Posts Tagged ‘Gary Namie’


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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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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W&J Change Agents: Improving the workplace by educating

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Kind words of recognition for me and Dr. Ruth from my undergraduate alma mater, Washington & Jefferson College, published in Change Agents The remarkable ways alumni are making the world a better place, Fall 2014.

Read the article if you wish

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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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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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HBR: How to Deal with a Mean Colleague

Friday, October 17th, 2014

By Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review, October 16, 2014

When a colleague is mean to you, it can be hard to know how to respond. Some people are tempted to let aggressive behavior slide in the hopes that the person will stop. Others find themselves fighting back. When you’re being treated poorly by a coworker how can you change the dynamic? And if the behavior persists or worsens, how do you know when you’re dealing with a true bully?

What the Experts Say


“When it comes to bad behavior at work, there’s a broad spectrum,” with outright bullies on one end and people who are simply rude on the other, says Michele Woodward, an executive coach and host of HBR’s recent webinar: “Bullies, Jerks, and Other Annoyances” You may not know which end of the spectrum you’re dealing with until you actually address the behavior. If it’s a bully, it can be difficult ­— if not impossible — to get the person to change, says Gary Namie, the founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute and author of The Bully at Work. But in most cases, you can ­— and should ­— take action. “Know that you have a solution, you’re not powerless,” says Woodward. Here are some tactics to consider when dealing with an aggressive colleague.
(more…)

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WBI Survey: Reversing Emotional Abuse

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

REVERSING EMOTIONAL ABUSE
WBI Research/Instant Poll: 2014 – D

WBI credits friend and researcher Loraleigh Keashly for coining the term Emotional Abuse at Work as synonym for workplace bullying. Her 1998 review of the then-current scientific literature was aptly titled. Bullying always impacts the targeted person’s emotional state. The effect is always negative, not positive. In most cases, individuals are either happy or emotionally neutral at work, content to do their jobs. Bullying comes unannounced and uninvited. It compels immediate attention. All of one’s cognitive resources are deployed to cope with the psychological assault.

In worst cases, there is trauma that must be dealt with. In all cases, the target is stigmatized and social relations with coworkers strained. At the very least, the onset of bullying is a sad event. The once neutral or happy person is forced into negativity. At the outset, attempts to think “happy, positive thoughts” are overwhelmed by the negative reality imposed by the abuser.

Bullying triggers distress, the human stress response in reaction to the bully’s tactics, the stressors. If left unabated, prolonged distress leads to stress-related diseases, all sorts of health complications.

The most effective stress mitigation factor is social support. Validating human support can reverse the deleterious effects of emotional abuse. Isolation exacerbates the distress. Sometimes learning about the first-time experience can alleviate distress. After all, bullying is rather ambiguous when first experienced.

WBI research (WBI IP 2013-H) found that for 33% of bullied targets, their bullying at work was the first abuse ever experienced in their lives. Those people will take the longest to recognize Only 19% were bullied in school; they may or may not recognize the bullying happening to them at work because they might have expected bullying to have ended with school ending. Sadly, 44% of targets have a prior history with abuse from family experiences. Prior history alone does not guarantee instant recognition and labeling of the emotional abuse happening to them, but their visceral reactions become cues to recognition. They have “been there before” with respect to the emotional negativity; they have known fear, apprehension and anxiety.

WBI Instant Polls are online single-question surveys that rely upon self-selected samples of individuals bullied at work (typically 98% of any sample). No demographic data are collected. Our non-scientific Instant Polls accurately depict the perceptions of workers targeted for bullying at work as contrasted with the views of all adult Americans in our scientific national surveys.

For this survey, we asked 820 respondents (bullied targets and witnesses) to describe sources of positivity for bullied targets shrouded in negative emotions.

