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What is Emotional Abuse in the Workplace?

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Presentation on theme: "What is Emotional Abuse in the Workplace?"— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Emotional Abuse in the Workplace?
Debra C. Harris, Ph.D., M.S.T. Assistant Professor Human Kinetics and Health Education University of WI Oshkosh Oshkosh, WI

2 Former NBC Anchor, Tom Brokaw said…….
In a Graduation Speech at Emory University on May 16, 2007 “Here is a secret that no one has told you: Real life is Junior High. The world that you are about to enter is filled with junior high, adolescent pettiness; pubescent rivalries; the insecurities of 13 year olds; and the false bravado of 14 year olds.”

3 Workplace Bullying What is it exactly?
Workplace bullying is the “intentional infliction of a hostile work environment upon an employee by a co-worker, co-workers, or superior.” Typically it is done through a combination of verbal and nonverbal behaviors. Yamada, 2000, p 481

4 Mobbing What is it exactly?
The “mobbing” syndrome is a malicious attempt to force a person out of the workplace through unjustified accusations, humiliation, general harassment, emotional abuse, and/or terror. Davenport, Schwartz, Elliott, 2002, p. 40

5 Mobbing What is it? It is a “ganging up” by the leader(s)- organization, superior, co-worker, or subordinate- who rallies others into systematic and frequent “mob-like behaviors.” Davenport, Schwartz, Elliott, 2002, p. 40 This might look like a Human Resource Director, a Superintendent, an Assistant Superintendent, and a Principal, along with “hand selected” co-workers that are a part of an “inner circle,” inflicting the same type of treatment to an abused individual.

6 Mobbing: What is it? “Vultur-ing”
“Because the organization ignores, condones or even instigates the behavior, it can said that the target, seemingly helpless against the powerful and many, is indeed “mobbed.” The result is always injury-physical and/or mental distress and/or illness and/or social death, and in too many cases, expulsion from the workplace.” Davenport, Schwartz, Elliott, 2002, p. 40

7 The Specifics Ten Key Factors of the Mobbing Syndrome by Noa Davenport, Ph.D., Ruth Schwartz, and Gail Elliott From the Book………. Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, 2002.

8 The Mobbing Specifics What does it really look like?
1. Assaults on the dignity, integrity, credibility, and professional competence of employees. 2. Negative, humiliating, intimidating, abusive, malevolent and controlling communication.

9 The Mobbing Specifics What does it really look like?
3. Committed directly, or indirectly, in subtle or obvious ways. 4. Perpetrated by one or more members- “Vulturing”

10 The Mobbing Specifics What does it really look like?
5. Occurring in a continual, multiple, and systematic fashion, over some time. There is a definite “Pattern” to the behavior. Repeated behaviors over numerous dates. Document, document, document. 6. Portraying the target as being at fault. 7. Committed with the intent to force the person out.

11 The Mobbing Specifics What does it really look like?
8. Mobbing is engineered to discredit, confuse, intimidate, isolate, and force the person into submission. A total “control” issue! 9. Representing the removal from the workplace as the target’s “choice.” Settlement agreements, “early retirements,” etc.

12 The Mobbing Specifics What does it really look like?
10. Not recognized, misinterpreted, ignored, tolerated, encouraged, or even instigated by the management of the organization. Total lack of acceptance or responsibility or even total denial that the organization does such behavior.

13 Sociopathic Behaviors in the Workplace
“About one in 25 people is a sociopath. Meaning essentially that they do not have a conscience. 1 in 25 ordinary citizens secretly has no conscience and can do anything at all without feeling guilty. Dr. Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door, 2005

14 Sociopathic Behaviors in the Workplace
“ The intellectual difference between right and wrong does not bring on emotional sirens and flashing red lights, or the fear of God, like it does the rest of us” with sociopathic behavior.” “Without the slightest blip of guilt or remorse, 1 in 25 people can do anything at all.” Dr. Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door, 2005

15 Sociopathic Behaviors in the Workplace
Covetous Sociopath An inordinate desire for the possessions of others.

16 Covetous Sociopath “Since it is simply not possible to steal and have for oneself the most valuable “possessions” of another person-beauty, intelligence, success, strong character-the Covetous Sociopath settles for besmirching or damaging enviable qualities in others so that they will not have them either, or at least not be able to enjoy them so much.” Theodore Millon, Personality Theorist

17 Covetous Sociopath “Here, the pleasure lies in taking rather than in having.” Theodore Millon, Personality Theorist

18 Covetous Sociopath “The Covetous Sociopath thinks that life has cheated them somehow; has not given them nearly the same bounty as other people, and so they must even the existential score by robbing people, by secretly causing destruction in others lives.” The Covetous Sociopath believes they have been slighted by nature, circumstances, and destiny, and that diminishing other people is their only means of being powerful. Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door, 2005

19 Covetous Sociopath “Retribution, usually against people who have NO idea that they have been targeted, is the most important activity in the Covetous Sociopath’s life, their highest priority!” “They are the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door, 2005

20 Sociopath Characteristics from the PCL: SV (Psych Check List-Screening Version)
1. Glibness and Superficial Charm 2. Manipulative and Con Artists Never recognize the rights of others See their self-serving behavior as permissible Charming, but covertly hostile and domineering See their targets as merely instruments to be used

21 Sociopathic Characteristics
Grandiose Sense of Self Worth *Entitled to certain things as “their” right. Pathological Lying *No problem lying. Almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. 5. Impulsive Nature/Poor Behavioral Controls *No sense of personal boundaries. Believe that they are all knowing, entitled to every wish, no concern for their impact on others. Use small expressions of love that alternate between rage and abuse.

