Archive for the ‘WBI Education’ Category


WBI Survey: Politicians as Bullies?

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

POLITICIANS AS BULLIES?
WBI Research/Instant Poll: 2014 – E

It is common knowledge that politics in 2014 America are quite polarized. No longer do politicians pretend to want to solve social problems with social policy. Interactions between politicians are characterized by ad hominem attacks. Politicians seem to be mimicking the personalized nature of bullying. The parallels between the political and workplace domains seemed obvious to us at WBI.

However, critics quickly pounce on our blog musings about the similarities. Commentators say “stick to workplace bullying and stay out of politics.” They believe politics is a field of employment different than any other. The same failure to see equivalence occurred when NFL player Jonathan Martin walked away from his professional football team claiming he endured an “abusive work environment.” The majority of society granted the NFL exemption from treatment as a workplace where employers bear responsibility for harm their employees suffer. It was said that the locker room is so unique it cannot be changed from its barbaric state.

Ironically, the NFL itself defined its locker room as a workplace. Discrimination laws apply. And the Martin case taught the NFL lessons about human responses to abusive conduct even when targets weigh 300 or more pounds.

In this survey, we asked 307 respondents (bullied targets and witnesses) to give their opinion about whether politics involves bullying or not. Question:

Is bullying by politicians of politicians or citizens as harmful as workplace bullying?

The percentages for each response option were:

.873 Yes, always

.094 Sometimes, only when the less powerful person suffers serious harm

.023 No, political harm is not the same as harm to non-politicians

.001 Never, bullying tactics define politics

The results show that the community of bullied targets does not grant exemptions easily. They conclude that bullying and abuse are the same regardless of venue. Apologists for politicians’ outrageous anti-social behavior towards one another like to say that politics is a special type of workplace, immune from social codes and restrictions that apply to everyone else.

But bullied targets do not see the separation into distinct domains. Anti-abuse rules for everyone should apply everywhere — in families, in schools, in churches, in workplaces and among occupants of our legislative chambers.

Download as PDF file.

© 2014 Workplace Bullying Institute. Do not use without proper citation of WBI as the source.


See the complete set of WBI Studies

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Oettingen: Positive thinking not always effective

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

I’ve always had a negative reaction to positive psychology despite a sometimes unjustifiable optimism. The contrarian in me seeks the alternative path when the mainstream suggests we all get in line like sheep, think alike and go down the same road. As a psychologist, I saw positivism as my field’s attempt to reinvent a history of its dark obsession with abnormality forged by European pioneers.

Related to my life immersed in bullying and injured bullied targets, I see newcomers and nitwits give targets bad advice. Some invoke positive thinking. Feel good affirmations cannot pierce the shroud under which bullied, anxious, and depressed targets find themselves. Can they? Of course, being told to “get real,” and “just grow a thicker skin” are equally inane and ineffective admonitions. Where’s the middle ground?

I found the realistic alternative to positivism in the work of German psychologist and researcher Gabriele Oettingen who teaches at New York University. Here are citations from an essay she recently wrote for the New York Times and the lengthier statements from her university webpage. Her approach seems best suited to targets seeking ways to overcome their adversity foisted upon them involuntarily.

Mental Contrasting

“Mental contrasting” has produced powerful results in laboratory experiments. When participants have performed mental contrasting with reasonable, potentially attainable wishes, they have come away more energized and achieved better results compared with participants who either positively fantasized or dwelt on the obstacles.

When participants have performed mental contrasting with wishes that are not reasonable or attainable, they have disengaged more from these wishes. Mental contrasting spurs us on when it makes sense to pursue a wish, and lets us abandon wishes more readily when it doesn’t, so that we can go after other, more reasonable ambitions.

WBI: This approach seems to give permission to the person to let go of unattainable goals — e.g., convincing your employer to fire the bully — freeing the person to pursue wholeheartedly realistic goals — e.g., finding the next job, taking time off from work to heal or spending time with family and loved ones to repair strained relationships that matter more than work.

(more…)

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Posted in Bullying-Related Research, Social/Mgmt/Epid Sciences, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Workplace Bullying: Dare we call it terror?

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Posing this question on the internet is risky, certain to draw unsolicited government surveillance attention in paranoid America. You see, terror existed before America’s Sept. 11, 2001. Just ask Britain. We should be able to use the word when it applies to a variety of situations. But after 9-11, the semantic gods yielded control of the term to western governments.

Here is Merriam-Webster’s definition:


ter·ror
noun \ˈter-ər, ˈte-rər\

1:  a state of intense fear
2 a :  one that inspires fear :  scourge b :  a frightening aspect c :  a cause of anxiety :  worry d :  an appalling person or thing; especially :  brat
3:  reign of terror
4:  violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands

Origin of TERROR
Middle English, from Anglo-French terrour, from Latin terror, from terrēre to frighten; akin to Greek trein to be afraid, flee, tremein to tremble First Known Use: 14th century

Thus, a practitioner of terror, the terrorist, is a person who deliberately instills fear and anxiety in others in an intimidating fashion. Isn’t that what a workplace bully does when she or he abuses others? From fear comes paralysis. Shocked and paralyzed targets and witnesses do not respond to aggression with aggression.

Look at the fourth term in the above definition. The goal of intimidation is have “a population or government,” proxies for organizations, grant the bully’s demands. Bullies get their way with their employers. Perpetrators are rarely punished. They abuse others with impunity, rarely facing consequences. American employers do next to nothing to stop bullies while innocent guileless targets lose their jobs, livelihoods and sanity at alarming rates.

Logically, workplace bullies are terrorists within organizations. They are organizational terrorists. Their actions fit the definition. We simply are applying a label appropriately.

Bullying is not simply eye rolling as bully apologists like to characterize it. It is workplace violence, albeit a non-physical form. It is a mistake to underestimate the effects verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, humiliation and domination have on human beings.

History is on our side. The founder of the international movement in Sweden, Heinz Leymann, titled one of his early English-language journal articles — “Mobbing and Psychological Terror at Workplaces.” Of course, he chose the term mobbing to connote the interpersonal destruction of workplace victims by multiple perpetrators. To assess the extent to which a target was harmed, he developed his own instrument, the LIPT, the Leymann Interpersonal Psychological Terrorization scale. Leymann minced no words. He died in 1999 before other nations followed America’s descent into paranoia about terrorism. I wonder how close he was to naming the phenomenon we know today as bullying, terrorization.

When Dr. Ruth and I made the commitment to begin the work which evolved into the Workplace Bullying Institute back in 1996-97, we had a choice of two reasonable terms. Mobbing was the Scandinavian and European term. Workplace Bullying was the British term. We deliberately chose to import “workplace bullying” for a variety of reasons. We originally did discuss “terrorization,” but felt it would be considered too radical to be accepted by American media. A short four years later, Sept 11 happened. The movement would have been stopped in its tracks for adopting anything related to “terror.”

Looking back after more than 17 years, in the spirit of realistically naming the destructive force that workplace bullying is, I now see “terrorization” as an entirely appropriate synonym to add to the list of acceptable terms. Invoking Leymann’s courage to call it what it is, bullying is terrorism.

Which employers will launch a “war” against it within their walls? Call us. We’ll help you do it right.

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Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, The New America, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



New WBI Instant Poll: Your Stage of Targethood

Monday, October 27th, 2014

At what stage of being bullied at work do you find yourself today? Choose up to 3.

View Results

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Fast Company: Why Bullies Get Promoted

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Why The Office Bully Is Getting Promoted
Your company culture may encourage bullies and you may not even know it.
By Lisa Evans, Fast Company, October 23, 2014

You may have thought you’d escaped bullying when you traded the school yard for the office, but according to the Workplace Bullying Institute, 27% of Americans are still experiencing bullying in the workplace.

Instead of being shoved in a locker or having your head dunked in the toilet, workplace bullying is non-physical, yet still as emotionally harmful. The Workplace Bullying Institute defines workplace bullying as any form of verbal abuse, job sabotage, intimidation, or humiliation.

(more…)

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Posted in Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI in the News | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment () »



Tuscaloosa Alabama city council approves Workplace Bullying policy

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Just in time for WBI’s Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week, James Woodson, Tuscaloosa Senior Assistant City Attorney introduced and the city council passed its first-ever workplace bullying policy (Ordinance No. 8144, Oct. 14, 2014). As documented elsewhere at the WBI site, a policy is necessary but not sufficient to comprehensively prevent and correct bullying. But it is a good preliminary step by any employer. Tuscaloosa will follow with training for staff and managers. We commend Mr. Woodson and the council. Woodson told his local TV station

“It wasn’t that many years ago that employers were adopting for the first time sexual harassment policies, then that became anti-harassment policies, and I think this is a natural extension to bullying, to essentially catch all of the inappropriate workplace behavior.”

[Earlier in 2014, Tennessee became the first state to encourage government agencies as employers to adopt policies to address abusive conduct.]

Here are the policy’s strengths and shortcomings.

(more…)

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Ruth & Gary Namie join Las Vegas City Hall rally during Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

On Monday Oct. 20 Noon to 3 pm.
Nevada State Coordinator Kassina McClary leads a rally
in front of Las Vegas City Hall
495 S. Main St., Las Vegas

Join us for this local celebration of Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week.

The event will include testimony by bullied individuals and education about the WBI anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill to be introduced in 2015 in the Nevada State Legislature.

