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9 risk factors involved in mobbing behaviours

When looking at examples of mobbing behaviours a number of factors occur regularly. Because they happen more often they become known as risk factors. To try and deal with mobbing it is important that we look for the risk factors and attempt to stop them from developing into actual problems. Below lists 9 types of risk factors (from Duffy and Sperry, 2012) for workplaces and school environments:
1. Individuals
Targets in the workplace are often conscientious, high achievers and have a calling to work in the field.
Targets in schools are perceived as weak or different, have few friends or are transitioning to new school or group.

2. Group
Conflicts over values, breakdown in group cohesion or a strong in-group and out-group culture.

3. Strategy
Big difference between stated values and actual values that operate in the organisation.

4. Structure
In workplaces having high job stress, work overload, low support from other workers, poor cohesion within the organisation or group, role ambiguity, role conflicts and low job security.
In schools high job strain or stress amongst teachers & other staff as well as job role ambiguity or conflicts.

5. Culture
In workplaces with a high productivity and/or abusive culture.
In schools with high performance culture, sports star/aggressive/violent prone culture.

6. Leadership
Leadership styles that are about self promotion, exploit others for personal gain, self-interested, focused on personal power, poor communication, lack of action against abusive behaviour, grandiose organisational visions or narcissistic.

7. Members
In workplaces requiring unquestioned loyalty to organisation, have weak employee-management relations, weak union involvement, low job security or limited family and peer support systems.
In schools where there is unquestioned allegiance of parents to administration and policy, weak teacher union involvement or limited family and peer support systems.

8. Environment
In workplaces that operate in highly competitive markets or shrinking market share.
In schools with expectations of winning sports teams, high academic achievement or eternally recognised extracurricular groups like music.

9. Stage
Stage of organisation is such that it is reorganising or transitioning or is at the early and late bureaucratic stages.

If any of these are occurring then the risk should be eliminated, reduced or managed. If a number of them are present at the one time then additional caution and action needs to be taken.

Mobbing: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions (2012) by Maureen Duffy and Len Sperry, Oxford University Press (p118)
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