of climate change. However, looking at the history, phenomenon, such as deforestation, drought, and soil erosion, happened very often in the area. If we bring back those causes to the modern times, what happened during the collapsing of the Mayan civilization was aligned to the causes of climate change that we have known and scientists have concluded. It might not seem as though climate change is the primary cause of the declining, however natural disasters might contribute as the catalysts of the declining of the Mayan civilization.


  1. History.com Staff (2009) “Maya” Retrieved April 22, 2018, from, https://www.history.com/topics/maya
  2. Mott, Nicholas (2012) “Why the Maya Fell: Climate Change, Conflict – And a Trip to the Beach?” Retrieved April 22, 2018, from, https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/11/121109-maya-civilization-climate-change-belize-science/
  3. Oh, Na Eun (2013) “Climate Change and the Decline of Mayan Civilization” Retrieved April 22, 2018, from, http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/2013/03/climate-change-and-the-decline-of-mayan-civilization/#.WtyWIdRubIU
  4. Takepart (n.d.) “What is Climate Change?” Retrieved April 22, 2018, from, http://www.takepart.com/flashcards/what-is-climate-change/


[1] Takepart (n.d.) “What is Climate Change?” Retrieved April 22, 2018, from, http://www.takepart.com/flashcards/what-is-climate-change/

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] History.com Staff (2009) “Maya” Retrieved April 22, 2018, from, https://www.history.com/topics/maya

[6] Ibid.

[7] Oh, Na Eun (2013) “Climate Change and the Decline of Mayan Civilization” Retrieved April 22, 2018, from, http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/2013/03/climate-change-and-the-decline-of-mayan-civilization/#.WtyWIdRubIU

[8] History.com Staff (2009) “Maya” Retrieved April 22, 2018, from, https://www.history.com/topics/maya

[9] Oh, Na Eun (2013) “Climate Change and the Decline of Mayan Civilization” Retrieved April 22, 2018, from, http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/2013/03/climate-change-and-the-decline-of-mayan-civilization/#.WtyWIdRubIU

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

Depression: A Threat to Economy

Author: Anisa Indira

Recently, mental health has been one of the world’s main concerns, especially to the World Health Organization (WHO). From their annual campaign, WHO specified 2017’s campaign for depression through Depression: Let’s Talk. They addressed people to take care of depression seriously since, although common, depression can create severe effects to the bearer (World Health Organization, 2017). In 2012, WHO announced that clinical depression has become an epidemic. Clinical Depression or simply Depression is a mental illness categorized as mood disorder which is triggered by prolonged stress. Depression affects the bearer in mood changes—such as sudden irritability and constant sadness—and in other health condition like gastritis and nerve damage (National Institute of Mental Health America, 2014). The emotional instability which people with depression face will often cause trouble to their daily activity. Often times, people with depression will feel hopeless and empty, which can lead to death by suicide.

Although the United Nations has published mental health guidelines for its member countries as an effort to reduce suicide rate caused by depression, the number still has not decreased significantly up until now—in average, 800.000 people die from suicide globally every year with the majority of the victims in their productive age (ages 15 to 29) (World Health Organization, 2018). The cause may vary; ranging from stress from economic condition to toxic intrapersonal relationship. Hence, this becomes a huge issue to many countries with demography problems. Nations with a low birth rate will find this issue as  concerning to avoid human resources shortage. Not only is suicide the main problem, but the disability that depression has caused to young people will make them unable to perform well in work. As a result, a state may have to bear the extra cost of mental health care to treat its citizens. The risk of economic loss is one of the main reason why depression is taken seriously globally (Wang, 2003).

In order to understand why depression can be harmful to the economy, we will take a look at an example. East Asia is a region with a shared demographic problem: a rapidly ageing population. Low birth rate coupled with a high population of elderly people are ticking time bombs that can lead to a population deficit—it even has happened to Japan, with a -0.27% deficit from 2017 to 2018 and a -30% deficit expectancy in 2050 (United Nations Population Department, 2018). Population regeneration is undoubtedly necessary to sustain development growth as part of human resources regeneration—it is the fundamental feature of an economic cycle (Lee, Mason, & Park, 2011). The elderly are less productive (or not productive at all) and more consumptive, while young people have more time and capabilities to work. A poor ratio between the elderly and productive young people will be a burden for the economy as its spending rate would well surpass its income rate. With that problem, East Asia is at risk to having unstable growth in the future, and high suicide rates among young people is not helping at all.

Another problem we will most likely face is a less productive population. With many young people suffering depression, they will be more hesitant to function properly at work. People with depression may find it hard to concentrate with their work or find joy in their activities due to a chemical imbalance (World Health Organization, 2012). Many cases happen where people with major depressive disorder (a spectrum of clinical depression) find it hard to find the motivation to go out and work. Most of them cannot leave the safety and comfort of their own spaces from the lack of energy—one of the symptoms of depression. Failing to perform well at work or being unable to work at all may obviously lead to unemployment, which would further burden the economy.

