Cardiff Workplace Bullying Conference, Day 3

The third and final day of the excellent 7th International Conference on Workplace Bullying & Harassment in Cardiff, Wales, finished up in earnest on Friday, with delegates present for a morning keynote address and two more sessions of parallel panels. I’ll be mentioning more specific pieces from the conference in posts to come, but here are some wrap-up observations.

Sense of purpose

What strikes me as being unique about this conference, at least compared to so many other academic and professional gatherings, is a shared sense of purpose that turns the conference into a three-day learning community. By and large, academicians, practitioners, and graduate students attend and participate out of a serious interest in and commitment to research and practice concerning this destructive phenomenon. The cross-disciplinary and scholar-practitioner mixes make for valuable learning experiences.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s not a giant feel-good assemblage. There are genuine differences of opinion among people doing work in this field, and the cozy sense of togetherness that prevailed when conference attendees numbered in the dozens rather than the hundreds is giving way to a larger look and feel. Nevertheless, friendships form and the overall atmosphere is one of collegiality and even fellowship.  This is quite the contrast to the uptight, buttoned-up milieu of many other academic and professional gatherings.

Workplace bullying and the law

I was pleased to see the significant increase in presentations about the employment and labor law aspects of workplace bullying, covering countries spanning the globe. I’ll have more to say about this later, but for now let me note that of the several conferences in this series that I have attended, this is the first time where law and public policy enjoyed such a strong presence among the different panels.  The news was not always good — legal protections against severe bullying at work are far from adequate, globally speaking — but the encouraging piece is that the topic is starting to get the attention it deserves.

Graduate student presence

I’m happy to see more graduate students are attending and presenting their work.  As I noted in my post about Day 1 of the conference (link below), a pre-conference doctoral workshop attracted some 30 attendees.  In addition, doctoral students were frequent presenters, and their work is helping to grow our knowledge base about workplace bullying.  Some of them will take their interest and work into the university classrooms of tomorrow, thereby helping to educate new generations of learners about workplace bullying and its effects.

Congrats, Gary!

Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute has been elected to the board of directors of the International Association on Workplace Bullying & Harassment.  While confessing bias, I have long believed that Gary’s understanding of the different aspects of workplace bullying — behaviors, costs, and responses — is second to none. He will contribute mightily to this organization.

Many thanks

Hosting and organizing an international conference of this nature is an enormous undertaking that spans more than two years, starting with the initial proposal and concluding with countless little post-conference odds and ends.  Special kudos go to Professor Duncan Lewis, conference organizer Louise Davies, and staff member Catherine Wilson — all of the University of Glamorgan’s Centre for the Study of Workplace Behaviours — for putting together a first-rate, memorable gathering.  Professor Michael Sheehan, who was unable to join us for the conference but put in significant contributions toward its success, also deserves our thanks.

Their efforts not only supported their colleagues who shared insights at the conference, but also will help workers and organizations in the years to come.

June 2012

Copenhagen!  (But start filling the piggy bank — I’m told it isn’t cheap to be a visitor there!)


Short report on Day 2 of the Conference

Short report on Day 1 of the Conference

4 responses

  1. Pingback: Cardiff Workplace Bullying Conference, Day 2 « Minding the Workplace

  2. Pingback: Cardiff Workplace Bullying Conference, Day 1 « Minding the Workplace

  3. David,
    Your generosity in chronicling the Conference is most appreciated. These are the kinds of things that help keep me going while keeping my spirit alive. I’m looking forward to subsequent posts; especially on Union participation.
    Congratulations to Gary for being elected to the Board of Directors! He will, indeed, contribute mightily.

  4. Thank you for your wonderful updates on the conference!

    Another article out of New York: “Bullying bill threatens to strong-arm employers”

    David Bauer of Capital Bauer Insurance Agency Inc. is quoted: “Does that mean if someone hurts your feelings at work, you sue?”

    We’ve got some educating to do!! Employers need to know that the Healthy Workplace legislation seeks to save organizations money and increase productivity. An unhealthy organization cannot possibly reach its potential. Improving the workplace environment will improve the bottom line.

    Employers also need to understand that employees risk their careers when they reach the point of filing a lawsuit. Companies don’t want to hire perceived “troublemakers.” As a plaintiff’s paralegal working in employment law, rarely do I have someone call who wants to sue his/her employer. Employees simply want to work in a respectful, supportive environment.

    The Healthy Workplace legislation is about creating a workplace where people thrive – when the workplace thrives, organizations, the economy and society thrive.

    Thanks again for keeping us updated!

    Debra Healy
    Healy Conflict Management Services

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