In your article (1-5-04), fire department leaders depict teasing and humiliating acts as inevitable. Experts on firehouse culture are cited as finding 'good reason' for bullying, as an element of firefighter 'daring' and youthfulness. Verbal and relational bullying is rationalized ("To be picked on is to be liked."). Taunts are said to build character ("That colleague will be a stronger individual at a moment of crisis ... "). Bullying is implicitly accepted ("Everybody verbally abuses young firefightes." "It's like society."). Bullying in adult workplaces occurs because adults in charge model bullying behavior, accept bullying as normal, and take inadequate action to prevent bullying or to address it when bullying occurs. Bullying has no positive effects on character, relationships or job performance, in the firehouse or anywhere else. Most important, as studies have shown, when appropriate action is taken by those in charge, bullying can end.
NJ Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention