Women, Bullying & Sabotage … Oh My!

Twenty-two years ago, I released the first study on do and why women undermine other women. Since then, nine studies have been completed.

Do women undermine and stabotage other women?
Are women bullies?
Do women create and handle conflict differently than men do?
Do women undermine their own gender more than they do men?
Is there a difference in a female dominated workplace than a gender integrated workplace in sabotaging behavior?

The answers are all YES.

When Woman to Woman: From Sabotage to Support was published in 1987, critics (and women’s magazines) were outraged that I would dare write, and say, that women weren’t too kind to their own gender. And then the stories from viewers, listeners and readers poured in. It was lethal out there. And to think, the book almost didn’t happen.

Rejected by dozens of publishers–the common comment was that “this” doesn’t happen; some even accused me of making up the stats. Publishing is a female dominated workplace… I was holding a mirror up in front of the editors!

An article in the NY Times on Sunday, May 9, 2009 addressed some of the current chatterings on the topic. As if it was all new, never addressed before. As the pioneer or the work, who has closely followed it for two decades now and regularly publishes on the topic, I found it interesting that the Times writer didn’t dig up and cite any of the original work on the topic. As a researcher, it’s always smart to have a benchmark.

Fast forward 20 years. No change, more pain, still denial. The latest study that included 3000 plus respondents reports that sabotage and abusive/bullying behavior has increased significantly in the past 5 years. 56% of the repondents said it had; 25% said it hadn’t; and 19% weren’t sure.

Until women, and men, and the workplace acknowledges the issues that the bad girls (and boys) create in the workplace, undermining, bullying and sabotage will continue to breed. The costs are multiple—stress, lower productivity, people quit. Are there solutions? You bet.

Most recent book released: Stabotage! How to Deal with the Pit Bulls, Skunks, Snakes, Scorpions & Slugs in the Health Care Workplace. Even though the stories are about healthcare, the solutions are between the covers!

They start with commiting to confront the culprit. Use my CarefrontingScript… it works!

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