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)

Monday, January 19, 2015

University of Newcastle as an expert in clamping down on dissent by workers

David Yamada writes that

"If you're a senior executive or manager and want to make sure that your workers don't get too uppity, you might achieve your goal by being a tyrant and by encouraging your lieutenants to be the same way. Surely management-by-intimidation works, right?"

He describes some steps for such an approach to work, doing it all with "a smile, albeit an insincere one:
  • "Create a workplace culture that values superficial politeness over honest work relationships. Make sure that superficial atmosphere -- what psychologists Linda Hartling and Elizabeth Sparks call a "pseudo-relational" organizational culture -- sweeps employee concerns or differences of opinion under the rug. " (University of Newcastle management talk endlessly about how perfect the workplace culture is, whilst destroying anyone who mentions any problems)
  • Insert a civility rule into your employee handbook that ensures, say, when a young staff assistant complains angrily about management inaction on her sexual harassment complaint, you can nail her for acting inappropriately, "in violation of our employee policies." By turning targets of mistreatment into transgressors, you can get rid of pesky complainers. (The University of Newcastle has the world's best collection of policies, guidelines, programs, documents etc etc on complaints, discussing complaints, taking action on complaints, BUT no real action is taken on real complaints, except to destroy the whistleblower).
  • Keep using the word "transparency" over and again, even as you become less transparent. (University of Newcastle has rapidly increased and enlarged PR staff and has become an expert on spin).
  • Favor and reward a group of loyalists who will act as surrogate defenders to slap down any criticism on your behalf. (We have had many reports and our own personal experience of the University of Newcastle rewarding those members of staff who stop any complaints - promotion, awards, etc etc).
  • Bully and expel a dissenter or two to send a message to everyone else that they'd better not question the organizational line (many examples of this by the University of Newcastle - also in the press and in submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying).
Management-by-intimidation - University of Newcastle leads the field!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

Those of us bullied out of the University of Newcastle for exposing wrongdoing are against bullying of any kind and in whatever arena.

We abhor the bullying act of those responsible for the killings of the staff of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the policemen.

Je suis Charlie
Nous sommes tous Charlie
I am Charlie
We are all Charlie

Monday, January 5, 2015

Say no more.....

"a real test of an organizational leader is what she does when presented with a valid report about workplace bullying that implicates a top executive or, better yet, that person’s friend. Will the situation be handled fairly and honestly, or will it be swept under the rug?"  (Yamada 2008)