This week it was my pleasure to participate in a workshop, “Understanding the Civility Spectrum in the Workplace,” at the annual National Labor-Management Conference of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Chicago. The FMCS is an independent federal agency whose mission is to support labor-management peace and cooperation through mediation and conflict resolution services. My fellow co-facilitators were two FMCS Commissioners, Denise McKenney (also the agency’s Director of Equal Employment Opportunity) and Ligia Velazquez.
We opened with a framing of a “civility spectrum” that starts milder forms of incivility at work and runs all the way to bullying and mobbing behaviors. Our “formal” presentations quickly gave way to a very interactive discussion with a full room of practitioners from labor unions, management/human resources, and neutrals (mediators and arbitrators).
I titled this post “hopeful, informed dialogue” because that’s exactly what I came away with by participating in an exchange among labor relations professionals from different backgrounds. The discussion was insightful, knowledgeable, and respectful. People implicitly recognized that creating healthy workplaces requires an awareness of, and accountability for, individual behaviors, as well as effective policies and procedures at an organizational level.
No, we didn’t develop any magic, one-size-fits-all answers on how to deal with incivility, bullying, and mobbing in the workplace. This stuff is too complicated and varied for easy fixes. But when I think back to my first forays into workplace bullying as a topic of study and research back in 1998 with Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute, I can see how far we’ve come in terms of public education and understanding.
Planning and presenting this program with the folks at FMCS was a very collaborative experience. It was great to co-facilitate with Commissioners McKenney and Velazquez. Their ability to encourage dialogue and discussion contributed mightily toward the interactive nature of the session. In addition, Javier Ramirez (FMCS Manager of National/Field Programs, Initiatives and Innovation) and Heather Brown (FMCS Director of Education and Training) were instrumental in helping to put this together. I also appreciated the warm welcome extended to me by FMCS Director Richard Giacolone and his staff.
To Learn More
Here are some of the resources I listed in my handout for the FMCS program:
Many of my articles on workplace bullying and related topics are freely downloadable from my Social Sciences Research Network page, including:
- David C. Yamada, Workplace Bullying and Ethical Leadership, Journal of Values-Based Leadership (2008)
- David C. Yamada, The Phenomenon of “Workplace Bullying” and the Need for Status-Blind Hostile Work Environment Protection, Georgetown Law Journal (2000)
- David C. Yamada, Emerging American Legal Responses to Workplace Bullying, Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review (2013)
The Workplace Bullying Institute (Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie)
I have worked with WBI on a pro bono basis since 1998. Their website is a treasure trove of information and resources.
American Psychological Association, Center for Organizational Excellence
I served as a subject matter expert to the APA on the development of this resource webpage on workplace bullying, including an animated educational video, links, and book list.
- Maureen Duffy & David C. Yamada, eds., Workplace Bullying and Mobbing in the United States (Praeger/ABC-CLIO, 2018) (two-volume, multidisciplinary, multi-contributor book set).
- Gary Namie & Ruth Namie, The Bully-Free Workplace (Wiley, 2011) (for employers)
- Gary Namie & Ruth Namie, The Bully at Work (Sourcebooks, rev. ed. 2009) (for bullying targets)
- Maureen Duffy & Len Sperry, Overcoming Mobbing: A Recovery Guide for Workplace Aggression and Bullying (Oxford U. Press, 2014)
- Shelley D. Lane, Understanding Everyday Incivility (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)
- Christine Porath, Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace (Grand Central Publishing, 2016)