22 Sociopathic Characteristics
6. Irresponsibility/Unreliability Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

23 Sociopathic Characteristics
7. Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity Uses sexual behavior and allurement to gain favors and climb the “corporate” ladder. May have been sexually abused as a child. 8. Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle Tends to move locations, makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic, but exploits others effectively. Gets others to do their work for them.

24 Sociopathic Characteristics
9. Criminal and/or Entrepreneurial Versatility. High “stim” people. May run a “side” business as well as their full time job, because their full time job may be “boring” to them. 10. Shallow Emotions Show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion. Is usually feigned and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

25 Sociopathic Characteristics
11. Callousness/Lack of Empathy *Unable to empathize with the pain of their targets. Has only contempt for other’s feelings of distress and readily takes advantage of them. *12. Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt *Instead of friends, they have accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means, and they let nothing stand in their way.

26 Women in the Workplace Relational Aggression
Relational aggression is psychological (social/emotional) aggression between people in relationships. Relational aggression is a form of aggression where “the group” is used as a weapon to assault others and others' relationships. It uses lies, secrets, betrayals and other dishonest tactics to destroy or damage the relationships and social standing of others in the group.

27 The Female Bully Bullying Most Strongly Affects Women
Women are targeted by bullies more frequently (in 57% of cases), especially by other women (in 71% of cases). Zogby Internation Report, 2007

28 The Female Bully Subtle, sly, tactful, and covert
Spreading vicious rumors within the workplace Attempting to control and manipulate other co-workers, affecting their relationship with the target. Purposely hurting the reputation of the target by way of rumor, innuendo and lies

29 The Female Bully Cold shoulder, eye rolls, refusing to communicate with the target. Gang Up Syndrome: Bully attempts to turn all co-workers against the target. Tanenbaum, L. Cat Fight, 2002

30 Examples of Indirect Aggression Social sabotage gossip and vague double meanings…..
Your supervisor pats you on the back and says: “Your report is excellent. I am so glad you were able to understand the assignment. ************************************* Your co-worker exclaims: *Oh, you have lost twenty pounds. How wonderful! Are you going to lose the rest?

31 Consequences of Workplace Bullying
Increased Absenteeism Low morale amongst organization Open hostility High Turnover Decreased productivity Loss of efficiency Possible violence in the workplace Probable litigation between employees and/or employer

32 Consequences of Workplace Bullying
Loss of accumulated wisdom and experience Possibility of poor public workplace image “Bad PR.”

33 How to Prevent Workplace Abuse
Do not accept: deceit, selfishness, inequality, cruelty, disregard in workplace relationships. “That’s mean.” Recognize co-workers for who and what they are. Identify blamers, rationalizers, conquerors, manipulators, performers and dehumanize their motivations.

34 How to Prevent Workplace Abuse
Be aware of “Gotcha Goals.” Be conscious of institutional “set ups,” in which the objective is discipline rather than improvement.

35 How to Prevent Workplace Abuse
Look around and reach out! Establish peer support, build relationships with targets of workplace abuse. Do NOT isolate, ignore the target, or play into the bully’s game! Watch yourself. Be aware of your own behaviors towards co-workers. Identify if you do participate in the abuse of another. BREAK THE CYCLE OF ABUSE!!

36 Intervention for Emotional Abuse
Solicit support from family and friends…folks that really believe you when you say you are being emotionally abused in your workplace. Use FMLA Leave to protect your health and get distance from the bully. Seek medical attention and EPA Counseling.

37 Intervention for Emotional Abuse
Solicit witness statements. This is KEY. File a Formal Complaint with the HR Dept. Confront the person who is your bully. Prepare a case against the person…Document, document, document. Take your case public.

38 What Employees Should Do
Stand by the target. Especially following a closed door meeting. Refuse to betray/deceive a co-worker. Siding with the bully only brings “short term immunity.” Be present. Offer to be a witness or representative for your co-worker.

39 What Employees Should Do
Provide testimony at hearings, arbitrations, and mediation. This can be a written or in-person testimony. Use GROUP tactics/strategies. Approach the bully, HR, the boss or bosses, as a UNIFIED GROUP. Solidarity. There is “strength in numbers.”

40 Establishing Healthy Workplaces
Create a Workplace Civility Policy A Zero Tolerance for Bully Behavior Work Zone. Behaviors such as abrasive behavior, discrediting a co-worker, abusive or disrespectful verbal behavior, physical AND/OR emotional isolation ARE NOT tolerated.

41 Establishing Healthy Workplaces
Healthy Leadership Styles Leaders set the tone. It DOES begin at the top! Healthy leadership helps to eliminate conflict and harassment in the workplace. Managers vrs. Leaders Hire employees and leaders with Emotional Intelligence. When hiring new employees and leaders, emphasize cooperation, respect, and conflict resolution skills!

42 Establishing Healthy Workplaces
Build Trust and Compassion in the Workplace Employees must feel safe when reporting emotional abuse in the workplace. Create opportunities during employee reviews to recognize workplace abuse. Use a survey to gather information on workplace culture.

43 Establishing Healthy Workplaces
Post Anti Bullying Posters in the workplace, i.e. lunchroom, main office, etc. Have 360 evaluations. Everyone evaluates everyone else!!!

44 Bills, Labor Standards and Policies
Bill Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada California Legislature-2004 Regular Session Assembly Bill No. 1582 Pleasant Valley, CA School District Policy State of Oregon, Dept of Environmental Quality Anti Mobbing Policy No Several US Healthy Workplace Bills that have been heard in State Legislatures. None has passed as of today.

45 It’s a Job, NOT a Jail NO job is worth losing your life, your health or your personal integrity!

46 “Those who can, do; Those who can’t bully.” Tim Field, Author Bully In Sight

47 Video Clips ABC Good Morning Show and The NY Times
3 minutes /6 seconds 5 mins/24 seconds

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