Friday, September 14, 2012


I do my dastardly deeds - no one says a thing, must be ok.

Bystanders not innocent in bullying at:

By Campus Review
3rd September, 2012

Related articles:
1. CIT bullying policies failed: WorkSafe

We are all part of the bullying problem in a workplace environment, new
research shows. A study by Murdoch and Edith Cowan universities sheds light
on the roles bystanders play in workplace bullying.

To better understand how co-workers can impact conflict, Dr Megan Paull of
Murdoch school of business and her team created 13 “types” – ranging from
the aggressive instigating bystander to the submitting bystander, who ends
up becoming a substitute for the victim.

Middle spectrum types include the manipulating bystander, abdicating
bystander, defending bystander and sympathising bystander.

Paull said bystanders are not incidental, but are an integral part of the
context of bullying, with some siding with the bully or victim, either
actively or passively. “People don’t always appreciate the impact of their
actions, or inactions. For example, a social reaction to walking into a room
where colleagues are laughing is to laugh along without thinking. But you
could be adding fuel to someone’s embarrassment,” she said.

Establishing context was important, but the issue was complex, Paull said,
noting competition and rivalry were natural in work relationships. She also
cautioned that what might appear as bullying to an outsider could be fine
with the target of the act. “It’s not cut and dried, but we are trying to
raise awareness and make organisations and individuals aware of the
responsibilities they have to respect and appreciate the subtleties of human
relationships and psychological well-being,” Paull said.

“Awareness can lead managers and staff to develop effective strategies for
diffusing potential situations. Studies have shown that people who recognise
their roles, and have the tools to act, can make a difference.”


  1. Posted with permission:
    One Response to “Bystanders not innocent in bullying”
    Mark Drummond, on September 4th, 2012 at 7:50 pm Said:

    Thank you for reporting this incredibly significant research on issues of
    bullying and related maladministration, workplace dishonesty, covering up
    wrongdoing etc. that costs the Australian economy billions of dollars each
    year, and above all severely damages and sometimes destroys the lives of
    direct victims of bullying, maladministration, dishonesty in the workplace
    etc., and also the indirect victims in terms of families, friends and

    In my nearly 28 years of adult life, 14 were in the Australian Defence
    Force, and 11 were at the Canberra Institute of Technology, so most of my
    working life has been in too [sic] significantly sized organisations which
    have received significant levels of media scrutiny over the past few years
    for their bullying practices and cultures, including Jennifer Bennett’s 16
    April 2012 Campus Review article ‘CIT bullying policies failed: WorkSafe’.

    In the Defence Forces there were people who knew of and joked about gang
    rapes but never seemed to feel a need to report these heinous crimes in
    support of victims and justice. I look back and feel I could have done more.
    At the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) I reported to management that
    two students told me they were groped or indecently assaulted by a drunk
    teacher at an extremely high profile CIT work related conference, but I
    later discovered that some at CIT were under an order to erase or otherwise
    not listen to my phone messages or receive my emails in which I tried to
    report these matters. I tried to be something more than a bystander but
    elaborate systems of wilful blindness were put in place to thwart my efforts
    to do the right thing in reporting serious and possibly criminal wrongdoing
    as I thought was my job as a professional teacher and public servant.

    All victims of workplace bullying can take great heart from this research by
    Dr Paull and her team and its success in classifying and effectively
    exposing for all to see the different types of bystander bullying and
    bullies, and I’d love to see a feature length follow up on Dr Paull’s work
    in the Campus Review some time soon.

  2. The 'I'm alright Jack' attitude of some people in the CIT workplace particularly disgusts me - a lot of the bullying that has gone on there could have been nipped in the bud if people called it for what it was and actively stood up for their colleagues ... in my case, people could have let the Education Manager know that they were not happy with my dismissal and they found it disgusting (instead of just saying it to me privately)... it was expressed to me that someone who was a colleague and a vital part of the place for 5 years came in one day and packed her desk up without so much as a goodbye (from management) Just shows the ethical lack of back bone of the two ed managers involved as well as the centre director. ALso shows a cowardice and 'I m all right Jack' attitude of the permanent and other casual employees. Hope someone treats you 3 in such a manner one day.