Using the Internet to Build an Anti-Workplace Bullying Movement

Excluded Voices Are Lost Opportunities To Prevent Workplace Bullying

In my last post I raised the argument that, at least in the US, workplace bullying isn’t a silent epidemic anymore and has in fact become a “hot topic.”  That’s something to raise our hopes but it certainly doesn’t mean that toxic work environments are a thing of the past or that the public dialog is particularly deep and representative of the issues we need to tackle.  With growing recognition has come a vital opportunity for all of us to join together and make a difference.   Using simplistic “schema” strategies may sell books and newspapers but it doesn’t help the battle to make significant change that can have a true impact.  One need only look at the public schools here in the US to recognize that bullying laws have been in effect in many schools for years and years but the true impact has yet to be felt.  And, most of those laws are now being re-invented and recreated to meet today’s needs.  A lesson we can take from the school bullying campaign is that it’s not enough to grab headlines.  Today’s successful advocacy campaigns need many, many participants with a wide variety of opinions at the helm  working together with changing and evolving leadership roles that encourage and foster  new ideas and growth.  That means an end to “evil HR,” turf battles, and corporate conspiracy theories  in order to let everyone who is dedicated and committed to changing corporate culture have a seat at the table.   The quote below pretty well outlines where I think we currently are.

“The advent of the Internet and other new technologies raises important questions about their effects on civic discourse.  Will these new technologies improve the quality of discussion by enabling different positions to be heard and opening up political processes to previously excluded voices?  Will characteristics of the Internet such as hypertext, and the difficulty of controlling message flow, democratize discussion?  Or will the ability to locate others of like mind, that enables the Internet and Web, be used to promote narrow interest groups and hate groups, and fragment the public, resulting in a narrowing of viewpoints and less understanding all around?” [Communication: Ubiquitous, Complex, Consequential, Chap 1]

[ “Communication: Ubiquitous, Complex, Consequential is a collaborative publication that summarizes the relevance of communication research to four grand challenges in U.S. society: revitalizing our political system, promoting physical and mental health, fostering emerging global organizations, and understanding basic human relationships. To download a PDF of Communication, click on the download icon. PDF Icon Image ]”