Raising awareness is a start to tackle this issue. Some people still find depression as a taboo topic (e.g. among Asians) which makes depression stigmatized. The stigmas around depression as a bizarre illness makes some people with depression hesitant to seek for professional help (Overton, 2008). With campaigns that show depression as a ‘normal’ health condition and clinically proven, it will be easier for people to understand that depression needs medical and psychological treatment. This approach can also make the family and close ones of people with depression to have supportive behaviors. Depending on the person, it usually will take a long time to cure depression (National Institute of Mental Health America, 2014). Less negative attitude from other people will ease the stress better. Another way we can take to prevent depression from crumbling the economy apart is to ensure that they get proper treatment with decent health facilities. Certified psychologists and psychiatrists, government or non-government bodies that are responsible in spreading information about mental health, hospitals, also appropriate medication are necessary to solve the problems we face at hand. With that being carried out, we would be able to lessen the economic burden caused by clinical depression.


  1. Lee, S.-H., Mason, A., & Park, D. (2011). Why Does Population Aging Matter So Much for Asia? Population Aging, Economic Security and Economic Growth in Asia. ERIA Paper Discussion Series .
  2. National Institute of Mental Health America. (2014). Mental Health: Depression.
  3. Overton, S. (2008). The Stigma of Mental Illness.
  4. United Nations Population Department. (2018). Global Mortality by Suicide. Retrieved from www.
  5. Wang, P. S. (2003). The Economic Burden of Depression and the Cost-Effectiveness of Treatment.
  6. World Health Organization. (2012). Depression: A Global Public Health Concern. Retrieved from www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/who_paper_depression_wfmh.pdf.
  7. World Health Organization. (2017). Depression: Let’s Talk.
  8. World Health Organization. (2018). Mental Health: Suicide Data. Retrieved from www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicideprevent/en.

Workplace Bullying: A Step Closer to Economic Downturn for Company

Author: Muhammad Fandy Zainuddin

One of the greatest assets that a company owns is their people; both the employers and the employee. And yet, it is ironic to learn that some companies are apparently in the midst of constant queries about whether they have taken care of this asset well, or perhaps that is one thing that they pay measly attention to. While we understand that companies are valued based on how much net income they could generate periodically, it is also essential for us to realize that all of those wealth will never happen without the dedication of all the people who work for them. In short, it is also about the human capital that the company has. Out of so many factors that constitute the human capital of the company, the mental well-being of the employee remains as one of the reasons why the company fails to fully leverage this significant asset.

As much as it’s often associated with, one of the major contributors of mental health disruption is bullying. Bullying knows no place nor time. It happens now and then, here and there. It could happen at home, school, social media, and also at the workplace. Due to the vast scope of its reach, the perpetrator of bullying can also be anyone. When we apply that principle to a company, bullying could occur in between employees, employers, employees and customers, and often times, between employers and employee. According to the research conducted by H. Hoel and C.L. Cooper, most of the perpetrators are supervisors. The second most common group is peers, followed by subordinates and customers1. This fact leads to another confusion on how does bullying exactly hatch and flourish within the company, and how does it actually occur.

The term workplace bullying itself was first initiated in 1992 in a book by Andrea Adams, where she talked about how to confront and overcome the perpetual issue that had never been addressed at that time.2 Meanwhile, it piques one’s interest that there hasn’t even been one universally accepted formal definition of what workplace bullying is ever since then.      Many researchers have endeavored to define it, namely Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf and Cooper3 who defined “Bullying at work means harassing, offending, socially excluding someone or negatively affecting someone’s work tasks. In order for the label bullying (or mobbing) to be applied to a particular activity, interaction or process it has to occur repeatedly and regularly (e.g. weekly) and over a period of time (e.g. about six months). Bullying is an escalated process in the course of which the person confronted ends up in an inferior position and becomes the target of systematic negative social acts.” On the same matter, Catherine Mattice and Karen Garman define workplace bullying with its effect to the economic viability of the company as “Systematic aggressive communication, manipulation of work, and acts aimed at humiliating or degrading one or more individual that create an unhealthy and unprofessional power imbalance between bully and target(s), result in psychological consequences for targets and co-workers, and cost enormous monetary damage to an organization’s bottom line”.4

Drawing a conclusion from the intersection of the two definitions offered, workplace bullying is characterized by any degrading or humiliating action that is done in repetition within a timely duration, including increasing aggression and existing power disparity. The examples of workplace bullying may include unwarranted or invalid criticism, being treated differently than the rest of the group, verbal abuse, being shouted at or being humiliated, excessive monitoring or micro-managing, being given unrealistic deadlines, being the target of practical jokes, blamed without justification, exclusion or social isolation, physical intimidation, excessive micro-managing, purposely withholding vital information, setting impossible goals for subordinates to reach, blocking potential training and employment, tampering with an employee’s personal belongings, and removing areas of responsibility without cause5. With all those examples of misconduct mentioned, it would be easier for us to identify how many workers are trapped within the workplace bullying prison and how much it economically costs the company.

