Friday, March 9, 2012

Maureen Duffy and Len Sperry's "Mobbing"

Maureen Duffy is a highly experienced family therapist with an active clinical and consulting practice that includes clients who have been injured as a result of mobbing. She was formerly Professor of Counseling at Barry University, where the counseling clinic is named in her honor. Currently, she is affiliated with Nova Southeastern University's program in qualitative research and with Massey University's program in discursive therapies. Her work in the area of social justice includes multiple articles, book chapters, and national and international presentations on mobbing, ethics, and restorative justice.

Len Sperry is Professor of Mental Health Counseling at Florida Atlantic University and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where for years, he directed the Division of Organizational Psychiatry and consulted widely with professional organizations and Fortune 500 corporations. He has published broadly on workplace issues, including six books on leadership and organizational dynamics, as well as articles and book chapters on workplace violence and mobbing.

They applied the “Page 99 Test” to their new book, Mobbing: Causes, Consequences and Solutions, and reported the following:
Page 99 in our book Mobbing: Causes, Consequences and Solutions comes right in the middle of Part 2 which addresses individual, group , and organizational antecedents of mobbing. Our book is about the social process of mobbing in which an individual is targeted for abuse, humiliation, or ridicule in order to remove them from an organization, usually a workplace or a school, or to render them suspect or devalued while remaining within the organization. While almost all readers are familiar with the term “bullying,” far fewer are familiar with the term “mobbing.” “Mobbing” includes the organization’s implicit or explicit role in the humiliation and abuse of a worker, student, or other organizational member while “bullying” suggests the aggressive behavior of an individual or small group apart from an organizational context. It is to the analysis of the organizational context in workplace and school mobbing, what might in some quarters be called workplace or school bullying, that we pay significant attention in our book.

And there, on Pg. 99, somewhat to our surprise (being new to the Pg. 99 test), is the central thesis of the book:
To approach an understanding of the causes of mobbing, it is much more useful to examine the interactional effects among the individual, group or workgroup, and larger organization. The weakest and least likely place to find meaningful explanations of mobbing is within the individual.
On page 99, we review studies of personality profiles of adults who have been labeled as “bullies” in the workplace and similar studies about child and adolescent perpetrators of school bullying. The conclusion from this review is that personality profiles of so-called “bullies” are of extremely limited value in trying to understand what kind of person perpetrates abuse in workplaces or schools. In other words, personality profiling or looking for the “bad apple” isn’t going to be of much help in effectively dealing with the problem of workplace and school mobbing and bullying. What we offer instead is an analysis of the organizational context, with particular attention to organizational culture and leadership, and its effects on group and individual behavior within the organization, as a more meaningful way of both understanding and preventing workplace and school mobbing.

In addition to examining the antecedents of mobbing, we look at its consequences and describe the impact of mobbing and its slew of associated losses for victims in the workplace and at school. Loss of personal and professional identity, deteriorated work and/or school relationships, negative health consequences, loss of confidence and loss of belief that the world is a fair and just place, family problems, and a heightened sense of insecurity about the future are just some of the more common experiences of loss as a result of mobbing that we discuss. In the last section of our book we address how individuals who have been victimized by workplace or school mobbing can recover, and, most importantly, how organizations are responsible for the degree of mobbing-proneness of their organizational culture and what concrete steps they can take to stop mobbing and prevent it from happening in the future.
Learn more about Mobbing at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue