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如何遏制职场暴力

Eleanor Bloxham 2013年04月26日

职场上的排挤、欺凌和敌对会严重影响创造力。而这种情形在许多公司内普遍存在。如何遏制职场暴力?承认问题是第一步,文化建设则是关键。

    正如某些物种和环境一样,有的人在有害的氛围内会比其他人更容易受到伤害。心理学家、作家伊莱恩•阿伦曾描写过高度敏感的人群。他们可以给职场带来巨大的好处,但对于职场中的卑鄙行径或超负荷感受来说,他们的承受力却非常低。

    许多公司的董事会已经清醒地意识到了公司文化的重要性(有的董事会将公司文化作为监管职责的首要任务之一),但也有许多公司从来没有考虑过这个问题——或者只是偶尔在他们的脑海中闪现,比如在进行并购之前和并购过程中,需要对两家公司文化进行融合时。

    职场欺凌通常被视为一对一事件。而达夫认为,将职场欺凌的责任归因于个人所产生的问题在于,公司或其管理团队和董事会可以逃脱责任。

    管理者们对于职场欺凌的说法可能非常熟悉,但对于达夫及其合著者伦恩•斯伯里创造的“围攻”这个词,人们却知之甚少。达夫说:“职场围攻是一个群体对某一名同事不分性别的骚扰。”围攻的目的是将一个人赶出某个部门或更大的组织,而所采取的方式通常是迫使其被解雇、休病假或辞职。不论围攻的目的是否达成,“这种通常情况下持续时间较长的、极具创伤性的经历”会使被围攻者蒙受屈辱,遭到弃用,“并会在经济、职业、健康和社会心理等方面造成巨大损失,”达夫说道。

    虽然职场围攻极少被人提及,但这种现象却非常普遍。你或许亲身见证或经历过一些最常见的围攻:过度批评、人身攻击或贬低;传播未能得到纠正的虚假信息;来自一个交流圈的孤立或排挤等。

    《今日秀》(Today)节目主持安•克莉的遭遇便是一个典型的职场围攻案例——而这种事件能进入公众视野实属罕见。据《纽约时报》(New York Times)报道,“片场普遍存在的卑劣行径”,“搭档马特•劳尔的日益冷淡”,无礼的同事,羞辱性的滑稽动作,以及执行制片人吉姆•贝尔的恶毒言语,都是造成克莉创伤性经历的罪魁祸首。“克莉感觉,那些男人们在《今日秀》幕后形成的俱乐部般的氛围,从一开始就在伤害着她。她曾对自己的朋友们说,最后几个月简直是在用‘专业的’手法对我进行折磨。”

    达夫认为:“职场围攻非常具有破坏性,因为很少有比社会排斥或排挤更严重的伤害。人们做出这种行为时,通常都以围攻对象不需要知道为借口,所以看起来一切都很正常。”然而事实却恰恰相反。遭到围攻的对象正在被团队抛弃。

    更严重的是,其他同事虽然并未与作恶者同流合污,但为了避免自己成为下一个目标,他们也可能会对被围攻对象敬而远之。(在裁员状况下,被裁撤的员工也可能经历这样的状况。)而这只会进一步加剧被围攻对象孤立无援的困境。

    Just as with certain species and the environment, some people are more vulnerable to toxic atmospheres than others. Pyschologist and author Elaine Aron has written powerfully about highly sensitive people, who can provide huge benefits to a workplace but have extra-low tolerance for meanness or sensory overload.

    While some boards of directors are acutely aware of the importance of corporate culture (some rank it in the top few categories of their oversight responsibility), some never consider the issue at all -- or only sporadically, like before and during a merger when two company cultures combine.

    Bullying in workplaces is often viewed as a one-on-one event. But the problem with placing the blame on just one individual is it that it lets organizations, their management teams, and boards off the hook, says Duffy.

    While managers are familiar with the idea of bullying, the concept of "mobbing," a term coined by Duffy and her co-author Len Sperry, is less understood. "Workplace mobbing," Duffy says, is "nonsexual harassment of a coworker by a group." The purpose is to remove the individual from a particular unit or from the larger organization, which may occur through termination, medical leave, or quitting. Whether or not the group is successful in removing the individual, "this typically protracted traumatizing experience" often results in humiliation and degradation "with significant financial, career, health, and psychosocial losses," Duffy says.

    Although it's not often discussed, workplace mobbing is common. You've probably witnessed or experienced some of the common attributes of mobbing yourself: excessive criticism, personal attacks, or devaluing; the spreading of false information that doesn't get corrected; isolation or removal from communication loops.

    What happened to Ann Curry at the Today show is a classic case of mobbing -- and it's rare to have such a public view. "General meanness on the set," "the growing indifference of her co-host Matt Lauer," disrespectful co-workers, humiliating antics, and the cruelty of Jim Bell, her executive producer, who himself has since been booted to another role, all contributed to Curry's traumatic experience, the New York Times reported. "Curry felt that the boys' club atmosphere behind the scenes at Today undermined her from the start, and she told friends that her final months were a form of professional torture."

    "Mobbing is devastating," Duffy says, because there are "few more basic injuries than social exclusion or ostracism. The behaviors are often done under the pretense the individual doesn't need to know, so it looks like business as usual." But the opposite is the case. The individual is being shunned.

    To add insult to injury, other coworkers who may be distinct from the perpetrators may also distance themselves because they don't want to be the next target. (This can also happen in layoff situations to individuals who are being let go.) This just adds to the level of isolation targeted individuals feel.

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