It’s seven years since I first posted on this topic asking whether they were the victims or the oppressors. five years ago other researchers were saying the phenomenon didn’t exist.
Well it does according to recent research report which shows that 70% of female executives report being bullied by other women trying to block their ambitions.
HSBC global banking’s consultant Cecilia Harvey said “Queen bees are women who treat colleagues in a demoralising, undermining, or bullying manner.They are adult versions of the mean girls from school”.
She surveyed 100 female executives and found 70 had been bullied by their female bosses while another 33 had been undermined by women on the same level or below. She said “research suggests that 55%of workplace bullies are women and they often victimise other women. Queen bees target women almost 90% of the time”
So it’s not just sexist men that hold women back and as organisations strive to increase the number of women at the top they need to take the Queen Bee phenomenon seriously.
You might expect women to band together and support each other rather than diminish each other but that’s not what Harvey experienced. In my experience when women bully they do it on personal issues which can be quite hurtful but hard to prove.
According to research in the journal Development & Learning in Organisations, Queen Bee syndrome occurs where women use “social intelligence” to manipulate relationships or damage colleagues’ reputations. It can be the biggest hindrance to women advancing in the workplace
The Chartered Management Institute, which has a Women Network, says “Women should not be smashing through the glass ceiling only to pull the ladder up behind them”