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,

*contribute to the blog, or

*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)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Denying, discounting and dismissing torture/workplace bullying

Dr. Kenneth Pope has identified "three common cognitive strategies for denying, discounting, dismissing, or distorting instances of torture and for turning away from effective steps to stop it and hold those responsible accountable":
First, "reflexively dismissing all evidence as questionable, incomplete, misleading, false, or in some other way inadequate." 
Second, "using euphemism, abstraction, and other linguistic transformations" to hide the abuse.
Third, by "turning away: 'I'm not involved,' 'There is nothing I can do about it,' 'I have no authority, jurisdiction, power, or influence,' 'This is no concern of mine,' etc."
As Dr David Yamada points out, these can be readily and appropriately applied to workplace bullying
Think of the people who have been bullied, harassed and victimised at the University of Newcastle:-
Firstly, their accounts and evidence of workplace bullying at the University are usually dismissed.  Most people who have contacted us or completed our survey report that their complaints and evidence are routinely dismissed by the University.  Seventy survey respondents said no action was taken by their supervisor or human resources.  15 respondents have been bound to silence/gagged by the university.  A number have told us that their evidence was ignored or considered misleading and untrue.
Second, the University of Newcastle uses euphemisms and other terms to dismiss the bullying.  How many times have we heard it described as a "personality clash" or that it was "performance management"?  Is this the new face of performance management - being humiliated and ridiculed in front of others, being excluded and ostracised, being threatened with being denied or actually being denied promotion or leave. not allowed to attend meetings or even prevented from entering their own offices or buildings. etc etc.
Third, bystanders/onlookers/colleagues at the University of Newcastle frequently turn away or "do not see" what is happening.  Some colleagues realise quickly that their positions will be under threat if they support anyone being bullied - even more frequently, colleagues, managers and senior management know that their success at the University and climbing the ladder to more powerful positions in the University requires them to ignore unethical conduct, particularly staff misconduct, and align themselves with the bully.  For this, they are rewarded with  promotion, awards and funding. 
 Is workplace bullying comparable to torture?  As David Yamada says, "if the shoe fits.....".
stop bullying at UoN stop bullying and university of newcastle

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