Valerie Braithwaite - ANU - Support from the top down – unlikely to be effective?


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Valerie Braithwaite delivered the presentation at 2014 Workplace Bullying Conference.

The Workplace Bullying Conference 2014 focused on the effects of the legislative changes to date and on implementing practical policies and programs for bullying prevention.

For more information about the event, please visit:

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Valerie Braithwaite - ANU - Support from the top down – unlikely to be effective?

  1. 1. Shame Management and Workplace Bullying Valerie Braithwaite
  2. 2. Societal values and norms eg Triandis’ horizontal and vertical individualism and collectivism Organizational culture eg psychosocial safety climate, regulatory authoritarianism, trust, RST safe space Local work culture eg role ambiguity, stressful demands, poor supervision, strategic bullying, workgroup identity, social support Interpersonal relations eg conflict escalation, affect, shame-rage spirals Individual characteristics (personality and coping responses) eg “They had it coming” response, predatory bullying, resilience, empathy 2 Bullying and Victimization relate to:
  3. 3. Prevention Plan • Many points of leverage for prevention • Interactions among leverage points • Understanding context is critical • Diagnostics to discover which points of entry suit context • Differentiating transitory, superficial-persistent, and entrenched problems • How much broadening, lengthening and deepening is required • Know prevention is the best cure, but have backup processes 3
  4. 4. Define bullying as repeated negative and harmful behaviour that creates a power differential between perpetrator and victim Legal need to objectify, build a shared understanding of what is and is not bullying When it happens, subjectivity and interpretation within context is the way it is Majority involved in neither bullying nor victimization Bullying and victimization correlate highly (eg in Crime Survey r = .66) 4
  5. 5. In the past year, how often has this happened at work? Was I treated this way? (N = 1196) Have I treated others this way? (N = 1168) A few times Some -times Often A few times Some -times Often Making inappropriate jokes 31 8 3 24 4 2 Teasing 33 10 4 32 7 3 Freezing out/ignoring/ excluding 24 8 4 19 4 1 Destructive innuendo and sarcasm 25 7 4 20 3 2 Unjustified criticism of work 28 11 3 16 5 1 Attempts to humiliate in front of co-workers 23 10 2 10 4 1 Unreasonable pressure to produce work 24 9 8 10 1 1 Shifting of goal posts without telling 26 8 5 8 1 .5 Constant undervaluing of efforts 21 9 6 10 2 .5 Attempts to belittle work 19 8 3 10 3 1 Intimidatory use of discipline procedures 13 5 2 5 1 1 Verbal threats 12 4 2 6 1 1 Removal of areas of responsibility without consultation 14 4 2 4 .5 .5 Attempts to demoralize as a person 13 6 2 4 1 .5 Unreasonable refusal of applications for leave, training, promotion 10 3 3 1 .5 .5 Physical threats 5 2 1 1 .5 .5 Threat to property 3 1 1 1 0 .5 Table 1: Percentages of Australian respondents with experience of bullying in the last 12 months: Attitudes to Crime Survey, 2003
  6. 6. Work context: Feel less competent than others, less valued, less secure, and less in control of work activity Assault on our ethical identity – our view of self as a competent person and a good person (Nathan Harris) is under siege and we feel shame. We are not living up to our or others’ expectations. Feeling shame is socially adaptive. How we manage shame is the critical issue (Ahmed) 6 Shame connections
  7. 7. Shame Management: Acknowledgment and Displacement Pride Management: Narcissistic Pride and Humble Pride 7
  8. 8. Depends on person Depends on context Provision of safe space to facilitate shame acknowledgment, learning and create a positive future 8 What affects shame and pride management ?
  9. 9. Anti-bullying policies recognizing multiple causation No blame approach No stigmatizing or scapegoating 9
  10. 10. 10
  11. 11. Courtesy of Neithan Harris Court Family Group Conference Family Support Meeting Deliberation over Needs and Resources
  12. 12. Self-regulation Networked regulation Networked regulation plus Networked regulation plus-plus Network partner Network partner Network partner Network partner Network partner Network partner Network partner Network partner Network partner Network partner Network partner Network partner J. Braithwaite, Responsive Regulation and Developing Economies, World Development, 34, 2006, 884-898.
  13. 13. References Ahmed, Eliza (1999) Shame management and bullying, PhD Thesis, ANU Harris, Nathan (2000) Shaming and shame: an empirical analysis, PhD Thesis, ANU Ahmed, E. & Braithwaite, J. (2011) Shame, pride and workplace bullying, in S. Karstedt, I. Loader and H Strang (eds), Emotions, Crime and Justice, Oxford: Hart Publishing Ahmed, E. & Braithwaite, V. (2012) Learning to manage shame in school bullying: Lessons for restorative justice interventions. Critical Criminology, Special Issue on Restorative Justice: Unraveling the Mystery, 20(1), 79-97. Ahmed, E. & Braithwaite, V. (2006) Forgiveness, reconciliation and shame: Three key variables in reducing school bullying, Journal of Social Issues, 62, 347-370. Ahmed, Eliza, Harris, Nathan, Braithwaite, John and Braithwaite, Valerie (2001) Shame management through reintegration. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Braithwaite, J., Ahmed, E. & Braithwaite, V. (2006) Shame, restorative justice and crime. In F.Cullen, J. Wright & K. Belvins (Eds), Taking Stock: The Status of Criminological Theory, Advances in Criminological Theory, 15. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Press (pp. 397-417). Braithwaite, J., Braithwaite, V. & Ahmed, E. (2006) Reintegrative shaming. In S. Henry & M. Lanier (Eds), The Essential Criminology Reader. Cambridge: Westview Press (pp. 286-295). Braithwaite, V. (2013) A multipronged approach to the regulation of workplace bullying Braithwaite, V., Ahmed, E., Morrison, B. & Reinhart, M. (2003). Researching prospects for restorative justice practice in schools: The Life at School Survey 1996-1999. In L. Walgrove (Ed.), Repositioning restorative justice: Restorative justice, criminal justice and social context. Cullompton, UK: Willan Publishing (pp. 165-185). Braithwaite, V., Ahmed, E. & Braithwaite, J. (2008) Workplace bullying and victimization: the influence of organizational context, shame and pride. International Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 12(2), 71-94. Day, Carla (2007) The effects of rules and principle-based strategies on employee compliance with organizational codes, PhD Thesis, ANU Homel, Jacqueline (2009) Pathways from school bullying to adult aggression: A longitudinal study, PhD Thesis, ANU Shin, Helene (2006) Institutional safe space and shame management in workplace bullying, PhD Thesis, ANU 13