Roundup on workplace bullying and organizational culture

I and others have written frequently about the critical linkages between organizational culture and the presence of bullying behaviors. I’ve gathered a short collection of previous posts on this subject for your consideration:

When superficial civility supports workplace abusers (and their enablers) (2014) — “But at times, the organizational embrace of a superficial brand of civility can advantage those who engage in bullying, harassment, or discrimination at work. It often starts with mistreatment masked by a steady, calm demeanor. This may include behaviors that are calculated to be plausibly deniable, such as bullying by omission (e.g., exclusion and ostracism), “lighter” forms of harassment, or indirect discrimination.”

Duffy & Sperry on the organizational life cycle: When the wheels are coming off, do bullying/mobbing behaviors follow? (2014) — “Over the years, I’ve heard many descriptions of workplace cultures associated with bullying & mobbing that seem to correlate with the Early and Late Bureaucratization stages described by the authors. Status-seeking, turf wars, dropping morale, poor leadership, passive-aggressive behaviors, lousy communication, self-protective and play-it-safe strategies…the list goes on and on.”

Energy leadership, organizational culture, and workplace bullying (2013) — “So what type of leaders are likely to engage in, enable, and cover up abusive behavior at work? Yup, catabolic ones. In fact, the very catabolic hormonal processes described by Schneider — the ongoing release of cortisol and adrenalin — describe what happens to a workplace bullying target who is experiencing severe, ongoing stress.”

On creating organizational culture: What if your boss simply doesn’t care? (2013) — “Bosses who practice benign neglect when it comes to organizational culture create a giant void that others fill. If, for example, the immediate lieutenants are attentive to nurturing a psychologically healthy workplace, then everyday working conditions may be pretty decent for the rank-and-file. By contrast, if those lieutenants are clueless about managing a workplace effectively, then a lot of people may suffer. And if a manipulative, bullying type of individual seizes power within that void, a good number of people will suffer.”

“Compassionate management” sounds great, but can it sweat the tough stuff? (2013) — “…(A) real test of an organizational leader is what she does when presented with a valid report about workplace bullying that implicates a top executive or, better yet, that person’s friend. Will the situation be handled fairly and honestly, or will it be swept under the rug? All of the organization’s proclaimed devotion to ethics and social responsibility go out the window if the latter occurs.”

Are some workplaces “bullying clusters”? (2012) — “As someone who has been studying workplace bullying for over a decade — albeit not as an empirical researcher — the bullying cluster concept seems self-evident to me. We’re well aware that workplace bullying is not an isolated dynamic. Leadership and workplace culture have a lot to do with it. Organizational consultants are regularly called in to deal with toxic workplaces, and not surprisingly they often find a lot of bullying behaviors within them. And it appears that certain occupational groups — health care, law, and education, to name a few — are associated with high levels of workplace bullying.”

What workplace bullying teaches us about the integrity of American employers (2011) — “Ståle Einarsen, University of Bergen psychology professor and a leading authority on workplace bullying, once gave a conference keynote address in which he said, in effect, that rather than using our knowledge of employment relations to help us understand workplace bullying, perhaps we should use our knowledge of workplace bullying to help us understand employment relations.”

Is your workplace psychologically and ethically healthy? (2010) — “Is your workplace a beacon of psychological health, or do employees experience the Sunday night dreads over the coming week? Is there a sense that it is run with integrity and transparency, or are folks waiting for (maybe hoping for) some investigation or even indictment? I periodically post questions that help us determine the psychological well-being and ethical culture of a given workplace, often drawing upon experts in employment relations, organizational behavior, and psychology. I’ve collected some of them here, with links to the original posts.”


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