Thursday, August 6, 2015

Workplace mobbing is complex and real

Workplace mobbing is a complex phenomenon with negative outcomes for individual, group and organizational effectiveness.

In Australia, a government inquiry revealed that calls about workplace bullying had increased by 70 percent in three years. Statistics show that bullying affects one in three employees; what is really worrying is that one in two have witnessed bullying but have done nothing about it. Moreover, the actual incidence of bullying is likely to be much higher: for every case reported, eight to 20 cases are going unreported.

For targets of workplace bullying who suffer severe psychological and social pressure, there are many resources and trained professionals to help them. But for targets of workplace mobbing, which is a form of group bullying that can have even greater impacts on one’s psychological well-being and career, there are far fewer resources. Moreover, few mental health professionals are trained to recognize mobbing, much less address its impacts. Our response to this parallel (understandably) those emotions of grief and loss; the five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Recently Current Psychiatry, part of the US Frontline Medical Communications Inc. published a letter describing Mobbing as more prevalent and the consequences more dire for a victim who is feeling pressured to leave his or her job when there is little hope of getting another one or is taking on responsibilities previously held by others who have been laid off.

Gathering collateral information is critical for diagnostic accuracy and well-articulated interventions that may be recommended. Evaluators who do such assessments at the behest of corporate clients should insist that they have access to employee files investigative reports, and if appropriate permission to interview supervisors, employee assistance program representatives, and human resources personnel familiar with the case.

Mobbing is real and deserves much greater attention by researchers and clinicians in the United States (and one suspects elsewhere too.)

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