不过，她也表示，与公司主流截然不同的群体更有可能成为被围攻的对象。通常情况下，最出类拔萃的人往往会成为目标。有时候，人们会攻击有不同交流风格（直接 vs. 间接）的人，或经常直言不讳，敢于说出问题的人。而受害者可能具有不同性取向、性别、种族或国家背景。此外，她还表示，高敏感性也是一种差异。
Does mobbing tend to get directed at certain kinds of individuals? Duffy says that, so far, findings on this are all over the map, and that it appears any personality profile can be mobbed.
But groups are more likely to mob those who are different from the organization's norm, she says, and often, the best and brightest are targeted. Sometimes, the person attacked has a different communication style (direct vs. indirect) compared to others or is outspoken and willing to call out a problem. The person may have a different sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, or national background from the others in the group. High sensitivity would be another a difference, she says.
What can managers and coworkers do to prevent mobbing? The first step, Duffy says, is to recognize that mobbing always involves the organization's consent, tacitly or explicity. Leadership and individuals must promote civility and address any negative communication loops in the organization. Caring environments, where individuals pay attention to the quality of communication, prevent mobbing, she says.
Organizations can also promote a no-gossip culture. Some firms have instituted no-gossip rules, Duffy says, and ask employees to focus instead on their company's mission, tasks, and goals when they communicate with each other. Duffy suggests companies develop anti-mobbing and bullying policies, and educate managers and staff on an ongoing basis on these issues.
Based on my experience, mobbing doesn't just occur in the corporate trenches. Adults in their 60s engage in mobbing in some boardrooms, where a particularly bright, outspoken
director may be ostracized or pushed off the board. And awareness is low. At all levels, organizations need to pay attention to indicators like turnover of highly productive and creative people.
But more employees are suing for emotional abuse, bullying, and mobbing, these days, Duffy says. Some are winning large awards. Meredith Boucher sued Wal-Mart (WMT) for emotional abuse and won a $1.5 million verdict in court last year.
"Workplaces should be emotionally safe places," Duffy says. "It's a basic worker's right."
Eleanor Bloxham is CEO of The Value Alliance and Corporate Governance Alliance (http://thevaluealliance.com/), a board advisory firm.