Bullying in the workplace is a reality that is increasingly studied and recognized. However, it may still be difficult to identify bullying where it occursEspecially since this form of harassment does not always have the same characteristics.
The different types of mobbing make this phenomenon sometimes camouflaged or even interpreted as something that is normal. After all, where this form of harassment occurs, there are interests in which what is happening cannot be used in front of a judge, which makes these attacks in all types of work environment adaptable to the circumstances.
However, distinguishing between the different types of bullying is not impossible. In this article we will go through them, but first we will see an example that will serve to recognize the characteristics of this class of harassment.
A story of workplace harassment
Cristóbal he was a worker much appreciated by his company dedicated to tourism, as he effectively responded to any problems that might arise in dealing with customers. He was disciplined, responsible and even worked overtime; just because he liked his job. He was an employee that any businessman would like to have on his team, so he quickly rose through the ranks of his organization to become the area manager of the airport.
He had been in the company for three years and there were no complaints about him for his good professional work, but everything changed for him from the fourth year due to the restructuring his company had undergone, in which the director had changed. Apparently Cristóbal was not to his liking, probably because he barely knew him and hadn’t hired him..
Changes in the company
After his arrival, the new manager accused him of working little, of being a sexist without any basis (for a conflict with an employee who had the manager’s confidence and in which Cristóbal was right) and decided that he had to perform tasks that were not at all productive. In addition, during the fifth year, he decided to place a supervisor hierarchically above him. Needless to say, the supervisor was not competent enough because he did not know how to work in such a company.
It was Cristóbal himself who had to teach him how to do the job efficiently.. The manager’s strategy was to have Cristóbal in charge, which was not necessary as the levels of customer satisfaction in his area of work were the best in the company in all of Spain. The mission was clear: to demotivate Cristóbal so that he voluntarily resigns and thus leaves the company.
At different times, the director accused Cristóbal of creating a bad atmosphere at work without having proof of it. Just to give reason to his trusted men. And besides, he invented lies to discredit his good professional work.
The result was that Cristóbal decided to quit his job due to the psychological damage he had suffered.. As a victim of bullying, he tried to defend himself on several occasions until, due to the emotional exhaustion he had come to with this situation, he gave up continuing in the company.
Mobbing: a reality present in the work environment
The above example is a case of bullying, also known as workplace harassment. A phenomenon that occurs in the workplace, and in which one or more persons systematically and repeatedly exert psychological violence on one or more other people, for an extended period.
stalkers they can be colleagues, superiors or subordinates, And this behavior can affect workers in any type of business.
In addition, in many cases it is a matter of confusing the victim into thinking that she is the culprit for everything that is happening, sometimes happening to question the good judgment of those who suffer from everything. This phenomenon, known as Gaslighting, is very common in cases of domestic violence, but also occurs in workplace harassment. One of its effects is that the victim is paralyzed and anchored in doubts, which allows to continue with blatant injustices.
The effects of harassment
Assault in the workplace can lead to serious psychological problems in the victim (s) (for example, anxiety, depression, stress), lack of motivation at work, disruption in the performance of their tasks and, in the process. Most of the time, it damages his reputation. The longer this situation persists, the worst is the discomfort generated.
Types of mobbing
Moral harassment can be classified in two ways: according to the hierarchical position or according to the target. What are these types of workplace harassment? Here is a summary:
1. Harassment at work according to the hierarchical position
Depending on the hierarchical position, mobbing can be:
1.1. Horizontal harassment
This kind of harassment it is characterized by the fact that the harasser and the victim are at the same hierarchical rank. In other words, it often happens among coworkers and the psychological repercussions on the victim can be devastating.
The causes of this type of harassment at work can be many and varied, although the most common are: forcing a worker to comply with certain rules, out of enmity, to attack the weakest, by disagreements with the victim, or by lack of work and boredom.
1.2. Vertical mobbing
Vertical workplace harassment takes its name from the fact that the stalker is at a higher level than the victim or at a lower level than the victim. Therefore, there are two types of vertical mobbing: up and down.
- Ascending mobbing: Occurs when an employee of a higher hierarchical level is attacked by one or more of his subordinates.
- Mobbing or working: Occurs when an employee of a lower hierarchical level is the victim of psychological harassment on the part of one or more employees occupying managerial positions in the hierarchy of the company. As we saw in Christopher’s case, this can be implemented as part of a business strategy to get the harassed worker to leave the company.
2. Harassment at work according to the objective
Depending on the goals the bully intends to achieve with bullying, it can be categorized as:
2.1. Strategic lobby
This is a type of top-down or “institutional” harassment.. It is characterized by the fact that moral harassment is part of the company’s strategy and that the objective is generally that the harassed persons voluntarily terminate their contract. In this way, the company does not have to pay the compensation due to it for unfair dismissal.
2.2. Executive or management mobbing
This kind of harassment it is carried out by the management of the organization, Usually for various reasons: doing without a less submissive worker, reaching situations of labor slavery or terminating a worker who does not meet the boss’s expectations (for example, being overqualified or leaving him in the spotlight) .
Additionally, this type of harassment can be done to maximize business productivity out of fear, using repeated threats of dismissal for failure to meet work goals.
2.3. Perverted mobbing
Perverse harassment at work refers to a type of bullying that has no work objective, but whose causes lie in the manipulative personality and stalker of the stalker. This is a very harmful type of moral harassment because the causes of the harassment cannot be resolved by implementing other work dynamics as long as the harassed person remains in the organization or is not re-educated.
This type of stalker usually performs the harassment in front of the victim, without a witness. He is very attractive and quickly gains the trust of others. It is common for perverse mobbing to be horizontal or bottom-up mobbing.
2.4. disciplinary mobbing
This type of harassment is used so that the harassed person understands that he must “get into the mold”, Because if she doesn’t, she will be punished. But with this type of harassment not only instills fear in the victims, but also warns other colleagues of what might happen to them to do so, creating a work environment in which no one dares to take the opposite to the superior.
It is also used against people who have a lot of sick leave, pregnant women and anyone who reports fraud from the institution (for example, the accountant who presents bribes by the company).
- Piñuel, I. (2003). Mobbing: How to survive psychological harassment at work. Ed. Reading point. Madrid.