When workplace bullies claim victim status: Avoiding the judo flip

Minding the Workplace

Image: Mersea Island Judo ClubWorkplace bullies are good at this

We’ve seen it countless times: Workplace bullies claiming to be the victims of workplace bullying. And the smartest aggressors often are experts at doing this.

There is no foolproof method to prevent bullies from alleging victim status, but at the very least we don’t want to help them make their case. Here is some advice toward that end:

Don’t retaliate or act impulsively

I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat it in this context: Being bullied at work sometimes leads targets to retaliate or act impulsively, saying or doing things they’d like to take back. It’s a natural response, but resist doing so with all your might. Otherwise, it may provide a reason for the bully to say she’s being victimized.

Don’t mob the bully

The bully may be engaging in horrible mistreatment of you and maybe others, but trying to organize a mob…

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why​ is writing a literature review such hard work? part two

bobbydazzler of decoding that dense talk….


Yes, some examiners do ask doctoral researchers to change their literature review to show how they are “located” in the text.

OK, let’s pretend this is you. What do those pesky examiners mean exactly?

At one level this is a simple task. You are being asked to say

What key concepts and interpretations you have taken from the literature to inform the design of the study. Because no one does a project entirely from scratch – we all use other people’s work as building blocks – we have to specify exactly what wehaveborrowed. And you are also being asked to show how you have used concepts, approaches and/or interpretations. (This may well mean for instance that you have to refer back to the literatures when the methods are being explained. For instance, surveys almost always use literatures that have been introduced and explained earlier.)

What key concepts…

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On the dynamics of “puppet master” bullying at work

another brilliant insight into workplace manifestations of bullying and collusion among staff with bully bosses. Stockholm syndrome, strategic denial, battered worker syndrome….related cocnepts that need mapping and a more cohesive approach?

Minding the Workplace

image courtesy of free.clipartof.com

In 2012 I proposed a type of work abuse that fits somewhere between workplace bullying and workplace mobbing. I called it “puppet master” bullying and described it as a form of “multiple-aggressor abuse at work that may stand at the fault lines between common conceptions of bullying and mobbing.” Here’s more:

In these situations, a chief aggressor’s power and influence over a group of subordinates may be sufficient to enlist their participation in mistreating a target, creating what looks and feels like a mob. For example, if the aggressor is a mid-level manager, he may recruit HR to help out with the dirty work and encourage the target’s peers to shun or bully her.

Even in cases of peer bullying, one aggressor can use intimidation and persuasion to turn others against a peer-level target.

One of the key indicators of puppet master bullying, all too infrequently realized, is…

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