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“Bullying in the Workplace” at Haigazian

Organized by the Psychology Department at Haigazian University, a panel discussion titled “Bullying in the Workplace”, took place at the University's auditorium.

The two-hour panel discussed the prevalence of bullying in the workplace, its repercussions, risk factors, and prevention programs, in addition to introducing an Arabic adaptation of the Negative Acts Questionnaire used to assess workplace bullying.

The Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Arda Ekmekji, welcomed the audience and introduced the topic, stressing on the importance of ensuring a comfortable workplace environment to allow better productivity for the employees.

In his opening address, Chair of the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Haigazian University, Dr. Hagop Yacoubian stated that the panel was the result of research collaboration between the Department of Psychology at Haigazian and the Department of Family Medicine at the AUB-Medical Center.

Ms. Rita Merhej from the Psychology Department at Haigazian University moderated the panel, sharing with the audience the general aim of it, “to further explore the complexity of the bullying phenomenon by trying to provide a clear definition, and delineating its predictors, its prevalence and its consequences on individuals and on the organization, in relation to the Lebanese and Arab contexts.”

Three participants from the Department of Family Medicine at the American University of Beirut Medical Center partook in this panel.

The Chair of the department, and the discussant of the panel, Dr. Ghassan Hamadeh proposed strategies to both prevent and stop bullying, ranging from installing laws and policies, to fostering awareness on the matter among targets and perpetrators of bullying.

Clinical Associate Dr. Nisrine Makarem defined the concept of bullying in the workplace, presenting its cultural antecedents and means of measurement. Makarem described bullying as “a hostile and unethical communication that aims at harassing, offending, socially excluding someone or negatively affecting someone’s work duties.”

For her part, Clinical Instructor Dr. Diana Rahme Ballan discussed the consequences of bullying in the workplace, putting significant emphasis on the means of prevention and intervention. Rahme also highlighted on the socioeconomic costs incurred by organizations as a result of bullying, such as decreased productivity, low job satisfaction, increased sick leaves, and poor public image for the company.

Instructor in Psychology at Haigazian University, panelist Lucy Tavitian discussed bullying in Lebanon based on empirical findings, sharing with the audience the correlation of bullying with the depressive symptoms and the overall life satisfaction of employees, whereas graduate student Dayana Brome presented “the Negative Acts Questionnaire”, a standardized research tool that measures exposure to workplace bullying.

An interactive session of Q&A followed, allowing the audience to raise their thoughts and questions regarding the topic.

The panel concluded with a reception in the Mugar Hall.

(Haigazian E-News)

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