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raven860's avatar

Have you encountered mobbing as described in this article? Are such things common?

Asked by raven860 (2163points) December 2nd, 2011

^It’s an article that talks about mobbing in the workplace. Is this true of some workplaces?

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14 Answers

whitetigress's avatar

I’ve seen this in action. In the newspaper industry. Some kid is trying to come out, he’s mouth becomes too big for his face and co-workers just shun him or shut him out unless they absolutely need to deal with him. They pick on him on their private time only to come to the consensus that almost everyone else feels the same way. So that vibe just carries on. Soon enough someone in power or shared power sees him as a threat, they find any dirt to get on them and tell the advisor just to get them fired. It becomes a personal kniving thing to do but its a social strategy to weed out those you don’t want in your group. Unfortunate but it happens.

raven860's avatar

@whitetigress Is it done to someone superior that they can’t challenge in a direct way? or someone who is a whistleblower?

JLeslie's avatar

It happens in my opinion when someone in power wants to get rid of a particular individual. I don’t think they are always aware of what they are doing, that they are giving off a negative vibe, and other coworkers are joining in.

This sort of once happened to me, but my manager was the new person, I had been there for years, and the people she had brought with her to the company were kind of following her lead, but I still had wonderful coworkers who were good to me. At one point my manager went to far, it finally went before HR, and she was put in her place from what I could tell. Then everything got better all around.

By far my work experience has been very positive, with great teamwork among employees, even when new people were introduced into the group.

My worst experience was at a hospital where they wanted us to be task oriented, keep our head down, and don’t help others.

CWOTUS's avatar

I guess I’ve seen that in several places. I’ve probably even participated, which I’m not proud of.

Thanks for an interesting and eye-opening article.

wundayatta's avatar

I think a mild form of it occurred in the place I worked before my current job. The work turned over to a new kind of work. All of a sudden we had forty new people who were lead by someone half my age. He didn’t know what he was doing, and he looked down on anyone older than him who was trying to help.

I think he represented the boss in this. Our boss had been on the war path for a while, and finally he let most of the old people go. It was a relief for me.

I know other people who may be feeling a similar thing. I suspect it’s part of the back stabbing, climb the corporate ladder nature of so many businesses. The culture of business makes it happen. To get ahead, you need to be both the same as everyone else (so no one hates you) and yet different (to get promotions). But you can’t be too different. And sometimes you get promotions simply by being loyal and saying yes. Sometimes by performance. Depends on the organization.

Such a culture that doesn’t look at people in terms of work performance, but in terms of social performance will foster mobbing behavior, I suspect. I think it’s endemic. Right now, I work in a department of one. The only person who can mob me is me. My boss is never around, and this is a sign that he is happy. The other people I work for are generally appreciative since I give them help for free. It’s a low standard. There is no particular reason for anyone to not like me. It gets them nowhere. Love it!

linguaphile's avatar

Yes, it happens, but I’m not sure how frequently it happens. I’ve experienced it twice.

The first time was because I started a new job, but then soon realized special needs children were being abused. By abuse, I mean… 8–10 year old kids slammed into walls, thrown on hard concrete floors, sat on with their heads held down onto the floor, dragged by their feet on carpet causing rug burns, fed extremely outdated food, etc. I was expected to conform to the system and I refused, so I became their workplace-mobbing target. I ended up with PTSD from this experience—trying to save kids from abuse, receiving abuse, and being powerless. The saving grace is many of those kids sought me out after graduation to say thank you.

The second time was when I moved to Minnesota. I innocently made the most vicious person at work mad during my first week—a longtime employee and assumed I was trying to make her look bad; I didn’t know the history so was just trying to be friendly and poof- a good 4 years of ostracization by maybe 75% of the people there. I did realize along the way that having PTSD made me too scared to assertively address this situation so it went longer than it should. I’m still there, am still nonexistent to a small number of people, but my work quality has spoken for itself and was promoted this fall.

There’s an organization that addresses this topic, in depth. It’s not much different than schoolyard mobbing and bullying. THANK YOU for sharing this article—more people need to be aware of this!!

whitetigress's avatar

@raven860 In the case that I witnessed @JLeslie explanation hits it right on the ball.

raven860's avatar

@linguaphile What was happening to the children sounds horrible! And PTSD….well that obviously speaks for itself…I hope you are doing well and have conquered it!. Are you aware if the child abouse still happens? Was or has anything done to stop it? May I ask where this place was? ( You can PM me the last one if you feel more comfortable about it).

raven860's avatar

Also, @linguaphile , what kind of help have you received or sought for regarding your PTSD.

linguaphile's avatar

@raven860 Workplace mobbing does cause PTSD, like the article says. A lot of people don’t think about the fact that you’re at work more than you’re at home most days of the week. When you add 8 to 9 hours at work to whatever time you put into the commute, it adds up to much more than the 4-something hours you have at home in the evenings. Not only that, if someone’s being mobbed, the commute is full of thoughts about what’s going on at work. It’s near-impossible to be in a hostile environment for 9 hours without being affected.

The school, in Montana, did clean up after I left. One of the teachers had been watching, and when he became the new superintendent/director, he cleaned the place up. I think he was able to do that because he was a respected ‘insider,’ not some out-of-state upstart like I was viewed as being. I was invited back to give a workshop there and that was how I could bury those demons. Will PM!

raven860's avatar

@linguaphile What about parents and other authorities? Did word ever get outside of school? Also, the students, they did not complain?

linguaphile's avatar

@raven860 It was extremely complicated. The students were deaf and hard of hearing—90% of their parents could not communicate effectively with them through speaking or signing. The kids did complain, but if any questions were asked, the abusers were very able to discredit what the kids were saying by explaining it in another context or saying, “Oh no, that was a misunderstanding on their part.” It’s not an uncommon occurrence with deaf children, unfortunately.

There was one situation after I left where a boy was dragged, shirtless, about 150 feet down a hall and up 2 flights of stairs into the dean’s office. The rugburn on his back was so bad it later turned black. It was obvious he was hurt, but because he was “out of control” (they couldn’t stand him- he was a question asker) they called the police on him. He was 12… the cops cuffed him, asked what happened—the school told the cops he did it to himself. The cops took him to the hospital, the hospital asked what happened, same answer. At least 10 adults saw him and only one, the social worker he saw 3 days later, was concerned enough to ask more questions. He had no voice or defense until the social worker believed his story.

Word did get out and often the former students often talked about different abuse stories like they were football game stories—they saw it as a part of their growing up experience and didn’t see how they were affected overall. Some knew it was wrong, but the school gave them a place where they completely fit in and weren’t rejected by their peers, a place where they could communicate with people and not live half-lives where they guessed their way through, and they weren’t going to risk that being jeopardized by reporting. That’s one of the main reasons I was mobbed— I was challenging the status quo, their comfort zone, as warped as it was. I completely understood their perspective—but wanted them to have that without the abuse.

The school eventually did end the abuse and the mobbing about 3 years after I left—it took several different things to happen but it then became last school of its type to stop this kind of abuse—finally. I really do believe that the group mentality has a lot to do with mobbing—change the mentality, the mobbing ends.

I want to emphasize that, today, this type of abuse rarely ever happens at deaf boarding schools because the schools are watched very closely.

raven860's avatar

@linguaphile I PM’d you a few more questions. I hope you don’t mind.

raven860's avatar

@linguaphile I PM’d you. I am sorry about the delay.

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