When you are bullied by a group of people

Bullying by individuals is very damaging, but mob bullying can bring increased trauma. Margaret Kohut reveals how she was mob bullied within the US armed forces. Mobbing is a collective campaign by co-workers to exclude, punish and humiliate a worker to push them out of an organisation. This widespread behaviour is extremely detrimental, because the victim is utterly isolated and demoralised. Margaret Kohut refers to it as emotional assault. Mobbing is even more destructive when management sides with the abusers, and perceives the victim as the problem.
However, bullying exists in all organisations and affects every type of worker, although it is particularly widespread among professionals. It can be especially prevalent in businesses trying to survive fierce global competition. Enormous pressure and unreasonable demands are placed on employees. This is the age of productivity where companies are made ‘lean’, a euphemism for eliminating surplus employees. Ambitious targets are set. When they are met, they are raised. This cycle creates stress and ultimately failure for the struggling employee. When a person is branded a failure for falling short of targets, it is an attack on the self. This kind of attack intensifies if unwarranted poor performance reports are part of the mix.
Such a message conveys an image of worthlessness, breeds low self-esteem, and creates irrational guilt, which affects people’s quality of life. Managers are subject to the same pressure, and their heads are always on the block in the mad rush for profits and survival. This hierarchical treadmill may develop into corporate bullying, which is subtly different to institutional or endemic bullying, which is part of the organisation’s ethos. Corporate bullying can include forcing employees to work excessive hours, sacking ill employees, searching a worker’s files, listening to private conversations, giving poor reports, and generally pressuring workers. In this environment, the bully acts with impunity.

Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press

Posted in abuse, workplace and school bullying