An Introduction to the Psychodynamics of Workplace Bullying

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Title An Introduction to the Psychodynamics of Workplace Bullying
Publication Type Book
Pub Year 2013
Authors White, S.
Number of Pages 252
Publisher Karnac Books
Keywords bullying, organizational psychodynamics, scapegoating
Abstract This book gives in-depth insights into the core issues of workplace bullying from the perspectives of the individuals involved, their interpersonal relationships, the group dynamics and organisational contexts. Workplace bullying is costly: increasingly petty conflicts are being registered as formal complaints and, in no time, legalities take over and costs spiral out of control. Preventive actions and interventions need to be based on a sound knowledge of the deeper issues which foster bullying scenarios.This book gets to the roots of why and how bullying occurs. Four main chapters are devoted to individuals, interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, and organisational contexts. The fifth chapter is a case study of the 'turn round' of a workplace in which bullying was rife. There are three recurring themes: recognition, loss, and space. New ways of conceptualising bullying are presented from drawing on the literature on the subject, as well as a range of psychodynamics theories. Bullying is described as a perverse and pernicious form of projective identification, occurring around organisational vacuums and structural fractures. Individuals, seeking recognition, get trapped in what the author terms 'a dance of death'. The group dynamics fragment on the surface but collusions, at unconscious/subconscious levels, create deep impasses. A question and answer section at the end of the chapters, brings together theory and practice. The book is very structured and designed to be used as a text, or hand, book for academics, HR managers, organisational consultants, psychotherapists, counsellors and 'life coaches'.
Notes scapegoating"For a scapegoat to become a victim, the group dynamics have to change. There needs to be a trigger, for example, an increase in anxiety levels due to a takeover or a restructuring of the organisation. If group members become more concerned about self-survival than about the group, the dynamics fragment. With little, or no, support from colleagues, an already burdened scapegoat would be vulnerable to attacks by group members who cope by projecting their anxieties on to others."
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