Bullying by Mob



Bullying by Mob

Janice Harper: What the Stanford Prison Experiment Can Teach Us About the Workplace

A focus on interpersonal conflicts between the bad bully and the good worker focuses on seemingly inherent qualities of individuals, and fails to explain the sheer brutality that ensues when bullying expands to include multiple people engaged in shunning, gossiping about, sabotaging, and making accusations and reports against a targeted worker. The collective bullying of a worker is called “mobbing,” and it typically ensues when a worker does or says something to annoy management, and management declares or demonstrates that the worker is unwanted. When that happens, it takes little effort to persuade the broader workforce to turn against the worker.

Just as Zimbardo talks about the slippery slope of evil that begins with the subject mindlessly taking the first step toward aggression through a seemingly minor action, when mobbing begins, workers are not initially encouraged to be cruel to the targeted worker. Far from it; they are told the worker must go, that it is the worker’s own doing, and the worker will be better off if they just move on. The first step onto the slippery slope of mobbing behavior thus often begins with something as simple as agreeing with management that the targeted worker must go — even if the decision to terminate the worker is clearly arbitrary or punitive or in some cases illegal, such as retaliation for reporting sexual harassment, discrimination or unlawful behavior.

Janice Harper: What the Stanford Prison Experiment Can Teach Us About the Workplace

 I have seen a lot of articles on workplace bullying but they tend to focus on single perpetrators. This talks about mobbing, a phenomenon where multiple people bully a worker. This is not uncommon. Please go to the web site and read the full article. It’s worth your while.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, Mobbing and Bullying:

A recent study showed that about 35 percent of students who are bullied experience post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.  This study echoes the findings of workplace mobbing research done by Dr. Heinz Leymann in the early  1980’s and has been validated many times by targeted individuals with whom I have worked. If we understand that bullying and mobbing attack the spiritual, psychological and emotional health of the individual as well as the physical, we also must consider that the damage done in an organization by this behavior goes beyond those directly involved. 

From the web site, EndMobbing:

Mobbing is the targeting of persons in workplaces and schools by another individual or group of individuals in order to degrade, humiliate, and ultimately remove them from the workplace or school organization.  This removal can be through firing, expulsions, or because the target can no longer tolerate the conditions and leaves of his or her own accord.  The consequences for victims of mobbing are usually devastating.  For its victims, mobbing affects physical heath, psychological and emotional health, relationships with family members, and, for workers, financial health. Mobbing also tends to erode a victim’s  belief in a fair and just world.  Mobbing is different from bullying because the workplace or school organizations are also involved, either through failure to act to protect their members when they have a responsibility to act, or through “blaming the victim” and joining the attack in progress on the victim, usually acting through official, bureaucratic channels.  Secrecy and lack of transparency among organizational leaders and the presence of a hostile workplace culture are common indicators of mobbing-prone organizations.

And from the web site, The Hidden Evil’s Weblog:

Mobbing sometimes continues after individuals have left the organization. Although this can rarely be proven, slandering continues… This ongoing mobbing, even after the individuals are no longer connected with the organization, seems to justify the Mobbers previous behavior & upholds the organization s decision. They try to defend themselves by continuing to destroy the victim s reputation… Dianna: the next minute I thought, Howe can all these people just go along with this? Yet I would think, I can t blame these people. I know they have to go along with this for their own survival


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My Friend, Steven Mintz, Continues the Good Work of Fighting Workplace Bullying

Steven Mintz

This is from the Ethics Sage’s latest post – What to Do if You Are the Target of a Workplace Bullier

Workplace Bullying refers to repeated, unreasonable actions of individuals (or a group) directed towards an employee (or a group of employees), which are intended to intimidate, degrade, humiliate, or undermine, or which create a risk to the health or safety of the employee(s) including physical and emotional stress. The purpose of this blog is to help you identify whether you are the target of a bullier. If so, you should act immediately. This blog provides some resources to use to resolve the issues and stress it can cause in the workplace. The longer you wait to deal with the issue, the more difficult it becomes to achieve a successful resolution of the matter because the negative treatment becomes endemic to the workplace culture and other employees accept it as part of the group dynamic.

