Reproduced with the kind permission of
Going On With Mobbing, Bullying And Work Harassment
mobbing est un poison lent
ist ein leises Gift Zuletzt geändert
Germans and the French call it "the
can be understood as the stressor to beat all stressors,” says
Dr. Kenneth Westhaus, U. of Waterloo, author of “Eliminating
Professors.” According to him, the typical mob victim
is a good-to-high achiever personally invested in a formally
secure job who somehow threatens or shames co--workers
or managers who then decide to get rid of him or her.
The Costs Who
are the victims? Bullying
at a glance
What can the victim do? What
can the company do? Definition
Europe Belgium Germany
Spain Norway USA Canada Australia
of millions of dollars a year in absenteeism, employee
satisfaction, customer satisfaction, product quality and
productivity. [Joel Neuman, director of the Center for
Applied Management, SUNY]
-“We don’t see $8 billion worth of antidepressants in this country
for nothing,” says Jim Landgraf, president of Educational Testing Service. “The
corporate culture is so accepting of these kinds of aggressive
-actions, it’s not going to go away.”
-Karl Aquino, Ph.D., associate professor of management at U. of Delaware thinks
it’s the increasing number of young managers. “With age, people
are better able to handle stress or mistreatment without passing
-it down,” he says.
-The US is behind other countries. The UK has a workplace bullying law.
-75% of the time, women are victims. But females target other women 84% of
the time. [US Hostile Workplace Survey, 2000]
-Gary Namie has counseled 4,300 targets of abuse. His research shows that in
less than 10% of the abuse cases were the bullies punished, transferred or
terminated. “Bullying usually stops when the target leaves
-their job,” he said. “Companies will never say they have a problem.”
ARE THE VICTIMS?
-Don’t fight back
-Are focused on their work
-Not political animals, think they can rise above the fray
-Usually not confrontational
-Competent people who become a threat
-Independent people who are well-liked [Source: Maureen Milford]
AT A GLANCE
of bully bosses are men, 50% women
-96% of co-workers are aware of the bullying
-Psychological violence lasts 16.5 months on average
-Most bullying isn’t illegal conduct. In only 8% of cases was victim
in legally protected employee classification (disabled or minority).
-67% of victims report having no prior history of being bullied
-41% of victims are diagnosed with depression
-31% of women victims experience post-traumatic stress disorder
-Bullies rarely suffer career consequences because in 42 percent of cases the
bully's supervisor helped the bad boss or punished the victim.
-11% of co-workers side with the bully [US Hostile Workplace Survey, 2000]
CAN THE VICTIM DO?
Namie, author of “The Bully at Work” offers
1. Name it – mobbing, bullying. Know it isn’t your fault.
2. Bully-proof yourself. Tell your co-workers. Never go into a meeting alone.
Get medical or psychological support outside the organization.
3. Get away from the bully. Get your resume ready.
4. Expose the bully. Try to build a rational case that shows the negative impact
they have on the workplace.
CAN THE COMPANY DO?
ignoring the presence
Establish an EQ Culture where this kind of behaviour is not tolerated
And on an even sadder note, the world’s first clinic to treat psychologically
damaged victims of workplace bullying opened this year in Germany. Patients
can receive treatment free from the state or through private insurance policies.
At the Berus Clinic in Saarbrücken, 200 patients are under treatment for "reactive
depression through workplace conflict". One in four is an in-patient:
the rest receive therapy and counselling.
are 30 doctors at the clinic. Classes cover conflict management
and dealing with hostility. Therapy includes role-play
sessions where patients take the part of victim or bully.
The patients include typists, an electrician, a car salesman,
computer specialists and a mobile telephone salesman. "The
patients learn how to cope and stand up for themselves," said
the director, Joseph Schwickerath, a psychologist. [Times
OF MOBBING BEHAVIOR
-Withholding of information and resources
-Refusal to delegate work
-Arbitrary removal of responsibilities
-Unrealistic work demands
-Consistent over time
-Designed to humiliate and intimidate the target
National Prevention of Violence in the Workplace website.
of workers in the European Union (EU) suffer psychological
harassment or “mobbing” on the job [Study by
University of Alcal de Henares, in Spain]. Last year, EU
working groups failed to agree on adoption of an EU-wide
statute against mobbing. Opposition came from business
associations backed by governments of Spain, Britain and
Italy. The bloc’s trade unions lobbied for anti-mobbing
regulations, supported by the governments of Germany, France
and the Netherlands. (COMTEX, 10/02)
European conference, “Preventing Violence and Harassment
in the Workplace” will be held April 29, organized
by the Belgian Federal Ministry for Employment and the
European Foundation for the Improvement of Living & Working
Conditions. Concern about harassment and violence is growing,
and Belgium has a law on harassment in the pipeline.
research indicates that in 2000 about 9% of EU workers
experienced intimidation or harassment at work. Nearly
13% reported being aware of physical violence in their
place of work. It’s believed the problem is on the
rise throughout all EU Member States.
at work is more widespread in Germany than in other European
countries, according to a report by Germany’s Ministry
of Labour. There have been several suicides; most of
the victims are women; the worst bullies are men; and
it’s found in all sectors, factories as well as
offices. The problem costs the state £100 million
a year in medical costs, plus lost working days. The
Mobbing Report, a survey of 4,400 workers, estimated
that 800,000 people were suffering "intolerable" abuse
every day and that 1.5 million workers suffered sickness
caused by bullying. The Government is considering legislating
to tackle the problem.
servants are 7x as likely to report workplace impropriety. “These
bullies have a lot to lose in their jobs-for-life mindset
if they feel threatened by newcomers,” reported
Allan Hall, Berlin. IRELAND Michael Smith, TD, Minister
for Defence, Dublin, has ordered a committee set up to
review the extent of harassment, bullying, discrimination
and sexual harassment throughout the Irish Defence Forces.