Also attending and speaking will be Drs. Ruth and Gary Namie, founders of the Workplace Bullying Institute and leaders of the U.S. Workplace Bullying movement and campaign to enact state laws in the U.S. Come meet them in person. They are scheduled for 1:30 pm.

The Namies are authors of The Bully At Work (the book for bullied individuals) and The Bully-Free Workplace (the book for employers). Visit the extensive WBI YouTube channel for hundreds of bullying-related videos.

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It takes all of us to stop workplace bullying. What you can do for Freedom Week.

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Workplace bullying is a complex phenomenon because it is systemic with the majority of causes dwelling in the work environment, organizational culture. It is much more than personalities of targets and perpetrators. Thus, to stop it, we all need to pressure employers to stop running on autopilot and allowing bullying to happen as a normal routine way of doing business.

Here are WBI’s suggested actions for each of us in different roles and professions to pressure employers to reign in their out-of-control miscreants, to stop rewarding the misconduct, and to establish a positive workplace culture free of abusive conduct for the future.

Bullied Targets/Individuals
Family & Friends
Co-Workers and Witnesses
Unions
Medical Professionals
Employers/Executives
Mental Health Professionals
School Administrators
Community Leaders
State Legislators

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An explosion of proclamations for 2014 WBI Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

WBI State Coordinators, the national network of volunteers who lobby state lawmakers to introduce, then enact, our anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, are also the prime activists for Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week. Every year, in many states, cities and counties recognize Freedom Week. In turn, state lawmakers have to pay attention to the grassroots attention paid to ending abusive conduct in workplaces in their respective states.

In 2014, California leads the proclamation race with over 80 cities endorsing Freedom Week just prior to the start of the Week. Check the California Healthy Workplace Advocates website for a current listing. Here is a sample of California cities and counties.

Oakley, Calistoga, Pleasanton, Adlanto, Temecula, Campbell, Oceanside, Buena Park, Garden Grove, Oakdale, Lemoore, Palm Desert, Thousand Oaks, Carpinteria, South Lake Tahoe, Wasco, Santa Maria, Capitola, Saratoga, Santa Rosa, Walnut Creek, Indian Wells, Port Hueneme, San Juan Bautista, Costa Mesa, Kingsburg, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz County, Watsonville, Fowler, Sand City, Moreno Valley, Santa Clara, Grover Beach, Dinuba, Pinole, Ontario, Rohnert Park, Duarte, Goleta, Lompoc, Hermosa Beach, Tulare, Rancho Mirage, Redlands, Ridgecrest, San Leandro, Capitola, Placentia, City of Santa Cruz, Palmdale, Manteca, Portola Valley, Downey, St. Helena, Torrance, Moorpark, Sebastopol, Murieta, Contra Costa County, Mission Viejo, National City, Wheatland, Foster City, LaCanada, Dublin, Montclair, Tehachapi, Tustin, Pico Rivera, Lodi, Anderson, El Cerrito, Burbank, Tehachapi, Brea, South El Monte, Livermore, Lassen County

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Wisconsin county joins Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week

Friday, October 17th, 2014

County Declares No Tolerance for Workplace Bullying
By Lyn Jerde, Portage (WI) Daily Register, Oct. 16, 2014

Andy Ross made it clear at the outset: Nobody is saying that there are bullies working for Columbia County.

But, in urging the County Board Wednesday to approve a resolution proclaiming Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week, Ross said the county’s top governing body should reiterate the importance of a bully-free workplace.

Ross is a member of the County Board’s Human Resources Committee, which offered the resolution, which the County Board approved unanimously.

The Workplace Bullying Institute, based in Bellingham, Washington, started largely because one of the founders, Ruth Namie, once had a “boss from hell,” according to information on the Workplace Bullying Institute’s website. In the 1990s, she wrote, there was little legal recourse for victims of workplace harassment if the harassment wasn’t overtly racist or sexist.

The Institute has declared next week, Oct. 19 to 25, as Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week.

The Institute defines workplace bullying as “a systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction that jeopardizes your health, your career, the job you once loved.” This kind of bullying usually doesn’t entail physical threats, but rather deliberate emotional and psychological abuse.

Ross told the County Board that the resolution puts the county on record that such behavior won’t be tolerated in any Columbia County department.

“This is one of those topics that we wish we didn’t have to address,” he said.

The topic is being addressed, Ross noted, in ongoing management and leadership training that has been provided, first to county department heads and later to lower-level managers in county departments. The training, offered through Madison Area Technical College, will focus this fall on how managers can avoid bullying behavior.

“Depending on how old you are,” Ross said, “it may be something that was acceptable, and pretty common, years ago. But we can’t tolerate it anymore.”

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Posted in Freedom Week, Good News, Media About Bullying, Print: News, Blogs, Magazines, WBI Education, WBI in the News | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



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