Do the “seven stages of hate” help to illuminate mobbing behaviors at work?

Former FBI behavioral analyst Jack Schafer, blogging for Psychology Today (link here), summarizes the “Seven-Stage Hate Model” that he first presented in a 2003 co-authored piece in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin:

Stage 1: The Haters Gather

Stage 2: The Hate Group Defines Itself

Stage 3: The Hate Group Disparages the Target

Stage 4: The Hate Group Taunts the Target

Stage 5: The Hate Group Attacks the Target Without Weapons

Stage 6: The Hate Group Attacks the Target with Weapons

Stage 7: The Hate Group Destroys the Target

Schafer’s full post — which elaborates on each stage — is worth printing out and reading.

Mobbing and bullying at work

Schafer aptly recognizes that the model has “wider application,” and he takes us through a workplace scenario, applying the seven stages:

For example, when a coworker, for various reasons, becomes a hate target, the hater immediately seeks out others in the office who dislike, or can be persuaded to dislike, the hated coworker (Stage 1).

It’s about insecurities

Those who have studied workplace bullying will find themselves nodding at Shafer’s identification of a central characteristic among the haters:

Hate masks personal insecurities. Not all insecure people are haters, but all haters are insecure people. Hate elevates the hater above the hated. Haters cannot stop hating without exposing their personal insecurities. Haters can only stop hating when they face their insecurities.

This observation dovetails with the findings of a 2006 study by professors Nathanael Fast and Serena Chen (reported on this blog), indicating that “power paired with a lack of self-perceived competence” can lead to aggression at work.

Pioneering researchers

Heinz Heymann

Schafer’s model also resonates with the work of the late Swedish psychologist Heinz Leymann, whose pioneering investigations during the 1980s constituted the starting point for conceptualizing and understanding the phenomenon of workplace bullying.  Leymann used the term “mobbing” to describe the kinds of abusive, hostile behaviors that were being directed at workers. (Go here for the website about Leymann’s work.)

Davenport, Schwartz & Elliott

Noa Davenport, Ruth Distler Schwartz and Gail Pursell Elliott would build on Leymann’s work in their important 2002 book, Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace.

Ken Westhues

Also on point is the masterful work on mobbing in academe by University of Waterloo sociologist Kenneth Westhues. His detailed accounts of the mobbing of university professors are worthy of close study and carry lessons for well beyond academic settings. (Go here for Westhues’s website.)


Hat tip to CiviliNation for the Schafer blog post.

One response

  1. Pingback: The Seven Stages of Hate and Mobbing Behaviors | OpenPublic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: