I would've NEVER imagined that this negative behavior could be considered as bullying — R Voice

I would've NEVER imagined that this negative behavior could be considered as bullying

Andrea Hayward
Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 943 admin

While working on the THINK Academia Initiative, I read a ton of literature on academic bullying. This included statistics, personal stories, research papers, reports, and other formats. I distinctly remember coming across several examples and thinking to myself - "Oh. I knew this behavior was negative and unpleasant. But I never knew that this was a form of bullying."

And this got me thinking. There must be so many others like me within academia who don't know the different forms in which bullying behavior can manifest. I wanted to help make them more aware. And this led me to start working on a list of acts, behaviors, and communication styles that can be considered as bullying. This is now known as THINK Academia’s list of bullying behaviors.

I encourage you all read through this open list and share it with others in your network. You might have seen some of these examples happening in real life and might not have known at the time, that this is a form of bullying in academia. And that's perfectly fine. It was the same for me. Here are some specific examples that I wasn't prepared for -

  • Undermining, belittling, or ignoring another person’s work, efforts, ideas, or opinions. (An example of Emotional Bullying)
  • Sending passive-aggressive emails or messages (An example of Cyber Bullying)
  • Blocking another person's professional advancement by excluding them from promotions and other new opportunities (An example of Career-Related Bullying)
  • Forcing the person to work longer hours than their contract requires them to or longer hours than they are paid for. (An example of Career-Related Bullying)

If you feel comfortable having a discussion about this, I'd really appreciate hearing which examples came as a surprise to you. Please do visit this link: https://cactusglobal.com/think-academia/forms-of-bullying. And then share your thoughts in the comments.

Comments

  • Gayatri Ramachandran
    Gayatri Ramachandran Member Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

    That was insightful @Andrea Hayward. It fed my inquisitiveness to understand there are types of bullying. The classification makes sense and it would help develop strategies to tackle them differently.

    This post also hit me hard in the sense I just remembered how I had been bullied during my corporate stint as well. "Blocking another person's professional advancement by excluding them from promotions and other new opportunities". This is precisely what I had come face to face with, apart from having been ostracised from the team as a whole with full cooperation from HR which was simply mean and outrageous! This was just 6 months after I had left my first PhD stint where emotional bullying by peers had been equally culpable for my resignation there.

    That experience had already made me mentally strong (to the power of n), so I simply didn't take it lying down here. Neither did I choose to let it happen a second time. I resolved I wasn't going to "resign" to my fate this time. Definitely not! You won't believe me - My outrage went out as a well-planned email with data of my work records; statistically proven, diplomatic, yet explicit about the culprits involved, to the higher authorities in the organisation. There was no way the exploits could be defended nor turned a blind eye to! I was determined to bring it out in the open to ensure no other meritorious employee would ever have to face that kind of a connivance. It did work and justice was meted :). I came to know later (long after I had left the company on account of the project ending), that my retaliation did have positive repercussions on the organisational work culture and ethics. That was a HUGE reassurance and motivation for me, like never before!

    I sincerely hope and wish THINK Academia grows to develop and implement strategies to tackle all bullying types, for academic and non-academic institutions. More so for such individuals out there! I would be more than happy to partner and offer my services/support in this direction. I am with THINK Academia!💪

  • Vivien Kretz
    Vivien Kretz Member Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    Thank you for this beautiful post @Andrea Hayward. Especially the bullet point about passive aggressive emails got me. ✉️ I got so many passive aggressive emails in my life and one time I got one from a previous employer who chose to fire me that made me feel very uncomfortable. I almost consider it as a light form of gaslighting because it makes you question if the email is actually passive aggressive or if you're just exaggerating. I think that 99% of the time when you think you're just exaggerating you are most definitely not. Thank you so much for creating this anti-bullying initiative, you don't even know how much it means to me and how important I think this is.

  • Vivien Kretz
    Vivien Kretz Member Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    I am very sorry that you had to go through that @Gayatri Ramachandran, this should happen to no one. Some people take the fact that it is a competitive field much too far. I am so proud of you for withstanding and also for talking about this openly on R Voice. I know it is not easy but together we can take the steps and make bullying more of a topic and put these people on the spot. Kudos to you.

  • Gayatri Ramachandran
    Gayatri Ramachandran Member Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

    Thanks a lot for your kind words @Vivien Kretz 😍 Those shots of advise on how to prioritise mental health have always been with me ever since, maintaining that track progress and improving on my own track record. I will forever cherish those discussions we have had here about mental health!💓

  • Vivien Kretz
    Vivien Kretz Member Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    Dear @Gayatri Ramachandran , I am so happy to read this. I am happy I could help make mental health a priority for more people, including you. 😊