Bullying at the University of Newcastle (Australia)

We are working to highlight and stop academic workplace bullying at the University of Newcastle, Australia. We are a group of staff and students who have been bullied for speaking out about misconduct.

Help make a difference –

*answer our survey,

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*contact us.

This will help us gather as much information as possible so that we can put an end to this bullying with its’ decades-long history.

“Systemic bullying, hazing and abuse generally are identified with poor, weak or toxic organizational cultures. Cultures that are toxic have stated ethical values that are espoused but not employed, and other non-ethical values which are operational, dominant, but unstated.

Such cultures thrive when good people are silent, silenced, or pushed out; when bad apples are vocal, retained, promoted, and empowered; and when the neutral majority remain silent in order to survive. Those who are most successful in such a toxic culture are those who have adapted to it, or adopted it as their own”. (McKay, Arnold, Fratzl & Thomas, 2008)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Memo to Executives: Let the Bully Go, Boost the Bottom Line"

To support  Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week, the Workplace Bullying Institute in the United states has asked executives (this could include management at the University of Newcastle) to end their relationship with Bob and Bobette, the bullies, that makes life miserable for everyone else.

"It will take courage, of course. Here’s why and how to do it.

From the Workplace Bullying Institute website
Bullies torment and abuse others with impunity. They do so because they have spent months, even years, groveling at the feet of a higher-ranking sponsor. That is, they torment down the org chart, but ingratiate (brown nose, ass kiss) up the ladder. All of their time is spent managing their sponsor’s impression of them. While targets keep their noses to the grindstone doing the work they love, the nose of bullies hover near the rear ends of their chosen sponsors. That’s how Bob makes himself indispensable.

On balance, several people have tried to tell you about Bob before. You didn’t believe them. They brought you news about Bob you couldn’t stand to hear. It hurt you to hear, but they were reporting the emotional abuse Bob foisted on them. You had several fired for daring bring this information to you. Others quit out of desperation. Bob convinced you that they all were faulty and he alone is competent.

If you ask anyone other than Bob about the talent lost to your organization, you will find that Bob has been lying to you. Good people were driven out or were demoralized and dehumanized, then left. All of this was kept from you by Bob. In his narcissistic world, only he mattered."

The Institute then goes on to advise executives to get rid of the bullies who are "too expensive to keep".

Their final advice to executives/management is to

"believe the employees who report to you that they have been subjected to abusive conduct. They are not the likely liars. Bullies are the liars. Grow a thicker skin and stop showing your neediness to the cruel people willing to exploit you as they subordinate others.

Good employers purge bullies; bad ones promote ‘em."

How about following their advice, management
at University of Newcastle?

18 comments:

  1. Fantastic piece! I know one particular bully in my unit who does exactly that, spending all his time licking the asses of the sponsors while backstabbing colleagues. He's been handsomely rewarded and all signs point to the fact that he'll move even higher and faster! The problem with the place is that the sponsors love these guys - they themselves have got there this way. What a sad state of affairs!

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  2. This sort of bullies is hard to detect because some of them can be really sweet to the unsuspecting as they pick on their target victims. They are really deadly.

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  3. REMEMBER THE LETTER I WROTE TO THE CHANCELLOR:-

    "Dear Trevor,

    I am sending this from several emails, only so I can be sure it gets through on one. IT IS NOT THAT I AM TRYING TO SPAM YOU, it is the University who are blocking communication. I have also cc’d Sue Gould due to her role in Governance, and posted this letter on the web.

    I don’t want to hear that you are only “THE CHANCELLOR” and can not do anything – you have already said that to me. That is not true, even if all you can do is to allow us to present our cases to University Council that is something. If you had guts you would stand down your entire senior management pending an investigation. A person once said to me she attended one of your lectures where you said something like “when working in health you have to at least pretend you care even if you don’t”. OK, perhaps you might pretend to care.

    You told me the University was a toxic work environment. You are correct. Look at our website, and listen to what people are saying. How bad it is for so many people, and how working at the University is destroying so many people’s lives. The biggest problem is obviously the narcissistic bullying management style that has filtered from the top down to all levels at the University. It is an absolute mess.