According to a survey, 19%of employees have suffered workplace bullying at work, another 19% have witnessed it, and 63% are aware that workplace bullying happens. Another statistic also shows that in the United States of America, 60,3 millions of workers are affected by workplace bullying, in which that number is equivalent to a combined population of six western states6. With that numbers showcased, it’s no longer surprising that the effect of workplace bullying is growing even larger from the disrupted mental wellbeing and anxiety of the workers into the decline of company productivity, resulting with unavoidable economic loss.

Several studies have tried to quantify the cost that workplace bullying incurs to the company. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety Health (NIOSH) mental illness among the workforce leads to a loss in employment amounting to $19 billion and a drop in productivity of $3 billion (Sauter, et al., 1990). In a report commissioned by the ILO, Hoel, Sparks, & Cooper did a comprehensive analysis of the costs involved in bullying. They estimated a cost of 1.88 billion pounds plus the cost of lost productivity7. This number of loss is believed to be caused by human resources mismanagement where companies have neglected intangible assets such as the mental wellbeing of their own workers and resulting with the crystallization of bullying within the company’s culture.

To rectify this, there are a number of solutions that could be implemented by the Human Resources Department of a company, which includes:8

Workplace Policy & Procedures

A strong policy and workable procedures are key to managing workplace bullying and harassment issues. The policy should include a statement of commitment from senior management, making clear that it is unlawful, will not be tolerated and may be treated as a disciplinary offence. It should provide examples of unacceptable behaviour, outline prevention steps the organisation takes, and responsibilities of supervisory staff. It should define formal and informal grievance procedures, with clear processes for reporting bullying and harassment, information on investigation procedures and timelines, disciplinary procedures, and the rights of the employee under the existing regulations, including confidentiality and the right to be accompanied at grievance hearings.

Workplace Culture

Workplace behaviour, attitudes and knowledge are as important as policies and procedures. Managers should be trained in all aspects of the organisation’s policies as well as the company’s expectations, as it is often the behaviour of supervisory employees that drive the culture of an organisation. Additionally, all staff should be aware of the company’s standards of behaviour. An organisational statement is helpful in ensuring individuals are fully aware of their responsibilities, and what constitutes bullying and harassment. Guidance booklets and training sessions are also useful ways of increasing awareness of the damage bullying and harassment can do to an organisation and individual.

Dealing with Complaints

Employers must take reasonable and proportionate action upon receipt of a complaint of bullying and / or harassment. It should be investigated promptly and objectively with evidence gathered from all relevant sources before a decision is made.


  1. Informal Resolution: In some cases, matters may be rectified informally through discussions with the individual about their behaviour and agreement that it will cease. You can offer support from another staff member, a manager, an employee representative or a counsellor, either in-house or via a counselling service.
  2. Mediation: Mediation is a voluntary process where an independent third person finds a solution to the issue that both parties can both agree to. Mediators may be employees trained to act as internal mediators, or from an external mediation provider.
  3. Disciplinary Procedures: If you decide that the matter is a disciplinary issue, it needs to be managed formally according to the organisation’s disciplinary procedure, with a focus on fairness to both the complainant and accused. The Acas Code of Practice sets out principles for handling disciplinary and grievance situations, and employment tribunals are legally required to take the Code into account when considering cases.



  1. HOEL, H. and COOPER, C.L., 2000. Destructive conflict and bullying at work. Manchester School of Management, UMIST Manchester, UK., http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0950017010389228
  2. Rayner, C., & Cooper, C. L. (2006). Workplace Bullying. In Kelloway, E., Barling, J. & Hurrell Jr., J. (eds.), Handbook of workplace violence (pp. 47-90). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  3. Stale Einarsen, Helge Hoel, Cary Cooper (2003). Bullying and emotional abuse in the workplace: International perspectives in research and practice. London: Taylor and Francis. p. 15.
  4. Mattice, C.M., & Garman, K. (June 2010). Proactive Solutions for Workplace Bullying: Looking at the Benefits of Positive Psychology”. Archived from the original on 4 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  5. Jenni Gobind, Human Capital Review . Workplace Bullying: The Practical Application for Human Resource Practitioners. http://www.humancapitalreview.org/content/default.asp?Article_ID=1364
  6. Gary Namie, PhD, Workplace Bullying Institute (2017).S. Workplace Bullying Survey. http://workplacebullying.org
  7. “The cost of violence and bullying at work”. International Labour Organization (ILO). Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  8. Libby Calaby (October 2016). Does Your Organization Properly Tackle Workplace Bullying. Human Results UK http://humanresults.co.uk/organisation-properly-tackle-workplace-bullying/