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FEATURE ARTICLE  

Feature Articles : Checklist of Mobbing Indicators
Checklist of Mobbing Indicators

Checklist of Mobbing Indicators
By Prof. Kenneth Westhues

As workplace mobbing becomes more widely known and deplored, it is to be expected that many workers in academe, as in other fields, will claim to be mobbed as a way of warding off criticism and strengthening their positions in office politics. Indeed, many workers will genuinely feel that they are being mobbed and will attribute lack of sympathy from others as proof that the others are part of the mob. It is therefore essential that any claimed or apparent case of mobbing be subjected to hard-nosed scrutiny in light of empirical indicators, measurable criteria by which to conclude that yes, this is a case of mobbing, or no, it is not.

 
   

Below is a checklist of 16 indicators or measures that I have used in my research, and offered on workshop handouts entitled, "WAMI, The Waterloo Anti-Mobbing Instruments" (PDF). In the introduction to my 2006 book, The Prevention and Remedy of Mobbing in Higher Education, I apply these 16 indicators systematically to two different mobbing cases, to illustrate variations on common themes. There is nothing sacred about the list. In my book, The Envy of Excellence, the 16 indicators are boiled down to ten. Perhaps the most important indicator is shown here as No. 12, the enlargement of some real or imagined misdeed or fault in order to smear the target's whole identity, so that he or she is seen as personally abhorrent — a totally alien other, a dangerous, repugnant entity that turns the stomachs of good and decent people.

1.
By standard criteria of job performance, the target is at least average, probably above average.
2.
Rumours and gossip circulate about the target’s misdeeds: “Did you hear what she did last week?”
3.
The target is not invited to meetings or voted onto committees, is excluded or excludes self.
4.
Collective focus on a critical incident that “shows what kind of man he really is.”
5.
Shared conviction that the target needs some kind of formal punishment, “to be taught a lesson.”
6.
Unusual timing of the decision to punish, e. g., apart from the annual performance review.
7.
Emotion-laden, defamatory rhetoric about the target in oral and written communications.
8.
Formal expressions of collective negative sentiment toward the target, e. g. a vote of censure, signatures on a petition, meeting to discuss what to do about the target.
9.
High value on secrecy, confidentiality, and collegial solidarity among the mobbers.
10.
Loss of diversity of argument, so that it becomes dangerous to “speak up for” or defend the target.
11.
The adding up of the target’s real or imagined venial sins to make a mortal sin that cries for action.
12.
The target is seen as personally abhorrent, with no redeeming qualities; stigmatizing, exclusionary labels are applied.
13.
Disregard of established procedures, as mobbers take matters into their own hands.
14.
Resistance to independent, outside review of sanctions imposed on the target.
15.
Outraged response to any appeals for outside help the target may make.
16.
Mobbers’ fear of violence from target, target’s fear of violence from mobbers, or both.

 

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Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.

~ Elie Wiesel

 
 

"If everyone is in agreement to condemn someone accused, release him, for he must be innocent."

~ Talmudic Principle

 
Interview with a Target of
Workplace Bullying

by John Peel
on Home Truths,
BBC Radio 4
(mp3)

Courtesy BullyEQ
 
 

WEBQuotes


Calgary Herald
"...grossly unacceptable employer behaviour."
> AFL
"There was a lot of bullying in the newsroom and it was a gift to be able to stand up and say we are prepared to do something about it."
> UNB

Canwest Global
"The CanWest corporation is showing the ugly and intolerant face of modern media," ... "While openly interfering in editorial content it cravenly punishes those journalists who have the courage to protest."
> IFJ
"Many journalists left CanWest, deciding to quit or take disability leave after the frigid mood of their newsrooms made them ill."
> Canwest Watch

Imperial Parking
"Timothy Lloyd decided he had had enough of "going in to war every day." ... I was very unhappy in my work -- burned out, stressed out ... There were constant threats of dismissal, constant invading of my personal space, and use of profanity that was personally directed at me."
> HealthSmith

Annuity Research & Marketing Service Ltd.
"Every employer, said Justice Dambrot, owes a contractual duty to its employees to “treat them fairly, with civility, decency, respect, and dignity.” By failing to protect Ms. Stamos from Mr. Hammami’s harassment, the court concluded that the employer had breached this contractual duty."
> Labor Relations Consultants


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