    This current attack against us for posting anti-bullying videos, posters and messages just demonstrates to everyone how scared some of your senior staff are of the truth being exposed. I find it amusing that one of our complaints has been how the senior management protect themselves by using University resources both legally and financially. It is denied, yet now the University admits that it used external legal firms for blocking our YOUTUBE Anti-bullying Video. Why…we speculate because there was a slide with your VC on it with his own quote. Interestingly YOUTUBE believe we have violated NO LAWS, and every other country in the world can watch it. Not Australians, and that is simply because the University of Newcastle management believes it can censor itself from external review. What a dangerous position.

    So Trevor you can sit back on the side of the University, and let them waste tax payers money on Australian Federal Police investigations and legal costs, or you can think about all your awards for your role in mental health, and at least “pretend” to care about the people who are only try to bring about a change in the University workplace. For me, the University has stripped me of everything, but there are some people I know who are still in a position where their careers and lives can be saved. I am not going to ever walk away while they are still out there, because to me it would be like being dry on one of the life boats after the sinking of the Titanic, with a spare seat next to me, rowing away as people die.

    You can do something. You are not “just the Chancellor”. You really should not leave it too late, and you know time is running out.

    Sincerely
    Michelle Adams"

    WELL THERE HAS BEEN NO REPLY FROM THE CHANCELLOR. I NOW UNDERSTAND WHY - I WAS DELUSIONAL THINKING THAT I WAS "SAFE ON THE LIFE BOAT", IN FACT IT WAS HE THAT WAS ROWING AWAY, AND I WAS ONE OF THOSE LEFT IN THE WATER TO DIE WITH ALL THE OTHER INNOCENT VICTIMS. I GUESS THE PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC SENATE WAS CORRECT WHEN SHE SAID US IN 2009 THAT I WAS JUST "COLLATERAL DAMAGE". I GUESS THOUGH I AM ONE OF MANY.

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  4. Interesting the most recent leadership team has included two psychologists and two doctors (one just departed). What does it say about the place?

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  5. No suggestion the place is mad or sick, of course, but people can make up their own minds!

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  6. What if there are so many of us who are all "part of the collateral"? Doesn't it make the place look like a shipwreck?

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  7. The comments here have given us quite a few examples of sickness/madness.

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  8. Dear Professor McMillen, are you going to do something about the bullying at the UoN? Many of us are hoping for some badly needed improvement. Get stop the couples and family members from being hired into the same unit - it doesn't happen in other unis. It's getting hard for the rest of us to breathe.

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  9. Devastated and lostNovember 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    I have just realised how stupid I am! I couldn't understand why other staff members (female) spent so much time asking questions of, making comments to, "popping into", following to tea and to lunch, etc the female head of discipline. I thought they did not know how to do their work or else needed continual reassurance. Silly me - I had this stupid thought that more senior staff appreciated it if you just went off and did your job without a fuss and without a million questions and comments, which is what I did. Meanwhile, those that spent the time ingratiating themselves up the ladder (as in the picture here)were "favourited" and have been richly rewarded. On the other hand, I have lost the work I am passionate about because I did not belief in all that brown-nosing and I also could not overlook the misconduct that was taking place (part of brown nosing is that you "DO NOT SEE" wrongdoing, even if it hits you in the face).

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  10. Yeah, I agree with Devastated and lost. The place is never short of women and men who have no dignity and have no problems licking very dirty asses for favours. Alas, they end up being the chosen ones for promotions and undeserved favours so they have the money and time to fill the space with their offspring who will behave just like them. Hope for humanity?! Maybe some aliens are watching and looking at improving the situation to save mankind.

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  11. This is getting really bleak....

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  12. Trying working there under/with a bully and you'll know how bad it is.

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  13. has anyone else experienced problems in the school of psychology?

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  14. As a student I had a few issues there.

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  15. I have only just realised how I have been spied on by one of the administrative staff for personal gains. It hurts so much when you realise you've been betrayed by someone you trusted as a good friend.

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  16. They will be roasted in a special hell to purify the world.

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  17. I was at a public lecture the other day and I felt sick in the stomach when a particular person opened his big mouth about the human rights of, you know, the refugees. What about the rights of the staff RIGHT HERE who have been bullied so much that they are on the brink of suicide. What hypocrisy?

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  18. We know the guy you are talking about. Despite all the rhetoric of public accountability, more people have been sidelined to make way for cronies.

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