The first day of the 7th International Conference on Workplace Bullying & Harassment in Cardiff, Wales, featured a record number of registrations and an overwhelming variety of quality presentations.
Despite a difficult economy and rising air fares, the conference has attracted some 230 delegates from 30 countries, a significant increase from the 2008 conference in Montreal, which drew a (then) record 160 delegates.
In addition, a pre-conference workshop for doctoral students who are conducting research and writing dissertations on workplace bullying attracted some 20 participants, according to one of the grad students who attended.
Professor Duncan Lewis (host organization University of Glamorgan in Cardiff) and Charlotte Rayner (University of Portsmouth and President of the International Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment) opened the conference with greetings to the delegates and encouragement to take full advantage of the learning and networking opportunities provided.
Two keynote speakers, Stale Einarsen (University of Bergen) and Gary Namie (Workplace Bullying Institute), followed. Stale presented his provocative model of how our understanding of workplace bullying can shape the ways in which we look at organizational leadership. Gary emphasized the importance of framing workplace bullying in a context that supports target recovery, organizational responsiveness, and legal reform, drawing on the theories of linguistics professor George Lakoff.
An array of panel discussions and addresses awaited delegates for the rest of the day, topped off by dinners grouped by the special interests of the delegates. Today’s panels covered topics such as empirical evidence, interventions, health effects, organizational dynamics, education, and equality.
For scholars and practitioners whose work centers on workplace bullying and related behaviors, this conference is a biennial smorgasbord. The programs themselves — not the many charms of historic Cardiff literally surrounding us — are the main attractions. Unlike many academic and professional conferences, these programs draw full attendance and engaged attention.
I’ll be reporting more about the conference, including several summaries of presentations I found especially interesting. But for now I must review my notes for my keynote remarks, which will talk about legal initiatives in a multidisciplinary context.
Here’s a news account previewing the conference from WalesOnline.
Short report on Day 3 of the Conference
Short report on Day 2 of the Conference