Past reflections on workplace bullying and worker dignity

Especially with over 1,000 articles now posted to this blog, periodically I like to go back and bring to readers’ attentions past pieces that raised common themes. Here are five for your consideration, and you can read each full post by clicking on the title.

1. How workplace bullying bears similarities to domestic abuse (2011)

When people ask me if workplace bullying is a lot like schoolyard bullying, I typically respond, yes, in a way, but that domestic abuse is the more apt comparison. These are among the reasons why.

2. Can workplace incivility ever be healthy? (2011)

I still find myself having to explain this point in the face of inevitable and understandable pushback:

Those of us who study workplaces generally assume that incivility is a bad thing. . . .

. . . However, there are times when incivility may be an understandable consequence of a disagreement or difference of opinion. Such exchanges — often marked by the use of otherwise rude, harsh, or offensive words – can clear the air, hopefully paving the way toward a healthy resolution.

3. Hope for worker dignity comes out of a union meeting in Massachusetts (2011)

On Thursday, it was my good fortune to be a guest speaker at the monthly Joint Executive Committee meeting of SEIU/NAGE in Massachusetts. . . .

. . . I realize that not all supporters of the Healthy Workplace Bill are fans of unions. Some may have had unpleasant personal experiences with them.

True, unions are fallible organizations, like any other kind of group endeavor. And a bad union is just that. But these imperfections render the labor movement no less necessary. A world without organized labor is a world that has declared open season on everyday workers.

4. Helping targets of workplace bullying: The need for an integrated counseling approach (2010)

Many years of talking to targets of severe workplace bullying have reinforced my belief that we need to fashion multifaceted counseling approaches for people who are dealing with this form of abuse.  At least three categories continually intersect . . .

5. Work and Workplaces of a New Decade: Notes on a “Dignitarian” Agenda (2010)

I think we’ve still got a long way to go on the seven points I raised in this piece.

As we turn to a new decade, permit me to set out some notes on a “dignitarian” (to borrow Robert Fuller’s wonderful term) agenda for work and workplaces for the next 10 years.  Obviously this is far from the last word on the subject, but establishing some basic themes may be helpful . . .

One response

  1. More great stuff from, I have to say it, one of the greatest educators–at least in terms of what I need to be paying attention to and learning. Questions:

    Is a direct lie from management in response to a direct question from an employee considered abuse or some kind of incivility or what?

    With some European and all these other countries having labor tribunals in which it seems like it’s comparitively easier for one to be heard regarding workplace bullying than, let’s say, US courts, why don’t we have labor tribunals?

    I really want to try to lobby for Restorative Justice venues, possibly with subpoena power or other means to compel parties, because I want to be able to sit down with workplace bullies, along with members and leaders of my community present, and come to some sort of resolution/restitution so that we could be able to pass each other on the same side of the street in a civilized manner. I have thought about this a lot, and attended some restorative justice workshops. Who or what might be able to help me pursue this in an appropriate way?

    Thanks for all your great work.

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