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Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies - ICOS pres.

When Debate, Discourse, and Exchange Go Bad: Bullying and Mobbing in the Academic Workplace

Loraleigh Keashly, Wayne State University

Bullying is “rife” on campus. Academe is a “culture of cruelty”. Academics are “mean and nasty”. Really??? In this presentation, we will test the veracity of these characterizations through an examination of the global research literature on bullying and mobbing in the academic workplace. Specifically, we will explore the unique features of 1) academe (academic freedom, shared governance) and the nature of the university as a “workplace” and 2) faculty as “ workers” as well as 3) the broader social, political and economic context for how they shape the prevalence, nature, dynamics, impact of, and response to bullying and mobbing. Key insights include the status-based nature of bullying, our colleagues, the public, and the state as powerful actors, and the critical influence of culturally shaped behavioral norms in defining what is and is not bullying, who should be involved in assessing and addressing bullying, and some practical strategies for amelioration.
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