Title

Psychological Warfare at Work: The Destructive Cycle of Reciprocal Bullying

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publisher

Promaco Conventions Pty Ltd

Faculty

Business and Law

School

Management

RAS ID

5706

Comments

This article was originally published as: Standen, P. P., & Omari, M. (2008). Psychological warfare at work: the destructive cycle of reciprocal bullying. Proceedings of ANZAM Conference. Auckland, New Zealand. Promaco Conventions Pty Ltd.

Abstract

Workplace bullying is increasingly recognised as a significant threat to the psychological wellbeing of employees in a wide range of industries. While the common image of bullying involves an anti-social "bully" infringing a "victim's" expectations of workplace respect and dignity, this paper explores situations where members of a dyad bully each other. This phenomenon is explored using findings from a qualitative research project using multiple methods to investigate bullying in• the Australian Public Service. Characteristics that differentiate such reciprocal bullying from unilateral bullying are discussed. Our conclusions reflect on the difficulties faced by staff in disentangling personal and professional relationships in the context of a highly formal and hierarchical organisational use of power.

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