The Ethics Sage is willing to do more than talk about the subject. He is willing to offer advice while protecting your privacy. Go here to reach him.

James Pilant

Do You Have a Workplace Dilemma? There is a web site which can provide help.

Steven Mintz is willing to offer advice on work place dilemma’s. He promises privacy and protection of your identity. Here he explains what he wants to do and how he can help you.

This is from the web site,Workplace Ethics Advice. Contact information is at the web site. Just click the link.

Steven Mintz explains his policy on privacy and advising in this piece from his web site, which I have copied as exactly.


Goals of Workplace Ethics Advice

Workplace Ethics Advice Answers Your Questions

Workplace Ethics Advice is my new blog that expands on the Ethics Sage website to provide reasoned advice how best to deal with workplace ethics issues. Workplace ethics issues may include:

  • What to do when you suspect financial wrongdoing by a supervisor or top management;
  • What to so when you have been told to do something you feel is inappropriate;
  • What to so when you have been asked to do something you feel is inappropriate;
  • What to do when you have been ordered to keep quiet about a company action;
  • How to handle workplace stress issues including: perceived sexual harassment; discrimination; excessive expectations; difficult-to-deal-with bosses; other employees taking credit for your work; sabotage by fellow employees; insensitivity to personal issues inside and outside the workplace; unfair performance evaluation reviews;
  • Work-family issues; and
  • Whistle-blowing considerations

These are just examples of conflicts that may test your commitment to act ethically in the workplace. When faced with a dilemma the first step should always be to clarify your organization’s policy on handling such matters. For example, some companies have an ethics hotline where you can report issues of concern on an anonymous basis. Some have an ombudsperson to provide guidance on ethics issues. Also, be sure you are aware of the code of conduct in your organization because you don’t want to deal with someone else’s possible code violation while creating your own violation.

YOU CAN CONTACT THE ETHICS SAGE, aka Steven Mintz, AT ANY TIME DURING THE DILEMMA. Sometimes it’s best to contact me for advice immediately after the conflict arises and tell me about any company policy so that I can best understand the context of your situation and outline steps to take right away.  

Once I receive an inquiry from you I will examine all possible alternative courses of action and respond to you within 24 hours. You can then send me a follow-up question to further clarify my advice. In order to help others, if I believe your question has general applicability in the workplace then I may decide to post your question and my answer on the website. I WILL NOT RELEASE YOUR NAME UNLESS YOU EXPLICITLY REQUEST IT OR INDICATE YOU DON’T MIND IF I DO SO. ALL OUR COMMUNICATIONS ARE COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL UNLESS YOU WAIVE THAT PRIVILEGE!

Let me help you to navigate the sometimes rough waters of trying to be a loyal, ethical employee in the face of pressures to do otherwise.

Steven Mintz Addresses the Issue of Workplace Bullying

Steven Mintz writing in his blog, Workplace Ethics Advice, has some things to say about bullying in the workplace. As an attorney I can tell you with authority that he knows his business

If you believe you are the target of a workplace bully, speak to the person doing the bullying. Similar to sexual harassment in the workplace, a topic of a previous blog, the first step with bullying is to make your feelings known that it is unwanted and unwelcome behavior. While you know it can negatively affect workplace performance, I recommend you not mention that to a supervisor because it might be held against you if the matter gets out of control and a workplace demotion or firing needs to be “justified.” While talking to other employees may seem to be a logical step, be careful who you choose to discuss the matter with as that person might be pressured by the bullier down the road to tell the latter’s side of the story. What should you do? Be sure to keep a log to record when each incident occurred; what was said or done in response to it; and your feelings on the matter. It is a good idea to give a copy of the log to a trusted advisor who can independently attest to the facts down the road if that becomes necessary. This is similar to the protective step I recommend for a whistle-blower, the topic of my next blog.

Steven Mintz

Steven Mintz has been blogging for quite some time. He works hard at it and is well informed. His blog posts are backed up by careful research and a well ordered writing style. I recommend you read his blogs, favorite the site and subscribe. He’s one of the best ethics bloggers on the web.

