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Critiques a global issue where shared responsibility for the common good is not being realised (approx. 300 words) and then, propose ways to address this challenge  in your professional community, locally and especially globally. Clear definition of the Common good (from a CST perspective, not a philosophical one), and how it relates to the issue you've chosen. 

Issue: harassment in the workplace (e.g., schools, health care facilities/hospitals, corporations etc.)

2-3 ways issue may affect the realisation of the Common Good. (That is, why does this illness propose a threat? What are the underlying causes that have allowed it to remain unacknowledged for so long?)

2-3 solutions (drawing upon advocacy, solidarity, and community engagement) as to how you and others might begin addressing this issue in the future from your profession. 

A much deeper analysis of how this is a global issue, not just one affecting Australia, and how we need to unite as a global community to address it. 

Issue and its impact on the Common Good

Many professionals all over the world experience workplace harassment and bullying in more or less every industry. These might range from multinational companies too even smaller firms and startups. Healthcare industry had fallen prey to this issue as well. Studies have described harassment and bullying as the repeated unreasonable behavior that specially targets a person or group of people (Crampton et al., 2015). These situations contribute to poor quality life of the targets over time where they become increasingly unwell. However, researchers are of the opinion that such harassments not necessarily need to be sexual in nature and might involve affecting physical, mental, emotional as well as verbal abuse. These had emerged as an issue of common good on a global scale (Budden et al., 2017). This assignment would be discussing the ways about it affects individuals as well as the ways by which it can be handled effectively.

The concept of common good can be described as the condition where each of the members of the community as well as the whole community receives the opportunities – “to reach their fulfillment successfully through allocation of proper resources required for healthy living and gaining opportunities to achieve their full potential” (Djurkovic, 2018). However, the issue of bullying and harassment in healthcare organizations faced by professionals is not only a national issue but had become a global one affecting all nations. The health and well-being of the professionals facing harassment and bullying gets affected and they fail to achieve their potential in life thereby succumbing to low quality life full of disappointment and failures.

The Fair Work Act 2009 had specified that bullying occur when two important criterions is met. The first one is the person or the group is seen to repeatedly behave unreasonably towards a particular worker or a group of workers at work. The second criterion is that the behavior is creating a risk towards healthy as well as safety concerns for the persons bullied. In addition, this behavior should be occurring repeatedly kike more than once and should be creating a risk towards health and safety in order to be considered as being bullied. These two criterions, when met, can consider an individual to have been harassed and bullied at workplace. Statistical evidence had shown that in Australia, about 3.5% to that of 21.5% of the population had been seen to be experiencing bullying as well as harassment at work (Hartin et al., 2018). The Australian workforce Barometer called the AWB had reported that 6.8 percent of the population had reported to have been bullied at work in the six months prior to the survey with 3.5% facing bullying and harassment for longer than 6 months. Governmental data shows that about 49% of the fellows, trainees and international graduates have reported being bullied or sexually harassed at medical centers. 71% of the hospitals reported discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying for the last five years in their hospitals with the problem exiting across all surgical specialties. This is a global issue and this can be reported from statistical data collected globally. On average, 4.15 of the respondents in EU-27 had reported exposure to bullying at work with 9.5% in France. Studies have also found data like “in Belgium (8.6%), in the Netherlands (7.7%), Luxemburg (7.2%), Austria (7.2%), Finland (6.2%), Latvia (5.5%), and Ireland 5.5% and most uncommon in Bulgaria (0.6%), Poland (0.7%), Italy (0.9%), Slovakia (1.2%), and Turkey (1.3%)”. Therefore, it had become a global issue affecting the common good of the people involved directly and indirectly with the incidents (Wright & Khatri, 2015).

Harassment as a Global Issue Affecting Professionals and Patients


Huge number of negative impacts remains associated with the aspect of bullying and harassment. This has negative influence not only on the lives of the healthcare professionals who face bullying but also on the patients who they require to treat. Firstly, some of the negative impacts that bullied individuals suffer from are stress, anxiety, panic attacks, poor sleep, and depression, fear of dismissal or loss of job promotion opportunities. They are also seen to suffer from loss of confidence and self-esteem. Many studies report that individuals also suffer from high blood pressure, ulcers, headache, musco-skeletal complaints, irritability, headache, nausea, sweating, lethargy, suicidal thoughts. Isolation or social withdrawal also results from being affected by bullying incidents making individuals have very poor quality social lives (Halim et al., 2018). Secondly, Bullied individuals apart from the above-mentioned personal issues also face various forms of career issues. Such individuals also face trouble-making decisions in their lives and they are found to be unable to work or focus. They lose their self-esteem and even job satisfaction. Lowered job satisfaction results in lowered productivity as well as loss of motivation.  Third, a number of organizational costs also remain intricately associated with bullied individuals at workplace. Poor employee relations, lowered staff morale, lowered productivity as well as huge impact on management time are seen to be associated with such incidents. Hostile working environment , staff turnover, increased absenteeism as well as decreased staff loyalty adverse publicity and for public images are also some other negative impacts (Mele, 2016). The health of service users are also affected negatively. They cannot get high quality and safe service from the bullied professionals that might threaten their lives and affects their satisfaction. Bullied professionals also leave their jobs resulting in shortage and low patient-professional ratio, which impacts health of patients. In these ways, harassment and bullying at workplace had become an issue of common good to the society.  

