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)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Work performance management.... or is it bullying?

Comments on this website and that of the Newcastle Herald show that some people feel that the behaviour labelled as "bullying" is part of the normal process of work performance management.

So what do you think?
Is this work performance management?
Is this bullying?

Comments by respondents to our survey of bullying at the University of Newcastle:-

  • forced to sign on documents without giving chance to read. Swearing at me and hit me when I denied to sign the document without reading. 
  • The program convenor had a complaint made against her and she told other staff that it was me. Things got really bad from this point.
  • Being forced to perform tasks outside of current job description with no negotiation, expected to work longer hours ie work 8hrs but only paid 7hrs, must share diary with supervisor & note where I am at all times
  • I have had my job threatened all year - told if I do not work all public holidays and some weekends which required then I will lose my job. ALso feeling intimidated so that I can not take a lunch break without feeling as if this is doing something wrong, punished for taking annual leave. Been told by my manager that she hates me and I want to complain but I am too scared to do so.
  • "don't try getting another job at the Uni - you won't while I am here"
  • Being lied to. Having items stolen from my desk drawers.
  • 1. Having my funding threatened, being threatened with explusion
  • 2. Taking credit for ideas or work I had done. Sending me to meetings with insufficient information.Preventing me from using initiative - bully felt professionally threatened
  • 3. Being dismissed from a position on unfair grounds.
  • 4. Suggestions (by deans, DVCs, HOS etc) that family members (1 student, 1 academic) at the Uni would have degree/career interfered with if I persisted in my complaints.
  • 5. Railroaded in conversations to the point of intimidation. Having an 'answer' for everything, including outright lies to undermine my reputation.
  • Threatened that I might lose my job. The bully made it clear that she was responsible for my appointment and that she could influence whether it continued or not.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not directing this at any one university or other institution.

    Bullying from a sociopath is different than ordinary bullying.

    Ordinary bullying is generally over misunderstood knowledge which can be patched up or addressed as neither party truly means any harm.

    If both victim and victimized meet over a common need for empathy both walk away empowered.

    With a sociopath, bullying is a ploy to deliberately inflict as much harm and distress on the victim as possible.

    Reasoning is impossible with the sociopath as their judgement is not clouded by a conscience, morals or guilt.

    If the victim is empathetic or highly motivated by moral or ethical standards then the sociopath will naturally target this type.

    That is a fact of life.

    That is why the bullying from a sociopath is so damaging. There is no reason the victim can fathom that can explain the sociopath's behaviour.

    Questions that sociopath victims might ask;

    Why does an individual in power I am supposed to trust in want to hurt me?

    Why does a sociopath not feel a sense of shame over the pain they have caused?

    Why do they show no remorse after they are confronted with the evidence?

    Why does a sociopath not learn from their mistakes? Is it because hurting others is not a mistake to a sociopath?

    In the event of negotiating sociopathic bullying, only the victim leaves empowered.


    Only they are able to acknowledge that having empathy is the upper hand.

    Knowledge without empathy is no knowledge at all.

    The sociopath appears to stay empowered but leaves powerless. Their shame is something only they know. The fact they cannot stop doing what they do or change.

    We live in a dark world as long as these types convince us it is.

    It is a good world.

    Sociopaths are a minority, most people are decent to eachother once they know how.

    History has shown that empathy always wins.