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.

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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)

Monday, November 5, 2012

"What is not understood is the gravitas of psychological injury that bullying can cause"

In an article in the Brisbane Times, Dr Anne Wyatt, consultant and co-author of the book, Preventing Workplace Bullying, said

"It used to be, 'If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,' " "Now it's, 'Why is the kitchen so hot?' What is not understood is the gravitas of psychological injury that bullying can cause. It can destroy a person's ability to work, it can destroy their sense of self. Families and relationships are destroyed. It can be deadly."

Also, re workplace culture (makes us think of the University of Newcstle) -

"Yet Wyatt believes bullies may not be solely to blame for their behaviour and that we are all capable of it, given the right circumstances. She identifies several factors which may motivate someone to bully, including competitiveness, envy, compensating for deficiency, complying with management philosophy and, hard as it is to believe, being oblivious to what they are doing.

Their behaviour may also be perpetuated by the company culture, the "how we do things around here" ideal, which sets the rules of what is acceptable. And it's that which, in bullying situations, needs to change. "What we're looking at now," says Wyatt, "is not just the people involved but the context, such as the failure to manage people, culture and policies and procedures in an organisation with scarce resources and increased competition."

Evelyn Field added that

"Bullies don't want to be seen as incompetent. They're very insecure, and if you do something that threatens them – if you're too good at your job, for example – they'll attack. It's the law of the wild. They don't mean to destroy your life; they're just protecting themselves." But getting rid of the bully is not the solution. "It's about leadership," adds Field. "People pick up the name of the game. It's up to the leaders to say, 'We must treat people with respect.' " (emphasis added)
Knowing that victims of bullying threaten an insecure bully is not much solace when your life is destroyed!

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