18-months ago we published a major study of the UK’s unscripted TV labour market. We found that a staggering 93% of professionals in this sector had experienced or witnessed bullying or harassment at work. An industry defined by highly sought-after creative work had a shadow side. The picture to emerge was one of a troubled workplace in pressing need of reform. Our report made six recommendations that had implications for both government policy and structural change within the industry.
As the issue of bullying in TV has become more widely acknowledged, we have welcomed a number of recent industry initiatives and interventions introduced to deter it (including a campaign to encourage the reporting of bad behaviour and a free Bullying Advice Service). Yet despite these positive developments, not enough attention has been given to the underlying factors that contribute to workplace bullying. There remains an assumption that this is simply a problem of ‘a few bad apples’, when – in reality – it is the condition in which apples are kept that largely determines the damage caused by a bad one.
In our latest publication we examine this issue in more depth. We argue that it is the nature of television work, its organisational structures and the culture of the industry that creates a set of conditions that makes bullying particularly likely. Many of the characteristics shown by our study to be commonplace in television work, are precisely those identified in the field of organisational psychology as risk factors for workplace bullying. This being the case, we call for a risk management approach to this problem; one that systematically recognises, appraises and minimises these risks.
Christa van Raalte, Richard Wallis & Dawid Pekalski (2023) More than just a few ‘bad apples’: the need for a risk management approach to the problem of workplace bullying in the UK’s television industry, Creative Industries Journal, DOI: 10.1080/17510694.2023.2182101