ePortfolio Part 2: Annotated Bibliography

Heeman, V. (2007). Workplace Bullying: A Distinct, Interpersonal, and Communicative Phenomenon. Paper presented at the meeting of the National Communication Association.

The Heeman reading focuses on how “bullying relates to the distinct, interpersonal, and communicative phenomenon of workplace bullying, and to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the existing literature on bullying.” Heeman proves the root of workplace bullying by defining bullying. Heeman defines bullying with three elements, 1) aggressive behavior or intentional wrong doing, 2) repetition of action, 3) imbalance of power. Heeman explains the difference between workplace bullying and workplace incivility. Workplace bullying is more severe, frequent and long standing. Heeman identifies and explains the three main roles in bullying, 1) bully, 2) target, 3) bystander. The role of the bully engages in three types of bullying: verbal, physical, and relational. Heeman addresses the costs of workplace bullying such as, self- protection, high burnout rate, increased sick leave and increased job stress. Heeman explains the costs of workplace bullying for the target include, fear, humiliation, and anger. Lastly, Heeman describes the factors that contribute to bullying and implications of bullying.

            The Heeman reading relates to my work experience by identifying imbalances of power. This reading supports the Omdahl reading by addressing the same issues regarding power dynamics (professional civility and emancipation), workplace incivility, bystander (third party assistance), feelings of target (shame), costs of tension in work relationships and intervention (forgiveness). Overall, the Heeman reading offers strong insight into ethical communication behaviors. This reading provides well- researched facts on workplace bullying. The author explained the problem step by step, offering insight on each role, ways to combat workplace bullying and providing a call to action for future research. 


Omdahl, B. L. (2006). Towards effective work relationships. In J.M. H. Fritz & B. L. Omdahl (Eds.), Problematic relationships in the workplace (pp. 279–297). New York: Peter Lang

Omdahl’s chapter on Towards Effective Work Relationships focuses on how to work with difficult others in organizational settings like the workplace. Difficult others lead to problematic relationships in the workplace. Omdahl outlines three types of problematic work relationships that result from self- disclosure and complex roles: 1) gendered workplace process, 2) deteriorating friendships, 3) turning points in work relationships. Omdahl also identifies the costs of problematic work relationships such as stress, burn out and impaired mental health. Omdahl examines organizational research over the last decade and recommends 6 principles. The six principles include: 1) Expectations for professional civility, 2) Accepting constructive criticism, 3) Minimize shame, 4) Manage stress, 5) Facilitate forgiveness, 6) Third party assistance.

            The principle that addressed expectation for accepting constructive criticism within the chapter directly relates to my work experience. Omdahl’s reading relates to the Heeman reading, by supporting Heeman’s argument and broadening topic. Omdahl expands beyond workplace bullying and covers all problematic relationships in the workplace that may cause unwanted tension. Omdahl and Heeman overlap on issues regarding, professional civility, shame, stress and third party assistance. Omdahl offers strong insight into positive communication behaviors. Omdahl offers a wide range of recommendations to alleviate problematic work relationships.


            The Heeman and Omdahl research informs my understanding of interpersonal relationships in the workplace by outlining issues within unhealthy work relationships and providing insight to combat unhealthy work relationships. The Heeman reading defines the issues regarding workplace bullying and ways to combat workplace bullying. While, the Omdahl reading addresses overall respect of others within organizational settings, accepting constructive criticism, combating feelings of shame, managing stress, and forgiveness to repair relationships. Both, exemplify red flags to avoid upon entering the work force.

            These readings offer personal insight on subjects regarding the imbalance of power, the power of an active bystander, and the unfortunate downside of problems (or bullying) within the workplace. Regarding the Heeman reading, I would like to gain a better understanding of the demographic makeup of those targeted for bullying. Do the demographic of those targeted for bullying reflect preconceived notions of prejudice? For example, is an African American female more likely than a Caucasian male to be a target for bullying? If so, why? Also, I would like to better understand the motives of the bully (or aggressor). Heeman’s reading explains bullies usually justify bullying by blaming the target. In turn, the target internalizes the bullying which creates a cycle. How does the bully justify each motive for bullying?