For Professor Caroline Patsias at Université du Québec à Montréal, once a professor at Université de Sherbrooke.
If you’re a university professor, chances are fairly good that you have initiated or participated in mobbing. Why? First, because mobbers are not sadists or sociopaths, but ordinary people; second, because universities are a type of organization that encourages mobbing; and third, as a result, mobbing is endemic at universities.
Unlike bullying, an individual form of harassment in which a typical scenario consists of a boss victimizing an assistant, mobbing is a serious organizational deficiency. Its many consequences are so severe that it is considered a major public health issue. The term itself, mobbing, describes its four essential characteristics: it is a collective, violent and deliberate process in which the individual psychologies of the aggressors and their victim provide no keys to understanding the phenomenon.
Workplace mobbing is a concerted process to get rid of an employee, who is better referred to as a “target” than a “victim” to emphasize the strategic nature of the process. The dynamic is reminiscent of Stalin’s Moscow Trials: the targets are first convicted and evidence is later fabricated to justify the conviction. As sociologist of science Brian Martin put it, everything they say, are, write and do will be systematically used against them.
Successful mobbing leads to any of a number of outcomes: the targets commit suicide, are dismissed (or often at universities, being denied tenure), resign, retire early, take permanent or recurring sick leave (the last three being the most common cases for university professors), or have all their responsibilities withdrawn (as in the case of sidelined senior public servants).
The process begins when a small group of instigators decides to cast someone out on the pretext that he or she is threatening their interests. This concept covers a variety of cases; perhaps the target is not behaving the way they would like, does not share their view of the organization, earns more than they do or challenges questionable practices. Mobbers use negative communication as their powerful weapon of elimination.
At first unbeknownst to the target, negative communication consists of rumours, complaints (often anonymous), conniving looks, mocking, gossip, misrepresenting facts, insinuations, hearsay, defamation, lies, secret meetings to discuss “the case,” disparaging comments, police-like surveillance of the target’s work and private life to gather “evidence” that justifies the aggression, and so on.
The other side of negative communication is directed at the target and includes unjustified accusations, manipulating or withholding information, sending menacing or hateful messages, calling purportedly friendly or disciplinary meetings, psychologically destabilizing the targets by incessantly accusing them of making mistakes, intimidation, tampering with their workstation, offering to “help” with so-called adaptation problems, and public humiliation.
This campaign of negative communication ends up poisoning the entire workplace or faculty. All members of the group are exposed, and the well-known psycho-sociological phenomenon of peer pressure empowers the instigators to recruit a large majority. These recruits either become active mobbers, if they apply these tactics aggressively, or they become passive mobbers, if they look the other way and pretend the violence doesn’t exist.
Negative communication frames the target as someone who is impossible to work with and who threatens the organization. The following characteristics are invariably attributed to the target, made out to be someone who:
- is a troublemaker,
- doesn’t listen to advice,
- is detrimental to the organization,
- isn’t a team player,
- is mentally ill,
- asks too many questions,
- doesn’t share the group’s culture,
- has a difficult personality,
- resists injustice,
- isn’t social, or
- is a bully.
This final allegation is especially strategic because it transforms aggression into mock justice, making it possible to involve individuals in the campaign who would otherwise stay on the sidelines. At universities, this can easily be used against mobbed professors. All it takes is to make a faint allusion to, and if necessary, produce alleged student victims. The (self)-infantilization of students that plagues universities nowadays has only made this simpler.
In addition to negative communication techniques that attack the targets on a personal level, mobbing includes a range of oppressive tactics that impact their work: creating obstacles to completing normal tasks, depriving them of the right to have a voice, excluding them from committees and positions of responsibility, systematically downplaying their accomplishments, assigning tasks that are impossible or that far exceed their abilities, withholding invitations to meetings, exaggerating their mistakes, denying promotions, fabricating evidence of illegal or immoral activity, not responding to emails and issuing disciplinary sanctions, and the list goes on.
