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WORKPLACE BULLYING: AN ASSESSMENT OF ITS EFFECT ON WORK PERFORMANCE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE INDUSTRY IN CAMEROON

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WORKPLACE BULLYING: AN ASSESSMENT OF ITS EFFECT ON WORK PERFORMANCE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE INDUSTRY IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Bullying refers to a wide range of behaviours, including taunts, humiliations, and insults. It is also defined as jokes, conversations, and gossip that induce a hostile and competitive atmosphere (Rodríguez-Cifuentes, Fernández-Salinero, Moriano, & Topa, 2020). Others include insulting statements, taunting, and persistent harassment (Ahmer et al., 2019). These forms of bullying can cause employees to become emotionally and physically stressed, as well as distracted. Workers who are bullied at work may become uncontrollably anxious, lose their confidence, and struggle to focus on their tasks. Bullies in the workplace often terrorize, discredit, or threaten a victim, making them feel weak, scared, guilty, and incompetent (Akintan, Onewo, & Ayodeji, 2021). Research over the years has indicated that workplace bullying has played a significant role in causing stress among employees. In public service industry, workplace bullying and occupational stress have both been extensively studied (Stale Einarsen, Hoel, & Cooper, 2022). It has been dubbed one of the most stressful occurrences that might occur and has a negative impact on the employee's physical and mental health (Duffy & Brown, 2018; Pheko, 2018). Furthermore, the most valuable asset composition of these companies is their knowledgeable and dedicated workforce, which plays a major role in determining how these public services' goals will be realized (Popescu, Georgescu, & Grapă, 2019). On the other hand, Ebuka, Ngozi, Obianuju, and Peace (2022) believe that human capital is the most important resource that any type of organization may possess in order to bolster this claim. Therefore, it is imperative that the Cameroonian government have a comprehensive understanding of the factors that impact and influence these workers' performance (Phina, Patrick, & Nwabuike, 2022). The ability of an organization's workforce to apply their knowledge, skills, and abilities in a productive manner is known as work performance (Komakech, Obici, & Mwesigwa, 2021). However, the work environment's friendliness is a crucial factor in determining employee performance because it shapes workers' attitudes and levels of commitment. While a toxic work environment may make it difficult to draw and keep people who are dedicated to the company's objectives, which is why it's important to examine the issue of workplace bullying in businesses. The issue of workplace bullying has gained significant attention in public service discourse due to its potential to negatively impact it’s operations. It is now a prevalent problem that individuals deal with on a daily basis in the sectors of education, institutions, and the workplace (Bulut & Hihi, 2021). Simply put, workplace bullying is bullying that occurs in a place of employment. It is the mistreatment, humiliation, insults, and prejudice that workers experience at work. According to Nazim Ali, Ihsan, and Ahmad (2021), it is perceived as a situation in which workers are often mistreated, taunted, and given unfavourable marks. It's important to remember that bullying cannot be an isolated incident; it must be ongoing. It is agaist this drop, a survey will be conducted in order to assess the effect of workplace bullying on work performance in the public service industry in Cameroon

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The degree of friendliness in the workplace influences employees' attitudes and levels of commitment, which makes it a critical component in determining employee performance. While it may be challenging to attract and retain employees committed to the goals of the firm in a poisonous work environment, it's crucial to look into the problem of workplace bullying in businesses.Scholarly literature has extensively studied the impact of workplace bullying on various employee attitudes and work performance, and other related factors, but primarily in developed countries. However, employees who had experienced bullying reported significantly lower levels of job satisfaction, higher levels of anxiety and depression, and a predisposition to quit. Nonetheless, bullying has also been linked to lower work performance, psychosomatic symptoms and physical illnesses, potential expulsion from the workforce, higher absenteeism, decreased commitment and productivity, higher turnover, and intent to leave the company. Similarly, according to other studies (Hoel & Cooper, 2020; Hoel et al., 2023; Leymann 2019; Vartia, 2021), bullying is a type of affective interpersonal conflict that negatively impacts productivity at work. However, because employees may continue to perform even in the face of bullying, it can be challenging to determine the precise impact of bullying on work performance due to a variety of factors, including discontent, absence, illness, and attrition (Einarsen et al., 2021). The literature evaluation indicates that workplace bullying affects employee work performance regardless of how it is defined, classified, and studied.Thus, it is in the light of this, the study seeks to assess the effect of workplace bullying on work performance in the public service industry in Cameroon

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to assess the effect of workplace bullying on work performance in the public service industry in Cameroon. Specifically, the study will;

Determine the underlying factors contributing to workplace bullying in the public service industry in Cameroon.

Determine the psychological effects of workplace bullying on employees in the public service industry in Cameroon.

Determine the impact of workplace bullying on employees performance in  public service industry in Cameroon.

Determine the mechanisms utilized by employees to deal with workplace bullying in the public service industry in Cameroon.

1.4 Research Questions 

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

What are the underlying factors contributing to workplace bullying in the public service industry in Cameroon?

What are the psychological effects of workplace bullying on employees in the public service industry in Cameroon?

What are the impact of workplace bullying on employees performance in  public service industry in Cameroon?

What mechanisms do employees utilize to deal with workplace bullying in the public service industry in Cameroon?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

H0: There is no significant effect of workplace bullying on work performance in the public service industry in Cameroon

Ha: There is a significant effect of workplace bullying on work performance in the public service industry in Cameroon

1.6 Significance of the Study

Through the study's findings, government and policymakers can mitigate the risk of legal ramifications and damage to their reputation by examining mitigating factors and gaining a deeper of their roles in preventing and addressing bullying behaviors in the public service industry. However, bullying significantly impacts organizational culture, leading to reduced employee morale, erosion of trust, and diminished collaboration. Nevertheless, the study will illuminate broader cultural implications in the public service industry and provide guidance for efforts to cultivate a positive and inclusive work environment. Furthermore, it will serve as a valuable resource for scholars conducting literature reviews in this area, contributing to the academic discourse and serving as a foundational text for future research endeavors. Ultimately, the study's results make a substantial contribution to the body of academic knowledge concerning the phenomenon of workplace bullying in the public service industry in Cameroon

1.7 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on the effect of workplace bullying on work performance in the public service industry in Cameroon. Geographically, the study will be delimited to employees of the public service industry in Cameroon.

1.8 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed. 

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Workplace bullying: is defined as repeated, persistent, and inappropriate behavior directed at an individual or group in a professional setting, which causes physical, emotional, or psychological harm (Einarsen et al., 2019).

Employees: are people who are employed by a company to carry out particular duties or responsibilities in exchange for pay.

Work performance: refers to the effectiveness and productivity of an individual or a team in completing tasks and achieving goals within a work environment (Hodson, 2020). It includes various factors such as efficiency, quality of work, timeliness, creativity, collaboration, and adherence to organizational standards and expectations (Robbins & Judge, 2019).


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