Understanding the Dynamics of Workplace Bullying

One day course: Fri 26 April 2019, 10:00 – 16:30

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Facilitator

Mary O’Neill

Who is it aimed at?

People who work with individuals who perceive themselves as being bullied in the workplace. HR professionals, counsellors, managers.

Course Outline

The modern workplace is stressful; there are limited resources and finances not to mention deadlines, but sometimes the most stressful aspect of work is with our colleagues. Workplace bullying (WPB) is an abusive process that sadly is too common in the modern workplace. It is often misunderstood, misidentified and even ignored. Some may dismiss it as “banter” and targets of bullying are told they are too sensitive, or they lack a sense of humour. The reality is that WPB has a severe impact on the mental and physical health of individuals caught up in the dynamic. Many can be traumatized to the extent they have difficulty returning to work and careers can be damaged. Employers might struggle to tackle the problem because they have difficulty working with the “he said -she said” nature of the dynamic.

The workshop will use up to date data drawn from research presented at the recent International Association for Workplace Bullying and Harassment Conference (Bordeaux, France, 2018) and will also include the research of O’Neill and Borland, 2018. It is our premise that the process of bullying is predicated on a need for those involved to discount the self, others and the situation. This process leads to passivity and grandiosity as well as a familiar pattern of games which if left unchecked can result in serious consequences for health and also have serious impact on the organization in terms of reputation and profitability.

Aims

The aim of the workshop is to give participants an understanding of the impact an abrasive workplace environment can have on the mental health of those affected by this toxic dynamic.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will learn:

  • What is workplace Bullying? Using the Negative Acts Questionnaire (NAQ) of Einarsen et al 2009, participants will learn the negative acts that can identify bullying.
  • Workplace Bullying as a Game: The need for discounting to enable the bullying dynamic. Participants will be introduced to several models to explore the nature of the Game.
  • The Impact of Bullying on the individual in terms of mental health.
  • How do targets of bullying feel about themselves and what do they believe about themselves?
  • How might this impact an organization in terms of productivity and creativity?
  • How to help? Working with clients who present with workplace bullying in the counselling room – what to say and what not to say?

Course Structure

The workshop will be divided into two distinct components:

  • Identifying Workplace bullying and examining the bullying dynamic
  • How might we alleviate the problem of workplace bullying

The morning session will focus on identifying workplace bullying through examination of the NAQ (provided by M O’Neill).

This is followed by an exploration of the dynamic and the need for discount to propagate workplace bullying. This will focus on the work of O’Neill and Borland (2018) and will include analysis of material presented in this paper: e.g. transcript quotes.

The afternoon session will focus on alleviating the problem. We will look at a typical individual case study (based on actual accounts).

We will consider how organizations might help. The work of Laura Crawshaw can be presented here; the process of Boss Whispering, a coaching process that effectively tackles the process of discounting within organizations and has some success in limiting workplace bulling.

We will also explore how the counsellor can work with the issue of workplace bullying in the therapy room.

Facilitator’s Biography

Mary O’Neill is a BACP accredited counsellor and an EMDR accredited practitioner. She developed an interest in Workplace bullying during her time as a Workplace counsellor in West Lothian. It was the subject of her MSc thesis in 2015 (MSc in TA counselling for QMU, Edinburgh).

She continued her research in collaboration with Dr. Denise Borland with an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis of Workplace bullying in the UK (see below)

She is a member of the International Association for Workplace Bullying and Harassment (IAWBH)an international body that researches workplace bullying with a view to eliminating it from the modern workplace.

She runs a private counselling practice (Amaranth Counselling) in Cockenzie, East Lothian, specializing in the trauma associated with Workplace Bullying and Harassment.

Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Experiences of 4 Individuals reporting Exposure to Workplace Bullying in the UK: Mary O’Neill and Denise Borland, 2018 IJTARP 9(1) p. 23-42

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