As these methodical and aggressive activities unfold over months and years, the targets end up becoming completely ostracized. Their reputation, credibility, authority, influence and contribution to the organization are nullified. As in a totalitarian situation, any attempts to defend themselves are perceived as additional proof of their “deviance.” As in the case of rape, the target is deemed responsible for the violence that ensues against him or her. As we have seen in stories of genocide, the target becomes a non-person. If, against all odds, the final stage of mobbing fails and the target is not physically expelled from the organization, he or she will remain excluded for life. Mobbing is social murder and, by definition, people cannot survive their own murder. In other words, mobbing results in an indelible social stigma.
The severity of academic mobbing
Many people think that universities are completely different from private companies or government agencies. They believe that they are unique places of freedom that stimulate intelligence, foster independence, value originality, promote collegiality, encourage pluralism and treat their members with respect, starting with the faculty. Unfortunately, the severity of mobbing in academic settings destroys that fantasy. In truth, universities are breeding grounds for mobbing, where all the aggressive tactics described above are used regularly. In many faculties, mobbing has gained popularity as a work method.
The severity of academic mobbing is due not only to its prevalence, but also its inherent morbidity. The consequences for targets are more damaging in universities than in other work environments. One explanatory factor is that academic institutions are toxic, yet claim to foster employee well-being. Mobbed professors expect their employers to protect and defend them, and experience cognitive dissonance when they are hit with the realization that no such help is forthcoming. In fact, university administrations and human resources departments are involved in most mobbing campaigns, either actively or passively, by failing to take corrective action. An estimated 12 percent of mobbed professors end up committing suicide. An infamous Canadian case is that of Justine Sergent, a McGill University neurologist who committed suicide with her husband in 1994 after a two-year mobbing campaign in which she was accused of violating ethical research procedures.
Although universities now have “psychological harassment” policies, their ability to curb mobbing is dubious:
- These policies are designed to address inter-individual harassment. For example, one Canadian university’s HR policy states that “taking appropriate action […] should include […] telling the person who is misbehaving to cease the behaviour” (our italics). Unfortunately, such a recommendation is irrelevant when it comes to mobbing.
- The “psychological harassment” prevention procedures and authorities outlined in these policies are not immune to events within the organization, and mobbing campaigns often use them against the targets they are intended to protect. Such is notably the case when mediation procedures are applied between the target and the aggressors.
- When they exist, faculty unions are primarily concerned with job retention and tend to fall back on stated prevention procedures, i.e. those set out by the employer.
- The organizational culture of universities prohibits anyone from admitting, or even thinking, that an employee could be targeted by a group of other employees. The academic community, including the human resources department, reduces mobbing to a personality clash between professors and believes that both parties share equal responsibility. They also overwhelming tend to blame the target’s personality for allegedly provoking or exacerbating the conflict.
As academics, we are due to witness a new mobbing campaign being instigated sooner or later, provided we aren’t the target. A sure sign is when a negative and apparently universal opinion of a colleague takes hold. As an elimination strategy starts to form and initial attempts are made to recruit us, we must ask ourselves: “Did I really choose this career in order to become an academic tormentor?”
Eve Seguin is a professor in the department of political science at Université du Québec à Montréal.
"Bully" redirects here. For other uses, see Bully (disambiguation).
For school bullying, see School bullying.
Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from conflict. Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets. Rationalizations of such behavior sometimes include differences of social class, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, behavior, body language, personality, reputation, lineage, strength, size, or ability. If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing.
Bullying can be defined in many different ways. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has no legal definition of bullying, while some states in the United States have laws against it. Bullying is divided into four basic types of abuse – emotional (sometimes called relational), verbal, physical, and cyber. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion, such as intimidation.
Bullying ranges from one-on-one, individual bullying through to group bullying called mobbing, in which the bully may have one or more "lieutenants" who may seem to be willing to assist the primary bully in his or her bullying activities. Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse.Robert W. Fuller has analyzed bullying in the context of rankism.
A bullying culture can develop in any context in which humans interact with each other. This includes school, family, the workplace, home, and neighborhoods. The main platform for bullying is on social media websites In a 2012 study of male adolescent American football players, "the strongest predictor [of bullying] was the perception of whether the most influential male in a player's life would approve of the bullying behavior".
There is no universal definition of bullying, however, it is widely agreed upon that bullying is a subcategory of aggressive behavior characterized by the following three minimum criteria: (1) hostile intent, (2) imbalance of power, and (3) repetition over a period of time. Bullying may thus be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally or emotionally.
The Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus says bullying occurs when a person is "exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons". He says negative actions occur "when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways." Individual bullying is usually characterized by a person behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.
Individual bullying can be classified into four types. Collective bullying is known as mobbing, and can include any of the individual types of bullying.
Physical, verbal, and relational bullying are most prevalent in primary school and could also begin much earlier whilst continuing into later stages in individuals lives. It is stated that Cyber-bullying is more common in secondary school than in primary school.
Individual bullying tactics can be perpetrated by a single person against a target or targets.
This is any bullying that hurts someone’s body or damages their possessions. Stealing, shoving, hitting, fighting, and destroying property all are types of physical bullying. Physical bullying is rarely the first form of bullying that a target will experience. Often bullying will begin in a different form and later progress to physical violence. In physical bullying the main weapon the bully uses is their body when attacking their target. Sometimes groups of young adults will target and alienate a peer because of some adolescent prejudice. This can quickly lead to a situation where they are being taunted, tortured, and beaten-up by their classmates. Physical bullying can lead to a tragic ending and therefore must be stopped quickly to prevent any further escalation.
This is any bullying that is conducted by speaking. Calling names, spreading rumors, threatening somebody, and making fun of others are all forms of verbal bullying. Verbal bullying is one of the most common types of bullying. In verbal bullying the main weapon the bully uses is their voice. In many cases, verbal bullying is the province of girls. Girls are more subtle (and can be more devastating), in general, than boys. Girls use verbal bullying, as well as social exclusion techniques, to dominate and control other individuals and show their superiority and power. However, there are also many boys with subtlety enough to use verbal techniques for domination, and who are practiced in using words when they want to avoid the trouble that can come with physically bullying someone else.
This is any bullying that is done with the intent to hurt somebody’s reputation or social standing which can also link in with the techniques included in physical and verbal bullying. Relational Bullying is a form of bullying common amongst youth, but particularly upon girls. Relational bullying can be used as a tool by bullies to both improve their social standing and control others. Unlike physical bullying which is obvious, relational bullying is not overt and can continue for a long time without being noticed.
Cyber bullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. When an adult is involved, it may meet the definition of cyber-harassment or cyberstalking, a crime that can have legal consequences and involve jail time. This includes email, instant messaging, social networking sites (such as Facebook), text messages, and cell phones.
Collective bullying tactics are employed by more than one individual against a target or targets. Trolling behavior on social media, although generally assumed to be individual in nature by the casual reader, is sometime organized efforts by sponsored astroturfers.
Main article: Mobbing
Mobbing refers to the bullying of an individual by a group, in any context, such as a family, peer group, school, workplace, neighborhood, community, or online. When it occurs as emotionalabuse in the workplace, such as "ganging up" by co-workers, subordinates or superiors, to force someone out of the workplace through rumor, innuendo, intimidation, humiliation, discrediting, and isolation, it is also referred to as malicious, nonsexual, nonracial / racial, general harassment.
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Of bullies and accomplices
Studies have shown that envy and resentment may be motives for bullying. Research on the self-esteem of bullies has produced equivocal results. While some bullies are arrogant and narcissistic, they can also use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety or to boost self-esteem: by demeaning others, the abuser feels empowered. Bullies may bully out of jealousy or because they themselves are bullied. Psychologist Roy Baumeister asserts that people who are prone to abusive behavior tend to have inflated but fragile egos. Because they think too highly of themselves, they are frequently offended by the criticisms and lack of deference of other people, and react to this disrespect with violence and insults.[full citation needed]
Researchers have identified other risk factors such as depression and personality disorders, as well as quickness to anger and use of force, addiction to aggressive behaviors, mistaking others' actions as hostile, concern with preserving self-image, and engaging in obsessive or rigid actions. A combination of these factors may also be causes of this behavior. In one study of youth, a combination of antisocial traits and depression was found to be the best predictor of youth violence, whereas video game violence and television violence exposure were not predictive of these behaviors.
Bullying may also result from a genetic predisposition or a brain abnormality in the bully. While parents can help a toddler develop emotional regulation and control to restrict aggressive behavior, some children fail to develop these skills due to insecure attachment with their families, ineffective discipline, and environmental factors such as a stressful home life and hostile siblings. Moreover, according to some researchers, bullies may be inclined toward negativity and perform poorly academically. Dr. Cook says that "a typical bully has trouble resolving problems with others and also has trouble academically. He or she usually has negative attitudes and beliefs about others, feels negatively toward himself/herself, comes from a family environment characterized by conflict and poor parenting, perceives school as negative and is negatively influenced by peers".
Contrarily, some researchers have suggested that some bullies are psychologically strongest and have high social standing among their peers, while their targets are emotionally distressed and socially marginalized. Peer groups often promote the bully's actions, and members of these peer groups also engage in behaviors, such as mocking, excluding, punching, and insulting one another as a source of entertainment. Other researchers also argued that a minority of the bullies, those who are not in-turn bullied, enjoy going to school, and are least likely to take days off sick.
Research indicates that adults who bully have authoritarian personalities, combined with a strong need to control or dominate. It has also been suggested that a prejudicial view of subordinates can be a particularly strong risk factor.
Of typical bystanders
Often, bullying takes place in the presence of a large group of relatively uninvolved bystanders. In many cases, it is the bully's ability to create the illusion that he or she has the support of the majority present that instills the fear of "speaking out" in protestation of the bullying activities being observed by the group. Unless the "bully mentality" is effectively challenged in any given group in its early stages, it often becomes an accepted, or supported, norm within the group.
Unless action is taken, a "culture of bullying" is often perpetuated within a group for months, years, or longer.
Bystanders who have been able to establish their own "friendship group" or "support group" have been found to be far more likely to opt to speak out against bullying behavior than those who have not.
In addition to communication of clear expectations that bystanders should intervene and increasing individual self-efficacy, there is growing research that suggests interventions should build on the foundation that bullying is morally wrong.
Among adults, being a bystander to workplace bullying was linked to depression, particularly in women.
Dr. Cook says that "A typical victim is likely to be aggressive, lack social skills, think negative thoughts, experience difficulties in solving social problems, come from a negative family, school and community environments and be noticeably rejected and isolated by peers". Victims often have characteristics such as being physically weak, as well as being easily distraught emotionally. They may also have physical characteristics that make them easier targets for bullies such as being overweight or having some type of physical deformity. Boys are more likely to be victims of physical bullying while girls are more likely to be bullied indirectly.
The results of a meta-analysis conducted by Cook and published by the American Psychological Association in 2010 concluded the main risk factors for children and adolescents being bullied, and also for becoming bullies, are the lack of social problem-solving skills.
Children who are bullied often show physical or emotional signs, such as: being afraid to attend school, complaining of headaches or a loss of appetite, a lack of interest in school activities and spending time with friends or family, and having an overall sense of sadness.
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Mona O'Moore of the Anti-Bullying Centre at Trinity College in Dublin, has written, "There is a growing body of research which indicates that individuals, whether child or adult, who are persistently subjected to abusive behavior are at risk of stress related illness which can sometimes lead to suicide". Those who have been the targets of bullying can suffer from long term emotional and behavioral problems. Bullying can cause loneliness, depression, anxiety, lead to low self-esteem and increased susceptibility to illness. Bullying has also been shown to cause maladjustment in young children, and targets of bullying who were also bullies themselves exhibit even greater social difficulties.
Main articles: Bullying and suicide and List of suicides which have been attributed to bullying
Even though there is evidence that bullying increases the risk of suicide, bullying alone does not cause suicide. Depression is one of the main reasons why kids who are bullied commit suicide. It is estimated that between 15 and 25 children commit suicide every year in the UK alone because they are being bullied. Certain attributes of a person are correlated to a higher risk for suicide than others such as: American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Asian Americans, and LGBT people. When someone is unsupported by his or her family or friends, it can make the situation much worse for the victim.
While some people find it very easy to ignore a bully, others may find it very difficult and reach a breaking point. There have been cases of apparent bullying suicides that have been reported closely by the media. These include the deaths of Ryan Halligen, Phoebe Prince, Dawn-Marie Wesley, Nicola Ann Raphael, Megan Meier, Audrie Pott, Tyler Clementi, Jamey Rodemeyer, Kenneth Weishuhn, Jadin Bell, Katelyn Nicole Davis, Kelly Yeomans, Rehtaeh Parsons, Amanda Todd, Brodie Panlock, Jessica Haffer, Hamed Nastoh, Sladjana Vidovic, April Himes, Cherice Moralez and Rebecca Ann Sedwick. According to the suicide awareness voices for education, suicide is one of the leading causes of death for youth from 15 to 24 years old. Over 16 percent of students seriously consider suicide, 13 percent create a plan, and 8 percent have made a serious attempt.
Serial killers were frequently bullied through direct and indirect methods as children or adolescents. Henry Lee Lucas, a serial killer and diagnosed psychopath, said the ridicule and rejection he suffered as a child caused him to hate everyone which he believes to have evoked this behavior. Kenneth Bianchi, a serial killer and member of the Hillside Stranglers, was teased as a child because he urinated in his pants and suffered twitching, and as a teenager was ignored by his peers. It is realised from these recent studies that individuals who were previously involved in a violent childhood whom was effected mentally and emotionally due these experiences later rationally adapts this violent behaviour and provokes other victims. This violent behavior that is performed by these so-called serial killers allows these individuals to escape from their past of feeling trapped and weak to taking control over innocent victim.
Some have argued that bullying can teach life lessons and instill strength. Helene Guldberg, a child development academic, sparked controversy when she argued that being a target of bullying can teach a child "how to manage disputes and boost their ability to interact with others", and that teachers should not intervene, but leave children to respond to the bullying themselves.
The teaching of such anti-bullying coping skills to "would-be-targets" and to others has been found to be an effective long term means of reducing bullying incidence rates and a valuable skill-set for individuals.
Main article: Dark triad
Research on the dark triad (narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy) indicate a correlation with bullying as part of evidence of the aversive nature of those traits.
Main article: Psychological projection
A bully may project his/her own feelings of vulnerability onto the target(s) of the bullying activity. Despite the fact that a bully's typically denigrating activities are aimed at the bully's targets, the true source of such negativity is ultimately almost always found in the bully's own sense of personal insecurity and/or vulnerability. Such aggressive projections of displaced negative emotions can occur anywhere from the micro-level of interpersonal relationships, all the way up through to the macro-level of international politics, or even international armed conflict.
Main article: Bullying and emotional intelligence
Bullying is abusive social interaction between peers which can include aggression, harassment, and violence. Bullying is typically repetitive and enacted by those who are in a position of power over the victim. A growing body of research illustrates a significant relationship between bullying and emotional intelligence (EI). Mayer et al., (2008) defines the dimensions of overall EI as: "accurately perceiving emotion, using emotions to facilitate thought, understanding emotion, and managing emotion". The concept combines emotional and intellectual processes. Lower emotional intelligence appears to be related to involvement in bullying, as the bully and/or the victim of bullying. EI seems to play an important role in both bullying behavior and victimization in bullying; given that EI is illustrated to be malleable, EI education could greatly improve bullying prevention and intervention initiatives.
Main article: Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is any bullying done through the use of technology. This form of bullying can easily go undetected because of lack of parental/authoritative supervision. Because bullies can pose as someone else, it is the most anonymous form of bullying. Cyberbullying includes, but is not limited to, abuse using email, instant messaging, text messaging, websites, social networking sites, etc. With the creation of social networks like Facebook, Myspace, Instagram, and Twitter, cyberbullying has increased. Particular watchdog organizations have been designed to contain the spread of cyberbullying.
Main article: Disability bullying
It has been noted that disabled people are disproportionately affected by bullying and abuse, and such activity has been cited as a hate crime. The bullying is not limited to those who are visibly disabled, such as wheelchair-users or physically deformed such as those with a cleft lip, but also those with learning disabilities, such as autism and developmental coordination disorder.
There is an additional problem that those with learning disabilities are often not as able to explain things to other people, so are more likely to be disbelieved or ignored if they do complain.
Main article: Gay bashing
Gay bullying and gay bashing designate direct or indirect verbal or physical actions by a person or group against someone who is gay or lesbian, or perceived to be so due to rumors or because they are considered to fit gay stereotypes. Gay and lesbian youth are more likely than straight youth to report bullying.
Main article: Legal abuse
Legal bullying is the bringing of a vexatious legal action to control and punish a person. Legal bullying can often take the form of frivolous, repetitive, or burdensome lawsuits brought to intimidate the defendant into submitting to the litigant's request, not because of the legal merit of the litigant's position, but principally due to the defendant's inability to maintain the legal battle. This can also take the form of SLAPPs. It was partially concern about the potential for this kind of abuse that helped to fuel the protests against SOPA and PIPA in the United States in 2011 and 2012.
Main article: Bullying in the military
In 2000, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) defined bullying as "the use of physical strength or the abuse of authority to intimidate or victimize others, or to give unlawful punishments".
Some argue that this behaviour should be allowed, due to ways in which "soldiering" is different from other occupations. Soldiers expected to risk their lives should, according to them, develop strength of body and spirit to accept bullying.
Parental bullying of children
See also: Child abuse, Narcissistic parent, and Parental narcissistic abuse
Parents who may displace their anger, insecurity, or a persistent need to dominate and control upon their children in excessive ways have been proven to increase the likelihood that their own children will in turn become overly aggressive or controlling towards their peers. The American Psychological Association advises on its website that parents who may suspect that their own children may be engaging in bullying activities among their peers should carefully consider the examples which they themselves may be setting for their own children regarding how they typically interact with their own peers, colleagues, and children.
Main article: Prisoner abuse
An environment known for bullying is a country's prison service. An additional complication is the staff and their relationships with the inmates. Thus the following possible bullying scenarios are possible:
- Inmate bullies inmate (echoing school bullying)
- Staff bullies inmate
- Staff bullies staff (a manifestation of workplace bullying)
- Inmate bullies staff
School bullying (bullying of students in schools)
Main article: School bullying
Bullying can occur in nearly any part in or around the school building, although it may occur more frequently during physical education classes and activities such as recess. Bullying also takes place in school hallways, bathrooms, on school buses and while waiting for buses, and in classes that require group work and/or after school activities. Bullying in school sometimes consists of a group of students taking advantage of or isolating one student in particular and gaining the loyalty of bystanders who want to avoid becoming the next target. In the 2011 documentary Bully, we see first hand the torture that kids go through both in school and while on the school bus. As the movie follows around a few kids we see how bullying affects them both at school as well as in their homes. While bullying has no age limit, these bullies may taunt and tease their target before finally physically bullying them. Bystanders typically choose to either participate or watch, sometimes out of fear of becoming the next target.
