I didn't write this, but it just showed up in my email box, more than 2 months after it was posted so I figured I'd use it as the lead-in for this topic.
John says: November 2, 2010 at 7:37 pm
Organized Mobbing and Organizational Reprisals:
Mobbing was first described by Heinz Leyman in Sweden in the early 1980′s. Kenneth Westues reported in At the Mercy of Mob as, “an impassioned, collective campaign by co-workers to exclude, punish, and humiliate a targeted worker”. The behaviour generally include social conflicts such as defaming a person, isolating them, spreading rumors leading to major conflicts, such as preventing employment, lack of promotion and even threats of physical violence. It may be deliberately coordinated, or may develop through the influence of a copycat atmosphere in the workplace. Ramage explains that its often insidious and hard to detect (1).
There are various forms of bullying. One of them is organized mobbing whereby members of an organization team up against an individual who dare to challenge wrongdoing. Sometimes sham peer review is used to destroy the medical career with improper motive.(2) Whistleblowers are most often subjected to organizational reprisals and various research has replicated these finding that its still hazardous to speak up.(3). A number of NHS staff have faced dire consequences because of whistleblowing which is , in fact, their professional obligations. Sadly they are perceived as troublemakers rather than a solution. Sometimes they are accused of inappropriate behaviour, misconduct and even mental illness (4,5). Martin & Rifkin clearly highlighted their concerns about managers saying ‘managers often appear to be deeply threatened by whistleblowers, who are subject to severe reprisals, including ostracism, petty harassment, threats, punitive transfers, referral to psychiatrists, formal reprimands, demotion, and dismissal. Management’s response, when perceived as excessive, can generate sympathy for the whistleblower. Many observers see an injustice when a lone individual reports a problem that needs fixing or investigation and management responds with a massive attack on the credibility, working conditions, and livelihood of the individual’ (6).
Normally management justifies such official actions by claiming that the employee is a “difficult personality,” incompetent, inadequately trained, or has made some serious error. It is not unusual for an outspoken employee’s file to be scrutinized and old complaints or allegations pulled out – sometimes from many years earlier – and used to justify actions’.(6). Coull (2004) believes ‘many whistleblowers find that their career, physical health, and mental health all suffer’ and sometimes ‘false allegations of sexual impropriety, financial irregularities, drug abuse, or other criminal activity can be made against the whistleblower’.(7). Sadly, at times, whistleblowers are reported to police and subsequently the CPS press criminal charges despite having no clear charging criteria for whistleblowers. This is contrary to the Government pledge to provide ‘ROBUST NEW SAFEGUARDS FOR NHS WHISTLEBLOWERS’ as can be seen in the following links,
1.Price.M: Campaign on bullying needed with rise of mobbing. Hospital Dr. 29
2. Huntoon. L.R. The psychology of sham peer review. Journal of American and Surgeons. Vol 12, number 1, 2007
3.BMJ: Changing the face of whistleblowing. 2009; 338:b2090 doi: 10.1136/bmj.b2090 (Published 27 May 2009)
4.Campell.B:The persecution of NHS Whistleblowers. guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 December 2009 10.00 GMT
5.Lakhani.N: NHS is paying millions to gag whistleblowers. The Independent Sunday 1 Nov 2009
6.Martin.b & Rifkin.W: The dynamics of employee dissent: whistleblowers and organizational jiu-jitsu. http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/04por.html
7.Coull.R:studentBMJ 2004;12:45-88 February ISSN 0966-6494