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corporate, bullying, jargon, downsizing, rightsizing, delayering, contracterisation,
redundancy, fad, surfing, management, outsourcing
Half the population are bullied ... most only recognize it when they read this

Corporate bullying

"Management is managing ... bullying is not managing" Tim Field

During the 1990's, downsizing and rightsizing have become familiar phrases, whilst management fads such as "business process re-engineering" come and go like sunsets. Fad surfing, where management jumps on the latest bandwagon of change, has become commonplace. Performance-related pay, 360 degree appraisal and other modern management techniques are the current fads. In the right hands they can be useful tools to improve performance; in the wrong hands, they can be little more than an excuse for poor management and a thinly-veiled disguise for redundancy.

Fat cats abound but such greed is short-sighted and short-lived. With employment law weak and real jobs scarce, unscrupulous employers have no hesitation in abusing employees in the name of profit. It's often cheaper to bully out older employees, conveniently saving redundancy and other costs, and replace them with graduates on short-term contracts at half the price. Experience and knowledge of processes, procedures and customers has little value.

To hide the follies and failures of management, reorganise. Better still, call in the Management Consultants. Many employees find that the latest reorganisation is under way before the last one is completed. Bureaucratic schemes such as ISO 9001 and Investors in People (IiP) bring little change except an additional imposed administrative burden. But then quality and duty of care come from the heart, not from a manual. If you have to rely on ISO 9001 and IiP to tell you about quality and care, you're probably in the wrong job.

The climate of greed and self-interest encouraged by the Thatcher years has reatuled in the pendulum swinging from unions having the upper hand to employers having the upper hand. Whilst few doubt that Mrs Thatcher started off on the right foot, she never stopped. It was down to the electorate to stop her (or rather her successor) in 1997. The pendulum needs to stabilise with the interests of both employees and employers equal. Stakeholding and partnership, as they say.

The true cost of the Thatcher years is now becoming clear: stress and stress-related illness (caused mostly by bullying) result in the economy losing around 270,000 working days every day at an annual cost to UK taxpayers of at least 12 billion. Facts, figures and costs of bullying and stress to UK industry and taxpayers are on the costs page.


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