Posts Tagged ‘victims’


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 () »



Workplace Bullying Targets to Employers: I Won’t Beg

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

[The unspoken, unwritten message employers need to hear.]

I love my job. I apply my education and experience to the task that keeps me stimulated and for which I can still get excited.

When I took this job I didn’t agree to be abused in exchange for a paycheck. I didn’t ask if you had abusers on the payroll and if you were sending me to work with them. I assumed the goodness in everyone as a starting point. I know now I should not have.

It was you who assigned me to a work group managed by a person you chose. I assumed you had managers trained in the interpersonal art of managing people. Evidently you think that is too expensive and rely instead on on-the-job training. All of us pay for that shortsighted decision.

(more…)

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Posted in Target Tale, WBI Education | 2 Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



No excuses. Workplace bullying & abuse are perpetrated by people.

Monday, February 4th, 2013

I’m old enough to remember when prostitution was rationalized as a “victimless” crime. The lies included: no one gets hurt, everyone is an adult free to choose, customers aren’t bad people just doin’ what comes naturally, blah, blah. Then newer generations discovered the sex slave trade, exploitation of young children, crime syndicates keeping the spoils. There certainly were then, and are, victims.

In our 15-year (16 in June) American campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of workplace bullying, we’ve seen some similar nonsensical rationalizations about this particular form of interpersonal violence. Excuses and protections for offenders delay societal rejection of workplace bullying. We call for an increased sympathy for bullied targets, the victims, to accelerate change.

(more…)

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Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



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