Alas, higher education continues to inspire commentary on workplace bullying and related behaviors. Here are two pieces worth a read:
Chantal Leclerc, with Cécile Sabourin and Micheline Bonneau, reports on a study of harassment in academe by the Quebec Federation of University Professors in the May edition of the Society for Occupational Health Psychology Newsletter:
Several indicators of harassment have been observed in universities. To understand this phenomenon, an ad hoc committee of the Québec Federation of University Professors (FQPPU) conducted a qualitative study of union representatives and faculty members. The study, rich with personal testimony, found that the university culture and context breed harassment and an abusive exercise of power, the effects of which harm the victims, and the university as a whole.
Contrary to what many of us prefer to believe, harassment is rarely the work of perverse individuals who take pleasure in targeting others having the typical victim profile. Instead, we found that harassment ensues from political and organizational choices that impose extra workloads, competition, and an emphasis on individualism as methods of managing and organizing labor.
The full article is contained in this PDF of May issue (scroll down to page 11): http://sohp.psy.uconn.edu/SOHPNewsletterV6May2009.pdf.
The SOHP website: http://sohp.psy.uconn.edu/.
Change Magazine Feature
Change is a bi-monthly periodical about higher education. Its May-June issue includes a feature by Michael Fischer, “Defending Collegiality,” which examines the pros and cons of codes of conduct for academic workplaces. Here’s a snippet:
Thus, some faculty members have begun exploring codes of conduct, not because they want to squelch free debate but because they want to enable it. They are especially concerned about the most vulnerable faculty members – often newcomers with fresh perspectives and much-needed enthusiasm – who may shy away from departmental deliberations lest they jeopardize their personal futures. The motivation behind codes of conduct is not to make everyone agree but to let everyone feel free to disagree, allowing all voices to be heard.
For the full article: http://www.changemag.org/May-June%202009/full-defending-collegiality.html
For our earlier post on bullying in academe (easily the most popular in the short history of this blog): https://newworkplace.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/workplace-bullying-and-mobbing-in-academe-the-hell-of-heaven/.