Useful as Guy Guinan’s article is on the legal aspects of bullying, it is misleading to state that upward discrimination is referred to as ‘mobbing’ (Legal, Personnel Today, 13 September).
Mobbing is a term that has been widely used for many years in mainland Europe both as a synonym for bullying in general, and in referring to what Guinan calls ‘pack behaviour’.
Researchers in Germany have found that, rather than being the victims, supervisors or people in authority are often actively involved in mobbing behaviour. This reflects similar patterns in the UK.
Other surveys suggest that upward bullying accounts for about 10% of reported incidents, which is lower than peer bullying and mobbing.
A more recent development in new EU member countries is the idea of ‘bossing’, which refers to what are deemed to be unacceptably authoritarian management styles – a relic of the totalitarian political regimes.
While previously tolerated by older staff, younger and often better educated workers expect a more enlightened approach and consider the old soviet-style approach a form of harassment.
Business psychologist & HR consultant, Valley Consulting