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bullying and mobbing - illustrated blogs

The government's been updating its anti-bulling guidelines to schools on bullying, so I spent yesterday afternoon looking through it to see if we needed to update our pages.

Looking at what we have, it's not bad, although I may need to add something about "group bullying" and weed out some overly judgemental language. I wrote it with a young person and we discussed the idea that some of the people looking for advice might be bullies who can't figure out how to stop what they're doing, which puts us ahead of the game, really.

Scraping the references turned up some interesting research, too, much of it in German; fun with google's automatic translation tool again; "the term Mobbing describes negative kommunikative actions, those is directed against a person (of one or more different) and those very often and beyond a longer period occur and thus the relationship between authors and victims mark" the whole mob stuff is of some interest to me, following experiences at boarding school ... "gemobbt of women", yeah been there. And never altogether understood why. But suddenly stumbled across this in an Australian research paper:

"there are sometimes objective reasons for a group to defend itself against an intruder or disloyal member and in so doing they discover a new game; a justified defence developing into bullying"

... and suffered one of those moments of unfolding understanding. It was suggested to me at the time the problem was with [ringleader] being jealous of me. I scoffed this; as the ugly, poor jumped-up farm-girl in my Tescos clothes and home-cut hair, I knew full well I was on the bottom of the pile. However, I was stubborn, tough and busy making overtures of friendship towards other weak and lower-status girls. To [ringleader]'s monkey brain I must have looked like I was empire building. My monkey instinct has always been weak, so I missed the whole dominance-struggle thing and only saw the betrayal. Huh.

Talk about wisdom that comes too late ...

The concept of mobbing (here referring to social rather than physical attacks) is a hot one in workplace bullying, too. A google search took me to Analog -- Psycho-Social Abuse in the American Workplace Now. Chock full of fantastic essays about how the annoying habits of your co-workers may actually be constructive dismissal* orchestrated by your over-machievellian boss; I particular recommend Isolation - Social Construction of non-existance, and the magnificant Mobbing Dilbert - Low Intensity Warfare. I'm inclined to throw Occam's Razor at it and point out that sometimes annoying people are simply annoying, however you may find some interesting resonances with your workplace ... if so, I recommend that you print it out to a shared printer, leave it there till your boss finds it and then tell him you only printed it out "for a friend". For extra credit, apologise sincerely for using company equipment at the same time. Machievellian? Moi?

Conflict mediation used as an approach to bullying
The more victim-aggressor approach of the government guidelines
All Analog's stuff on mobbing.

* Cultural Note: In the UK you can do your boss for constructive dismissal, i.e. making your working life unpleasant or inconvenient enough that you feel obliged to leave.

Lovers of pretty pictures, be aware: Natalie Blaugustine suggested that I might join the Illustrated Blogs Webring which has links to some great illustrated blogs. If you're blogging pictures (not photos, artworks) about your life (and I know some of you are), go and join!


( 6 worms — Feed the birds )
10th Sep, 2004 08:18 (UTC)
Interestingly, a copy of this paper is currently on top of the pile on my desk. It was interesting.
13th Sep, 2004 02:45 (UTC)
I didn't actually want to labour the point, but those links were aimed (partly in jest) at those friends of mine who are women working in male-dominated environments ... (bitter laugh)

(of course, female-dominated workplaces like mine ain't bully-free paragons of virtuous cooperation, either, mind)
10th Sep, 2004 08:21 (UTC)
That's exactly what happened to me in my job at Maryland Public Television! I hung on for a year and a half of abuse--solely because of my healthcare package, but finally gave in and quit. It's a horrid soul crushing experience. And no one even gives a damn. You're totally expendable.
13th Sep, 2004 02:37 (UTC)
from what I understand
employee's rights are not as protected in the US as they are in the UK. Here, some high-profile constructive dismissal cases have set a pretty solid legal precedent ...
13th Sep, 2004 17:03 (UTC)
occasional dope fiend?
I'm wondering what I'd have to do to be classed as full-time...

Welcome to the BI ring and thanks for the linky

13th Sep, 2004 17:25 (UTC)
I was wondering if you'd notice that.
( 6 worms — Feed the birds )