Catholic principle of thought has put forward one important principle called solidarity. Every individuals needs to be considered as the member of one human family irrespective of their national, ethnic, racial, economic as well as ideological differences. Every individual needs to consider each other as brother’s and sister’s keepers wherever they are present. Every individuals need to have the obligation for promoting the rights and development of all the people across communities, nations and the world irrespective of the national boundaries. At the core of the virtue of solidarity, there should be the pursuit of justice and peace. In the world surrounded by violence and conflict, it is the responsibility of all individuals to promote peace (Guitan, 2015).

Addressing Workplace Harassment through Advocacy, Solidarity, and Community Engagement

As dutiful human being and a healthcare professional, one should try to help affected individuals to overcome such situations by providing them a safe environment where they feel happy and contempt. Advocacy is one important action that an individual need to undertake to help affected individuals. Advocacy in all its forms need to ensure that vulnerable people in the society are able to have their vice head on the issues that they are suffering from. Defending and safeguarding their rights, having their views and wishes genuinely considered and conveying them to concerned authorities are important aspects of advocacy (Water et al., 2017). Developing ways by which the vulnerable individuals can reach their potential and live emotionally balanced lives are duties of every citizen.

Advocating for general practices at workplaces is important which would include policies and procedures that would control the risk of workplace bullying and harassments. Studies are of the opinion that having policies that are regularly reviewed and updated with clear explanations of the standards of behaviors for minimizing the risk if inappropriate behavior should be ensured. Firstly, the employer responsibilities would be to introduce zero-tolerance policies for workplace bullying and harassment, promoting and receiving anti-bullying policies. They should take immediate actions, resolve complaints, and ensure employees being regularly educated regarding the requirements of the policies (Annett et al., 2016). Secondly, the responsibility of healthcare managers should be ensuring education of staff members about their obligations under the workplace policy and role-modeling appropriate standards of behaviors. Taking complaints of bullying and harassments seriously, being proactive in preventing and promptly dealing with issues and responding to every issues in a serious manner. Third, all employees need to ensure reasonable care not only about their own health and safety as well as that of others who might be affected by their behaviors in workplace. Reporting the issues without fear, whistle blowing such issues faced by colleagues and others should be encouraged. Strict penalties and punishments for such misconducts by perpetrators should be imposed (Crampton et al., 2015). Moreover, education and training sessions for staff induction should include teaching about exhibiting appropriate behavior, resilience and performance under pressure. Ways to speak when being bullied or harassed should be taught. Moreover, importance of the link between appropriate behavior, safe working environment and patient safety should be also discussed in details to develop accountability of one’s own actions.

From the above discussion, it becomes clear that harassment at workplace in healthcare industry had become global issue-affecting professionals directly and patients indirectly. These affect them physically, emotionally, mentally as well as socially preventing them to reach their full potential. Hence, to follow principle of solidarity, every individual need to advocate about ways by which affected individuals can overcome the issues, live better quality life, and reach zenith of succes

References:

Annett, A. N. T. H. O. N. Y. (2016). Human flourishing, the common good, and Catholic social teaching. World happiness report, 38-65.

Budden, L. M., Birks, M., Cant, R., Bagley, T., & Park, T. (2017). Australian nursing students’ experience of bullying and/or harassment during clinical placement. Collegian, 24(2), 125-133.

Crampton, P., Wilkinson, T., Anderson, L., Walthert, S., & Wilson, H. (2015). Bullying in health care settings: time for a whole-of-system response. NZ Med J, 128(1424), 10-13.

Djurkovic, N. (2018). Workplace bullying in precarious employment. Special topics and particular occupations, professions and sectors, 1-28.

Guitián, G. (2015). Service as a bridge between ethical principles and business practice: A Catholic social teaching perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 128(1), 59-72.

Halim, U. A., & Riding, D. M. (2018). Systematic review of the prevalence, impact and mitigating strategies for bullying, undermining behaviour and harassment in the surgical workplace. British journal of surgery, 105(11), 1390-1397.

Hartin, P., Birks, M., & Lindsay, D. (2018). Bullying and the nursing profession in Australia: An integrative review of the literature. Collegian.

Melé, D. (2016). Virtues, values, and principles in Catholic social teaching. Handbook of Virtue Ethics in Business and Management, 1-12.

Waters, N. P., Schmale, T., Goetz, A., Eberl, J. T., & Wells, J. H. (2017). A call to promote healthcare justice: A summary of integrated outpatient clinics exemplifying principles of Catholic social teaching. The Linacre Quarterly, 84(1), 57-73.

Wright, W., & Khatri, N. (2015). Bullying among nursing staff: Relationship with psychological/behavioral responses of nurses and medical errors. Health Care Management Review, 40(2), 139-147.

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