Bullying can also be perpetrated by teachers and the school system itself; there is an inherent power differential in the system that can easily predispose to subtle or covert abuse (relational aggression or passive aggression), humiliation, or exclusion — even while maintaining overt commitments to anti-bullying policies.
In 2016, in Canada, a North American legal precedent was set by a mother and her son, after the son was bullied in his public school. The mother and son won a court case against the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, making this the first case in North America where a school board has been found negligent in a bullying case for failing to meet the standard of care (the "duty of care" that the school board owes to its students). Thus, it sets a precedent of a school board being found liable in negligence for harm caused to a child, because they failed to protect a child from the bullying actions of other students. There has been only one other similar bullying case and it was won in Australia in 2013 (Oyston v. St. Patricks College, 2013).
Main article: Sexual bullying
See also: Slut-shaming
Sexual bullying is "Any bullying behaviour, whether physical or non-physical, that is based on a person's sexuality or gender. It is when sexuality or gender is used as a weapon by boys or girls towards other boys or girls – although it is more commonly directed at girls. It can be carried out to a person's face, behind their back or through the use of technology."
Main article: Trans bashing
Trans bashing is the act of victimizing a person physically, sexually, or verbally because they are transgender or transsexual. Unlike gay bashing, it is committed because of the target's actual or perceived gender identity, not sexual orientation.
Main article: Workplace bullying
Workplace bullying occurs when an employee experiences a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes harm. Workplace bullying can include such tactics as verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse and humiliation. This type of workplace aggression is particularly difficult because, unlike the typical forms of school bullying, workplace bullies often operate within the established rules and policies of their organization and their society. Bullying in the workplace is in the majority of cases reported as having been perpetrated by someone in authority over the target. However, bullies can also be peers, and occasionally can be subordinates.
The first known documented use of "workplace bullying" is in 1992 in a book by Andrea Adams called Bullying at Work: How to Confront and Overcome It.
Research has also investigated the impact of the larger organizational context on bullying as well as the group-level processes that impact on the incidence, and maintenance of bullying behavior. Bullying can be covert or overt. It may be missed by superiors or known by many throughout the organization. Negative effects are not limited to the targeted individuals, and may lead to a decline in employee morale and a change in organizational culture. A Cochrane Collaborationsystematic review has found very low quality evidence to suggest that organizational and individual interventions may prevent bullying behaviors in the workplace.
Main article: Bullying in academia
Bullying in academia is workplace bullying of scholars and staff in academia, especially places of higher education such as colleges and universities. It is believed to be common, although has not received as much attention from researchers as bullying in some other contexts.
In blue collar jobs
Bullying has been identified as prominent in blue collar jobs, including on oil rigs and in mechanic shops and machine shops. It is thought that intimidation and fear of retribution cause decreased incident reports. In industry sectors dominated by males, typically of little education, where disclosure of incidents are seen as effeminate, reporting in the socioeconomic and cultural milieu of such industries would likely lead to a vicious circle. This is often used in combination with manipulation and coercion of facts to gain favour among higher-ranking administrators.
In information technology
Main article: Bullying in information technology
A culture of bullying is common in information technology (IT), leading to high sickness rates, low morale, poor productivity, and high staff-turnover. Deadline-driven project work and stressed-out managers take their toll on IT workers.
In the legal profession
Main article: Bullying in the legal profession
Bullying in the legal profession is believed to be more common than in some other professions. It is believed that its adversarial, hierarchical tradition contributes towards this. Women, trainees and solicitors who have been qualified for five years or less are more impacted, as are ethnic minority lawyers and lesbian, gay and bisexual lawyers.
Main article: Bullying in medicine
Bullying in the medical profession is common, particularly of student or trainee doctors and of nurses. It is thought that this is at least in part an outcome of conservative traditional hierarchical structures and teaching methods in the medical profession, which may result in a bullying cycle.