James Pilant


Female-to-female workplace bullying: Homespun theory on an imperfect storm (via Minding the Workplace)

David Yamada

One of my regrets is I don’t talk as much about workplace bullying as much as I should. It’s a controversial area with some claiming it doesn’t exist.

I’ve seen it. I don’t like it. We as a nation should do something about it. Legislation is necessary to address the issue.

I admire David Yamada and his blog and, in particular, his wilingness to keep going in a difficult struggle.

Please read this and subcribe to David’s blog.

James Pilant

Among the many aspects of workplace bullying worthy of examination, female-to-female aggression seems to push the hardest buttons when raised in everyday discussions, in person or online. Some of the angriest and most anguished comments come from female targets. Newspaper articles and blog posts (such as here) about female-to-female bullying prove quite popular among readers and trigger impassioned exchanges. I often have wondered, what is it abo … Read More

via Minding the Workplace

The costs of suffering in silence about bad work situations (via Minding the Workplace)

“Don’t cause any trouble.” “It won’t do any good.” “Nothing ever changes.” “You’ll just get fired.” “He’s the boss’ favorite, you’ll get canned.” The litany goes on.

It’s a cultural thing. We are supposed to be tough, supposed to be able to handle it, not be a sissy.

That is empowerment. Definite, hardcore, empowerment. It makes every bully, every wiseass put down artist – well nigh invincible.

If there is anything you should avoid, it’s making some two-bit bullies feel good about themselves.

The article below explains some of the downsides to not speaking out.

Yamada’s work is excellent. I recommend his work.

James Pilant

Let’s say you’re being bullied or harassed or otherwise mistreated at work. Or maybe you’ve just learned that you’re being horribly underpaid compared to the less-than-stellar fellow in the next office or cubicle. Anger and resentment are natural responses to these situations, but is there any outlet to express your emotions at work? Bottled up Many people — dare I say most people — will keep it bottled up inside them. After all, self-censorshi … Read More

via Minding the Workplace

HR and workplace bullying: A revealing online conversation (via Minding the Workplace)

Workplace bullying is not a big deal. That’s a ridiculous statement. I’ve seen workplace bullying and heard stories from others. It is a serious problem.

David Yamada talks about bullying deniers in this current post. Reading it I worked up some outrage. I think it is likely you will too.

James Pilant

In a recent blog article assessing the anti-bullying movement in 2010, I stated that we saw both breakthroughs and backlash during the past year. This post reports an example of the latter. I call to your attention a recent, revealing online exchange about workplace bullying, employers, and human resources that took place on the discussion board of Workforce Management (link here). Several self-identified HR folks suggested that: concerns about w … Read More

via Minding the Workplace

From Australia, via Facebook: The raw impact of workplace bullying (via Minding the Workplace)

David Yamada blogs regularly on the subject of workplace bullying (among other issues). I very much respect his work and this piece is particularly eloquent and I recommend it to your attention.

I would like to praise the article but the power of the article and its raw emotional power is beyond my poor powers of description. You should just read.

James Pilant

Beyond Workplace Bullying Australia is one of the many Facebook (FB) pages that have formed in response to workplace bullying (more links here). A few days ago, I began noticing a series of short, wise, and plaintive posts from that page, obviously written by one person. The honesty, emotional intelligence, and pain expressed in these posts struck me as a form of raw testimony about the destructiveness of workplace bullying and just how much work … Read More

via Minding the Workplace

Is emotional detachment an antidote for a nasty workplace? (via Minding the Workplace)

David Yamada is back discussing whether emotional detachment (withdrawel?) is an appropriate response to work place problems. He contrasts Roberts Sutton’s current view with that of a much older source, Albert O. Hirschman. Yamada concludes that it is a solution of a sort but a sad solution.

Organizational psychologist Robert Sutton advises on his blog "Work Matters" (hosted by Psychology Today) that "for people who are trapped in nasty workplaces, and can't escape at least for now," one useful coping mechanism "is to learn the fine art of emotional detachment — so the poision (sic) around you does not ruin or infect your soul."  Sutton, who draws on his popular book The No Asshole Rule (2007), further explains: Passion is . . . won … Read More

via Minding the Workplace