Question: As a bullied target, who made you feel better, changed your negative emotions to positive or at least less negative?
(more…)

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PEI RNs commit to stopping bullying in their workplaces

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

The Association of Registered Nurses made the cessation of bullying among their members (lateral violence) and against their members (bullying & abusive conduct) a priority. The project was launched at a 1-day conference in Charlottetown on Oct. 10. Speakers included Gary Namie, Director of the Workplace Bullying Institute and Vicki Foley, Nursing Professor at the University of Prince Edward Island. Both speakers appeared on CBC-PEI radio show Island Morning promoting the event.

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WBI Survey: The Many Ways Workplace Bullying Offends Its Targets

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

THE MANY WAYS WORKPLACE BULLYING OFFENDS ITS TARGETS
WBI Research/Instant Poll: 2014 – C

At WBI we teach extensively about the health risks of bullying for its victims, the bullied targets. Health risks are documented in the extant research literature and in the collection of prior WBI studies. We have also explored perceived injustices associated with bullying.

Harassment is considered “offensive” mistreatment. Offensiveness is subjective. What offends one person might not adversely affect others. However, when people are hurt, upset or angry over the behaviors by another person specifically directed at them, they have the right to claim to be offended.

At the very least, bullying is offensive. It is also demeaning, ostracizing, disempowering, cruel, threatening, humiliating, untruthful, and unrelated to work itself.

WBI Instant Polls are online single-question surveys that rely upon self-selected samples of individuals bullied at work (typically 98% of any sample). No demographic data are collected. Our non-scientific Instant Polls accurately depict the perceptions of workers targeted for bullying at work as contrasted with the views of all adult Americans in our scientific national surveys.

For this survey, we asked 1,031 respondents (bullied targets and witnesses) to describe the five most offensive aspects of the bullying experience.

Question: As a bullied target, what aspect of the bullying offended you the most? Check the top 5.

There were a total of 4,588 choices made by the 1,031 respondents. The top 6 from the list of 17 choices appears in the graph. We plotted the actual number of respondents who chose each item. The proportions based on the 1,031 respondents are shown in parentheses. Though respondents were allowed up to five choices, numbers 5 and 6 were virtually tied in rank, so both are shown.

Being accused of incompetence when I possessed more technical skills than my accuser 580 (.568)
Being humiliated in front of coworkers 493 (.483)
Feeling ashamed though I did nothing wrong 432 (.423)
Management ignoring my complaint 426 (.417)
Having coworkers ostracize, exclude & reject me 370 (.362)
Retaliation that followed my complaint 368 (.360)

(more…)

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WBI Survey: Intentions of Workplace Bullies

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

INTENTIONS OF WORKPLACE BULLIES
WBI Research/Instant Poll: 2014 – B

There has long been a debate about intentionality of perpetrators’ action in workplace bullying. Were the tactics committed deliberately? In the earliest WBI definition of bullying, we included “deliberate.” But as our legal education progressed and we began to lobby lawmakers to introduce our anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, we learned that the law did not require the discovery of motive if the action happens. That is, the wrongdoing — bullying acts — was evidence of intent. No one has to divine the hidden goals of perpetrators. If they committed the act, they meant to.

Nevertheless bully apologists —bloggers and reporters for business media — like to state that most bullying is unintentional. We certainly allowed for “accidental” or inadvertent bullying in our book, The Bully At Work (Sourcebooks, 2009). However, we now believe that it is very rare, not common like the apologist believe.

WBI Instant Polls are online single-question surveys that rely upon self-selected samples of individuals bullied at work (typically 98% of any sample). No demographic data are collected. Our non-scientific Instant Polls accurately depict the perceptions of workers targeted for bullying at work as contrasted with the views of all adult Americans in our scientific national surveys.

For this survey, we asked 817 respondents (bullied targets and witnesses) to describe the intentions of perpetrators they have experienced.

Of the workplace perpetrators of bullying I’ve known, they?

The percentages for each response option were:

.821 acted with the deliberate personal intention to harm others

.086 harmed others but were not aware of the consequences

.078 followed instructions of superiors in ways that hurt others

.015 never meant to harm others; were misunderstood
(more…)

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