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March 27, 2013

Mob Action in Your Workplace?

Filed under: Performance Management — Tags: , 6:00 am

We have been focusing on Workplace Bullying this month.  It has been a recurring topic of media reports and lawsuits of late.  In researching the topic, a type of bullying piqued my interest:  mobbing.  This is a practice that is equivalent to group bullying.  It usually occurs when an employee inadvertently annoys a manager and finds himself the target of mob action.  The manager, in a provoked state, then determines the employee must go.   With ease the manager is able to convince a portion of the workforce to turn on the worker.  Indirectly the manager makes it known the worker must go because of their own deeds and that the worker would be more contented elsewhere.  And, the mobbing begins.

It all seems so subtle, but to the target these are direct hits!  First, coworkers may distance themselves from the target, excluding him from certain office activities.  The harmful gossiping begins, which quickly turns to destructive rumors.  Hearsay and speculation about the target become rampant.  Coworkers refuse to work with or cooperate with him and sabotage projects for which he was responsible.    Negative performance evaluations, clandestine inquiries, and false accusations of misconduct torment the target as the angered manager tries to make a contrived case for dismissal.

Understanding workplace bullying in all its forms will aid in tailoring workplace policies to meet your organization’s needs and hold the appropriate people accountable for keeping your workplace civil and respectful.

To learn more about Workplace Bullying, see HRN Performance Solutions March, 2013, People Pay Performance.

Source:  Janice Harper, “What the Stanford Prison Experiment Can Teach Us About the Workplace.”


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