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)

Friday, November 8, 2013

"Is the psychopathic boss theme overhyped?" asks Workplace Bullying Institute

David Yamada of the Workplace Bullying Institute has investigated the claims that so many managers who bully their employees are psychopaths.

He declared that perhaps these claims are close enough to the truth.
He notes the following:-

1. Genuine psychopaths — According to ballpark estimates, 1 percent of the population may be classified as genuine psychopaths.

2. “Almost psychopaths” — Psychiatrist Ronald Schouten (Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital) ....... suggests that maybe 10 to 15 percent of the population almost meets the definition of psychopathy. ...

The “almost psychopath” falls short of meeting the criteria for psychopathy, but nevertheless may exhibit many of the most disturbing traits and behaviors. In the workplace, a good number of almost psychopaths engage in bullying. They often escape detection and removal as they charm their superiors and exploit and abuse their peers and subordinates.
3. Drawn to management — A 2010 study by leading psychopathy researchers Paul Babiak, Craig Neumann, and Robert Hare documented higher measures of psychopathy for managers. The Boston Globe‘s summary of the study concludes:-

One of the authors of the study was hired by companies to evaluate managers — mostly middle-aged, college-educated, white males — for a management development program. It turns out that these managers scored higher on measures of psychopathy than the overall population, and some who had very high scores were candidates for, or held, senior positions. . . . The authors conclude that “the very skills that make the psychopath so unpleasant (and sometimes abusive) in society can facilitate a career in business even in the face of negative performance ratings.” 

Yamada concludes that a combination of the "1 percent of the population of genuine psychopaths, Schouten’s 10-15 percent of the population of “almost psychopaths,” and evidence correlating higher presence of psychopathic traits among those in management positions" is substantial.

He feels that based on this reasoning, "some 15 percent or more of bosses fit the psychopath or almost psychopath profile. In other words, between 1 of 6 and 1 of 7 bosses may behave in a manner that causes underlings and other co-workers to think of them as psychopaths."

Reports of the behaviour of the managers at the University of Newcastle would certainly put many of them in the category of "almost psychopaths":- The characteristics are:-
Grandiosity and exaggerated self-worth. Pathological lying. Manipulation. Lack of remorse. Shallowness. Exploitation for financial gain. - See more at: http://www.harvardhealthbooks.org/book/almost-a-psychopath/#sthash.EGdFchrl.dpuf
Grandiosity and exaggerated self-worth. Pathological lying. Manipulation. Lack of remorse. Shallowness. Exploitation for financial gain. - See more at: http://www.harvardhealthbooks.org/book/almost-a-psychopath/#sthash.EGdFchrl.dpuf
  • conning and manipulative behavior
  • being glib and superficially charming 
  • pathological lying
  • a general aggressive sense of self where every action and every behavior is focused on them facilitating and achieving their own needs.
We see these people striving for power at all costs, no matter how many people they destroy on the way.  They are also then rewarded with promotion and awards  by senior management at the University for their "almost psychopathic" behaviour.


  1. With their glib and oily charm you won't feel the blade, as they plunge it deep inside you.

    Management tip No.1 for University of Newcastle.

    Give a damn about your staff and students and they might give a damn about you.

    At the moment I have been told my degree from Newcastle will be pretty much worthless because of the extremely bad image the University has created for itself.

  2. I agree with what's written above. The problem also is that this kind of reward system doesn't produce good academic results which is why the University of Newcastle has such a shockingly bad reputation.

  3. From Caroline McMillen Vice Chancellor of UoN

    .....It is clear that we need to do more to support our Heads of Schools and Directors of Units who, when allegations of bullying are raised, can be exposed to what is cited in the report as "an escalating drama spiral with a number of players, or stakeholders, in varying roles playing out the ‘story’."

    More plausible would be that person being complained about is actually a bully. I don't believe there is a drama syndrome.

    Caroline, people are dying under your leadership. Do something before someone else dies.