Main article: Bullying in nursing
Even though The American Nurses Association believes that all nursing personnel have the right to work in safe, non-abusive environments, bullying has been identified as being particularly prevalent in the nursing profession although the reasons are not clear. It is thought that relational aggression (psychological aspects of bullying such as gossipping and intimidation) are relevant. Relational aggression has been studied among girls but not so much among adult women.
Main article: Bullying in teaching
Schoolteachers are commonly the subject of bullying but they are also sometimes the originators of bullying within a school environment.
In other areas
As the verb to bully is defined as simply "forcing one's way aggressively or by intimidation", the term may generally apply to any life experience where one is motivated primarily by intimidation instead of by more positive goals, such as mutually shared interests and benefits. As such, any figure of authority or power who may use intimidation as a primary means of motivating others, such as a neighborhood "protection racket don", a national dictator, a childhood ring-leader, a terrorist, a terrorist organization, or even a ruthless business CEO, could rightfully be referred to as a bully. According to psychologist Pauline Rennie-Peyton, we each face the possibility of being bullied in any phase of our lives.
Children have been observed bullying anthropomorphic robots designed to assist the elderly. Their attacks start with blocking the robots' paths of movement and then escalate to verbal abuse, hitting and destroying the object. Seventy-five percent of the kids interviewed perceived the robot as "human-like" yet decided to abuse it anyway, while 35% of the kids who beat up the robot actually did so "for enjoyment.".
Bullying prevention is the collective effort to prevent, reduce, and stop bullying. Many campaigns and events are designated to bullying prevention throughout the world. Bullying prevention campaigns and events include: Anti-Bullying Day, Anti-Bullying Week, International Day of Pink, International STAND UP to Bullying Day, and National Bullying Prevention Month. Anti-Bullying laws in the U.S. have also been enacted in 23 of its 50 states, making bullying in schools illegal.
Responding to bullying
Bullying is typically ongoing and not isolated behaviour. Common ways that people try to respond, are to try to ignore it, to confront the bullies or to turn to an authority figure to try and address it.
Ignoring it often does nothing to stop the bullying continuing, and it can become worse over time. It can be important to address bullying behaviour early on, as it can be easier to control the earlier it is detected. Bystanders play an important role in responding to bullying, as doing nothing can encourage it to continue, while small steps that oppose the behaviour can reduce it.
Authority figures can play an important role, such as parents in child or adolescent situations, or supervisors, human-resources staff or parent-bodies in workplace and volunteer settings. Authority figures can be influential in recognising and stopping bullying behaviour, and creating an environment where it doesn't continue. In many situations however people acting as authority figures are untrained and unqualified, do not know how to respond, and can make the situation worse. In some cases the authority figures even support the people doing the bullying, facilitating it continuing and increasing the isolation and marginalising of the target. Some of the most effective ways to respond, are to recognise that harmful behaviour is taking place, and creating an environment where it won't continue. People that are being targeted have little control over which authority figures they can turn to and how such matters would be addressed, however one means of support is to find a counsellor or psychologist that is trained in handling bullying.
The word "bully" was first used in the 1530s meaning "sweetheart", applied to either sex, from the Dutch boel "lover, brother", probably diminutive of Middle High Germanbuole "brother", of uncertain origin (compare with the German buhle "lover"). The meaning deteriorated through the 17th century through "fine fellow", "blusterer", to "harasser of the weak". This may have been as a connecting sense between "lover" and "ruffian" as in "protector of a prostitute", which was one sense of "bully" (though not specifically attested until 1706). The verb "to bully" is first attested in 1710.
In the past, in American culture, the term has been used differently, as an exclamation/exhortation, in particular famously associated with Theodore Roosevelt and continuing to the present in the bully pulpit and also as faint/deprecating praise ("bully for him").
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