Serial Bullying in the Workplace

Serial Bullying: How Employee Abuse Starts, Ends, and Restarts with New Targets

Serial bullying is a repetitive, targeted, destructive form of bullying directed by direct managers toward their employees…also called merry-go-round bullying, [it] is when a bully picks one person at a time to terrorize and moves on to another person, usually after the initial target is driven from the workgroup.”

Effectively interrupting the cycle requires more than just removing, coaching, or disciplining the abuse. Ending the cycle means encouraging rather than obstructing the expression of employees’ alternative workplace experiences, despite the likelihood that those voices will differ from management’s. Without honestly dealing with aggressors and the climate that spawns and supports aggression, organizations are doomed to repeat the cycle.

“Only when organizational members at all levels can safely and openly question the dominant culture can the cycle of serial bullying be interrupted. This is no small feat.”

Adult Bullying-A Nasty Piece of Work: Translating a Decade of Research on Non-Sexual Harassment, Psychological Terror, Mobbing, and Emotional Abuse on the Job by Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik

Note: For more information about combating workplace bullying, visit the Workplace Bullying Institute, Beyond Bullying Association, the International Association on Workplace Bullying & Harassment (IAWBH) and the International Conference on Workplace Bullying.

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