Bullying is a complex social problem and transcends age, nationality, or ethnicity. A significant portion of the population has seen or experienced bullying at some point in an individual’s life, which has a prevalence rate of 35% (Modecki et al. 607). Notably, the increased adoption of information technologies in recent years has led to bullying in digital media, also called cyberbullying. The internet allows anonymity, which has prompted cyberbullies to perpetrate online bullying on their victims at any time and place. One of the places where cyberbullying has become prevalent in the workplace since most operations are digitized. The effects of cyberbullying are comparable to those of traditional bullying, and if not addressed quickly, it may have long-term consequences for a person’s mental health (Piotrowski 45). That is why addressing workplace cyberbullying has become a priority to ensure high-performance workplaces and improve the health and wellness of employees. Nevertheless, it threatens the peace of mind of many people who are unaware of the bullying or choose not to report it. While cyberbullying is often unnoticed at work, the WCM is a valid and feasible instrument for HRMs to identify and create interventions with a behavioral scale, although it puts employees’ data at risk.
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Cyberbullying often goes unnoticed at the workplace since few people understand its nature. Cyberbullying may not be easier to notice compared to traditional bullying because the concept of cyberbullying is not well defined (Peebles 527). It is prevalent in workplaces because human resource professionals have significant challenges in setting its laws (Samara et al. 14). As a result, it is critical to speak out against it, which may be accomplished through raising awareness. Starting a discourse about cyberbullying makes individuals more aware of the problem and can better identify it (D’Cruz, and Noronha 140). Using the internet to call out persons bullying others in the workplace and offering assistance to the victims may play a significant role. Nevertheless, the most critical issue is obtaining the resources to identify cyberbullying and devise immediate intervention to counter its impacts. Scholars continue to study, devise and improve ways of detecting cyberbullying, including the Workplace Cyberbullying Measure (WCM).
The WCM identifies any existing or potential cyberbullying cases in the workplace. Farley and colleagues developed it to quantify cyberbullying in the workplace due to increased incidences of cyberbullying, particularly in the workplace with many applications of information technologies and access to the internet (Giumetti and Robin 107). Workplace cyberbullying occurs when a person or a group of individuals is regularly exposed to perceived unpleasant experiences perpetrated through technology, such as mobile phones and the internet (D’Cruz, and Noronha 139). According to Farley et al., increased use of information technology in the workplace has enhanced cyberbullying, leaving victims vulnerable (5). As a result, Farley et al.’s primary goal were to design, develop, and deploy a workplace cyberbullying assessment scale to research how the situation impacts employees and their performance in the workplace. They conceived their research by basing their thesis on existing workplace cyberbullying literature. Farley et al. improved earlier research by filling in the subject’s knowledge gaps, expounding the issue from a more educated perspective (8). Consequently, they offered a reason for looking into cyberbullying as a different kind of workplace bullying (Farley et al. 2). Their work presents four independent investigations that contribute to a better understanding of developing and implementing the WCM.
Farley et al.’s study reveal that WCM is a feasible and valid instrument for measuring characteristics of cyberbullying in a workplace. The first study categorized cyberbullying criteria into different groups (Farley et al. 7). They asked participants (workers) to describe their experiences with cyberbullying and then used content analysis to classify these actions, translating them into measurement items (Farley et al. 9). It was critical to categorize the many characteristics of cyberbullying behavior to understand better and foresee the vice, making it simpler to combat. The second study analyzed the severity of each measuring item discovered in the second research (Farley et al. 15). Weighting and identifying each measurement item’s relevance and understanding how to prioritize them required thorough assessment. Farley et al. created a WCM tool based on the classified measuring elements discovered in the first two items in the third research. According to Farley and colleagues, 424 individuals from various workplaces participated in the scaling tool, compared to two other measuring frameworks before being refined into a more sophisticated instrument (Farley et al. 20). The study was critical in putting the measuring tool to the test and allowing the researchers to enhance the areas that needed improvement. Farley and his colleagues built the measuring tool’s nomological network and conducted further reliability and validity tests in the final research (Farley et al. 24). The definitive research was critical in bolstering the rationale for the WCM by providing further data to back up the tool. As a result, these studies were crucial to developing, testing, and refining the WCM, which is paramount in determining how cyberbullying affects employees.
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Therefore, the WCM is a credible and dependableinstrument for identifying cyberbullying and developing workplace interventions. Consequently, human resource professionals may use the WCM to analyze the incidence of cyberbullying at their workplaces and find ways to solve the problem. The Farley et al. research project should be helpful to HR professionals since it outlines a technique that includes various indicators of online bullying (Vranjes et al. 30). Human resource professionals may design suitable regulations and prevent common behavior misconceptions by identifying these cyberbullying indicators. They might use the material from Farley et al.’s study to build organizational training on what constitutes cyberbullying and the various ways in which employees can enjoy safe cyberspaces (Vranjes et al. 31). Besides, the report on workplace cyberbullying can assist the appropriate authorities in determining the severity of the problem and implement effective methods to reduce its consequences.
In addition, the self-labeling WCM tool may be used with the behavioral scale to create a model that allows businesses and HR experts to analyze the level of workplace cyberbullying (Vranjes et al. 31). If most employees report cyberbullying regularly, organizational actions should be implemented. Organizations and human resource professionals may educate their workers about the dangers of cyberbullying by encouraging them to stop enjoying or even sharing abusive information and reporting sites or accounts that violate company rules. Additionally, urging children to engage in positive comments and conversations and attempting to create a healthier and safer place for the individuals they are connected to on the internet can help reduce the impact of cyberbullying. The WCM (WCM) assists companies in assessing the effects of cyberbullying, raising awareness of the problem, and assisting in its mitigation. As a result, Human Resource officers and their firms will significantly benefit from this research, as it is critical in reducing the overall effects of workplace cyberbullying.
However, the WCM poses a substantial security risk to employees’ data since it leaves them vulnerable to breaches. The WCM mostly depends on obtaining employee data (Farley et al. 20). As a result, the exercise exposes employees’ sensitive information to hacking and third-party data targeting. Although managers have considerable freedoms to track their employees’ online activities, data protection rights pose a critical challenge to the whole exercise. For instance, employers must obtain the employee’s prior consent to track their data (Sharton and Neuman par.7). Even when they tract such data, all third-party data, such as emails that do not concern the scope of their work, are protected, which is an ideal loophole for cyberbullies to perpetuate their injustices. As such, it becomes difficult to catch cyberbullies through the WCM to impending litigation. Despite these severe risks to employee data security, the WCM provides many more advantages than negatives. Therefore, the WCM is an effective tool for identifying and addressing workplace cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is often unnoticed since it is unfamiliar to many people. However, the Workplace Cyberbullying Measure (WCM) is a valid and feasible instrument that HRMs can use to identify and create interventions with a behavioral scale at work, although it puts employees’ data at risk. Samuel Farley and colleagues developed the WCM to provide a framework for examining the effects of workplace cyberbullying on employees. The researchers used a series of four investigations to build the WCM, with each study contributing to the overall effectiveness of the project. As a result, the research will be helpful to businesses and human resource professionals since it examines the amount of cyberbullying in various settings, allowing them to design anti-bullying strategies. Overall, the WCM is an effective tool for identifying and addressing workplace cyberbullying despite the challenge of data protection for cyberbullies.
D’Cruz, Premilla, and Ernesto Noronha. “Target Experiences Of Workplace Bullying On Online Labour Markets.” Employee Relations, vol 40, no. 1, 2018, pp. 139-154. Emerald, https://doi.org/10.1108/er-09-2016-0171. Accessed 12 Jan 2022.
Farley, Samuel et al. “Design, Development And Validation Of A WCM, The WCM.” Work & Stress, vol 30, no. 4, 2016, pp. 293-317. Informa UK Limited, https://doi.org/10.1080/02678373.2016.1255998. Accessed 7 Jan 2022.