Most popular 2015 blog posts on workplace bullying

(Image courtesy of

(Image courtesy of

For newer and long-time readers alike, I’ve rounded up the ten most popular Minding the Workplace posts on workplace bullying and related topics published during 2015, as measured by page views. Simply click on the respective titles to access the full articles:

Post-traumatic embitterment disorder as a consequence of workplace bullying (November) — “However, I suggest looking at this differently. How about acknowledging that anger, even deep, ongoing anger, is a natural response to unjust actions and behaviors that threaten or destroy one’s health, livelihood, and/or career? Obviously being stuck in a state of embitterment isn’t good for anyone, but let’s not blame a person for having these feelings, while failing to hold an employer accountable for having precipitated the response.”

Five signs of the eliminationist instinct in today’s workplaces (April) — “In addition, manifestations of the eliminationist instinct are hardly limited to large-scale horrors. They may appear in the workplace as well. True, the perpetrators are not mass killers, but their actions embody an easy ability to dehumanize others. Lacking empathy for their targets, they ply their trade with words and bureaucratic actions, rather than with weapons or instruments of physical torture.”

Workplace bullying, blackballing, and the eliminationist instinct (October) — “For some workplace aggressors, bullying someone out of a job isn’t enough. In addition, they must find ways to continue the torment even after a target has left the aggressor’s place of employment. . . . The aggressor’s goal? To blackball (others might say blacklist) the target out of a career and to undermine his or her ability to earn a livelihood.”

Shame-based organizations: When workplaces resemble dysfunctional families (December) — “While specific acts of bullying, mobbing, and abuse at work can be attributed to individuals, these behaviors are much less likely to flourish without permission — explicit or implicit — from the host organization. It’s why, among other things, that in order to understand workplace mistreatment, we need to keep one eye on the institutions and human systems that enable it.”

The warning signs of toxic workplaces (September) — “. . . I find interesting the similarities and differences between pieces purporting to identify the warning signs of a toxic workplace. I thought I’d share a few representative samples with you here, with an invitation to click the titles to read the fuller explanations.”

Helping workplace bullying targets get beyond rumination (February) — “As I’ve written before, we are still in the early stages of developing effective counseling, therapeutic, and coaching protocols for helping targets of workplace bullying. Too many practitioners remain unfamiliar with workplace bullying and its effects on individuals. Among other things, we need to enable those engaged in these helping modalities to help more people move out of that state of obsessive rumination and toward better places in their lives.”

Distinguishing workplace incivility and abrasiveness from bullying and mobbing (June) — “For me, the most significant line is where behaviors become abusive, motivated in significant part by a desire to cause distress or harm. When that line is crossed, it’s not about incivility or bad manners; we’re now into the territory of bullying or mobbing.”

The hi-lo combo: Competence, ethics, and workplace bullying (October) — “In essence, a subordinate presenting high levels of competence and ethics may pose a threat to a supervisor with the opposite qualities, especially if the latter is insecure and given to regarding talented subordinates as threats.”

What the 1971 Stanford prison experiment teaches us about workplace bullying (July) — “In August 1971, psychologist Philip Zimbardo conducted a famous experiment featuring a mock prison setting whose results are cited time and again as evidence of how everyday human beings can be easily transformed into heartless tyrants.”

Toxic leaders in social change non-profits (May) — “Just because a non-profit organization is dedicated to changing the world for the better, don’t assume that its leadership is committed to creating a healthy, supportive workplace for the staff. That’s the underlying message of a terrific presentation by Vega Subramaniam, co-founder of Vega Mala Consulting, who presented on toxic leadership in the non-profit, social change sector at this year’s just concluded Work, Stress, and Health conference.”


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