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Slide 1 :
1 Workplace mobbing Ivana Soljan, Europapress holding Ltd., Koranska 2, Zagreb, Croatia, firstname.lastname@example.org Zeljka Josipovic-Jelic, “Medikol” Polyclinic, Vocarska 106, Zagreb, Croatia Anita Jelic Kis, Center for Technology of Occupational Safety Zagreb Ltd., Vodnikova 19, Zagreb, Croatia June 2008 Published in Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology (Arh Hig Rada Toksikol 2008;59:37-42)
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2 Summary Workplace mobbing is a hostile and unethical communication, systematically aimed from one or more individuals towards mostly one individual, who is, due to mobbing, brought into position in which he/she is helpless and not able to defend and is held in it by being permanently molested. The article describes some of the most important characteristics of mobbing: - offensive behaviour, - organizational and non-organizational causes of this behaviour, - the victim, - the consequences. Mobbing is a problem of the modern society; as a violation of human rights it is relatively new and unrecognised in Croatia. Abuse is mostly psychological; it affects the victim's health and life, quality of work, productivity, profitability, and may lead to significant economic losses in the community. Mobbing can be averted by joint forces that would involve employees and management, medical and legal professionals, and even community as a whole. The more an organization pursues excellence based on trust and business ethics, the higher the probability that mobbing will be averted or stopped.
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3 “Chicken or egg?” Main questions: Is mobbing a consequence of bad workplace relationships and inevitable confrontations, or is a mobber to be blamed? Is a mobbing victim partly responsible for mobbing?
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4 Definitions of mobbing Psychological terror or mobbing in working life involves hostile and unethical communication which is directed in a systematic manner by one or more individuals, mainly toward one individual, who, due to mobbing, is pushed into a helpless and defenseless position and held there by means of continuing mobbing activities. These actions occur on a very frequent basis (statistical definition: at least once a week) and over a long period of time (statistical definition: at least six months´ duration). Because of the high frequency and long duration of hostile behavior, this maltreatment results in considerable mental, psychosomatic and social misery. Heinz Leymann, German psychologist, 1984 Mobbing is a process in which one or more persons with preconcerted intention, targetedly, systematically and continuously psychologically molests one or more persons, with exclusive intention of his/her/their destruction, that is elimination from his/her/their workplace. Zlata Jaška, Croatian author, 2004
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5 Characteristics of mobber’s behavior Mobbing affects individuals, organizations and indirectly the whole society Mobber does not respect a victim on neither personal nor professional level Mobbing is present in all kinds of organizations and (all industries and all sizes, owned by state or private) Mobber underestimates victim’s work and professionalism, criticizes him/her in front of colleagues, ridicules him/her, and does not treat him/her as other colleagues of the same rank Mobber ignores and controls victim, threatens with possible job loss and sends negative verbal and non verbal messages
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6 Croatian legal system Mobbing is to be approbated according to the legal frames A bill - proposition of the Law of the workplace mobbing prevention has been completed in April 2007 Croatia has only a few counseling centers, dispensaries, associations and other institutions which deal with mobbing victims
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7 Organizational climate suitable for mobbing development Poorly organized organizations stimulating stress and monotony Shallow organizational structure and the one with more organizational and hierarchical levels Nonprofessional and unconcerned management which tolerates/ignores mobbing Downsizing Illegal and unethical activities
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8 Mobbing creation platform Mobbing is a consequence of an interaction of five elements: mobber's psychology victim's psychology organizational culture and structure – employee as a resource instead of a creative individual initial events and conflicts out of organization factors -society’s values and norms.
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9 Subsistence platform Mobbing subsists due to: individual being forced (by hostile behavior) to adapt to group's norms enjoyment in molestation typical attributes of the western culture: competitiveness, orientation on success exclusively, efficiency, hard work, innovation, direct interaction, shallow human relations organizational climate.
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10 Companies’ types suitable for mobbing development NGO’s – insufficiently developed employees’ prevention and protection mechanisms Public administration and defense Education and health care system
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11 Organizational causes of mobbing Modern business environment is characterized by increased: - complexity - activity - volatility. It requires better ability to adjust. Constant changes are: - part of the organizational reality, but also - produce ideal environment for development and escalation of all kinds of conflicts.
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12 Organizational causes of mobbing Conflicts are inevitable in every organization. Management is obliged to identify and manage the conflict in timely manner in order to: - prevent harmful consequences on productivity and costs, - protect employees, - prevent physical and mental disorders caused by unproductive conflicts such as mobbing. The idea is to avert psychological abuse and aberrant behaviour such as mobbing that may cause physical and mental disorders.
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13 Action and reaction Mobber’s action: - conscious or unconscious way of power enforcement on others’ behalf - complex and frustration cure Reaction of non-molested employees: - join mobbers - behave as if they do not notice incorrect behavior being afraid of losing their job - defend abused Reaction of the abused: - “revolt” -> healthy reaction - suffering -> psychosomatic disorders
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14 Who is subject to mobbing? Surveys showed that some individuals have, more than others, different social, status or psychological predispositions to be mobbed: - “honest guys” – noted and reported irregularities at work - physically disabled who demand more independence at work - workers who, after many years of experience, want to be recognized by higher salary and different benefits - ethnical and religious minorities - eccentrics - chronically ill often absent from work - those with the least experience in a company
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15 Who is subject to mobbing? – continued Does not affect a particular personality It often occurs in a closed circle in which a professionally competent person, due to its capabilities, antagonizes, and further more, confirms mobber’s acts by negative reaction to molestation Sensitive persons who strive to be liked and accepted by others, who are taught not to make mistakes and show weakness and do not dare to deal with conflicts openly
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16 Non-organizational factors of mobbing Society values and norms affect the organizational culture Emphatic competitiveness and only-outcome-counts philosophy stimulate conflicts Expression “work force” became so common that most managers forget that the force is built on individuals Expression “human resources” make us believe that humans are unused valuable sources as money or technology is Bottom line is that individuals are creative people who need to accomplish organizational aims and, while doing that, feel self fulfilled
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17 Consequences of mobbing Numerous consequences affecting individual, organization and community Countless expenses measured by productivity, success, organizational culture, moral, employees’ dissatisfaction, prosperity becomes mission impossible Workers are, instead of being concentrated on achieving goals and accomplish plans, focused on inner struggles and surviving strategies Victim’s psychological and psychosomatic disorders: - somatic - emotional - behavioral
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18 Conclusion: Why is it difficult to resolve? Mobbing is not an organizational conflict resulting in positive changes. It is an expression of negative energy derived from intentionally unresolved everyday conflicts and preservation of hostile communication climate. Mobbing is a modern society problem, recognized as a new form of human rights violation It leaves “scars” on victim’s psyche and therefore is difficult to prove.
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19 Way out The more the organization strives to excellence based on team work, confidence and integrity, open and frequent communication, employees’ competence and personality development, as well as conflict resolving strategies, the more chance there is to impede and resolve mobbing. Mobbing is to be treated by interdisciplinary approach of occupational medicine doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, lawyers, sociologists and social workers.
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