NIOSH ”Sensational acts of co-worker violence,” says
the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, “are
only a small part of the problem.” An average of
20 US workers are murdered and 18,000 assaulted each
week at work-and this doesn’t include bullying,
threats, and other forms of verbal, physical and sexual
out of 3 employees has suffered psychological aggression
or emotional violence in the workplace at some time, says
sociologist Angel Crcova, appointed to the EU group by
one of Spain’s central trade unions. In July, Spain’s
Supreme Court ordered the municipal government of Coria
to pay 4,500 euros to compensate an employee who was forced
to work in a basement with neither daylight nor ventilation.
The judges called it “moral harassment.” In
Gerona, a tool company was sentenced to pay 14,000 euros
for “biased psychological pressure” and another
30,000 euros in compensation for psychological damages
to an employee forced to do work outside his job description
and below his qualifications.
is the number one work-related threat faced by workers,” noted
Inaki Pinuel, a professor of psychology at the University
Jimenez, a psychologist, educator and winner of the UNESCO
Medal of Honor, explained that article four of Spain’s “workers’ statute” states
that businesses “ensure the physical and psychological
integrity of workers, and respect for their privacy, dignity,
and emotional well-being. Now the question, he said, is
to get Spain and the rest of the EU to adopt regulations
against mobbing which could be enforced by labor ministries
in the bloc without having to wait for legal rulings, and
to raise workers’ awareness of their right to fight
psychological harassment and bullying. (COMTEX)
Norway, the daily VG reported that Jarle Skjørberg,
34, suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, which “arises
from a delayed or protracted reaction to unusually threatening
or catastrophic events,” was awarded a record NOK
3.2 million (USD 383,000) in compensation for being bullied
at Høyenhall School in Oslo. The court ruled the
school's failure to intervene was beyond a doubt responsible
for the scope and duration of the bullying, and ordered
the Oslo municipality to pay damages.
of 1,580 surveyed health employees experienced harassment
the year before - changing rules or objectives, not providing
critical information, isolation, stress to perform, and
being excluded. The study concluded that workplace harassment
resulted in “severe psychological distress and reduced
job satisfaction.” [Quine]
of participants reported having witnessed others being
targeted. The study concluded, therefore, that harassment
wasn’t an illusion of the targets.
on-the-job violence is difficult,” says Peter Freiberg,
writing on bullying in the APA Monitor, (American Psychological
Association) “because it often involves changing
the very culture of the workplaces.” There are no
statistics on the extent of workplace bullying, but Mark
Braverman, Ph.D., who consults on workplace issues, says
the behaviour is 'endemic' in some organizations.
and intimidation can’t happen unless there is a climate
that allows it,” says Braverman. “And that
climate discourages employees from reporting potentially
violent behaviour that may be 'early warning signs' of
individual breakdown and severe workplace stress.”
and other psychologists feel the reality is even worse
than the headlines make it appear.
Dr. Westhues’ summary of mobbing for OHS Canada,
Canada’s Occupational Health & Safety Magazine,
published on the web 1/03, he states mobbing “appears
to be more common in the professional service sector – such
as education and health care – where work is complex,
goals ambiguous, best practices debatable, and market discipline
Barling, Ph.D., professor of organizational behaviour at
Queen’s University, Kingston, says aggression in
the workplace is more likely when 2 factors are present:
psychologically unhealthy people and psychologically unhealthy
organizations. Since it’s difficult to weed out psychologically
unhealthy people, he advocates trying to ensure healthy
few workplaces can be called psychologically healthy,” says
Maury Lieberman, Ph.D., former chief of the special programs
branch at the US Center for Mental Health Services. “In
low-morale organizations, people complain they want to
be treated with a sense of dignity and respect. We get
our identity from the workplace.”
Workplace Bullying and Harassment Management & Prevention
Programme of the Australian Nursing Federation was awarded
the Australian Crime & Violence Prevention Award by
the Minister for Justice and Customs. They place direct
responsibility for preventing and eradicating abusive behaviours
on managers and supervisors, and stress targets of bullying
are often unable to come forward and advocate on their
effects of bullying they say are “increased sick
leave, increased compensation claims, absenteeism, low
morale, reduced productivity, and low retention. In one
study, 80% of nurses reported having been harassed the
with kind permission
(c) Susan Dunn, MA Psychology, Emotional
Intelligence Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc.
Susan is the author of "Bullying & Mobbing:
What You Can Do to Prevent It, Stop
It and Survive It." She offers
coaching, Internet courses and ebooks
around emotional intelligence, bullying,
career, leadership, resilience and
personal and professional development.
Coaching for bullying victims and bullies;
programs for organizations who want
to prevent it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org