Psychological Warfare: Interoffice Battle

Statistics derived from studies on workspace bullying is staggering.Namie, Christensen, and Phillips (2014) in the 2014 WBI U.S, Workplace Bullying Survey stated 72% of Americans are cognizant of workplace bullying, of which the boss leads. In a similar Australian study, Boddy, Ladyshewsky, and Galvin (2010) reported on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its relation to psychopaths and their presence within an organization. Boddy later spoke at TEDx Talks (2012) describing office bullies as those who repeatedly criticize, humiliate, undermine, intimidate, ridicule and may also blatantly ignore a person at work. 1% of the population are purported psychopaths, given these odds you may reasonably assume a psychopath exists in every major organization (Boddy et al., 2010). Boddy’s TEDx Talk shows consistency in both terminology and definition describing behaviors, tendencies and fall out associated with workplace psychopaths and their victims.

McShane and Von Glinow’s (2015) work provides that an individual’s personality coupled with their values drive behaviors which Boddy in his TEDx Talk (2012) describes as psychopath specifically as hurtful, selfish, cruel, machiavellian, and even parasitic. Workplace bullies are magnets for high morally intense issues who maintain low moral sensitivity (McShane & Von Glinow 2015). High morally sensitive individuals often become victims of bullying and digress to a less than stellar attitude with a tendency towards counterproductive work behavior (CWB) directed at the employer (Boddy, 2012). There is typical fight or flight response to bullying which can include things such as the negative impact on vendor relationships, financial implications and also resignations or involuntary termination (Boddy 2012).

Throughout a strong career in corporate finance with success after success, I eventually had the misfortune to experience the relentless behaviors of a workplace bully and corporate psychopath who was also my boss. Much like Boddy (2012) described would happen, over a period of several months, I experienced condescending micro-management when engaged, was often ignored for prolonged periods, received continual negative remarks, experienced goal post movement, belittlement, and a constant uphill battle to negate falsehoods accusing and directing blame towards me for errors conceived by leaderships’ decisions. After repeated verbal attacks and scrutiny, my confidence broke, motivation was shattered and I experienced an extreme degradation in my health leaving me emotionally scarred.

Before reading a quote by Cynthia Schwalm, a New York City executive, I had a realization that I’d never truly be happy or feel accomplished working in an environment where I couldn’t simply be myself, or as Schwalm (as cited in Organizational behavior, 2015, p.47) refers to it as, “living true”.

Authenticity and being true to one’s self should be paramount regardless of gender, age or ethnicity. Although most corporations have provisions to deal with bullying, given its subjective nature, it remains very difficult to prove and action, which Boddy (2012) refers to in his TEDx Talk as commonly swept under the rug. Understanding and recognizing workplace bullying and corporate psychopathic behavior is half the challenge whilst finding a solution supported by management remains the unsolved portion.

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Credit where it’s due:

Boddy, C.R., Ladyshewsky, R.K.& Galvin, P. J Bus ethics (2010) 97:1. doi: 10.1007/s10551–010–0492–3

Johnhain, (2015). [CC0 Image] Retrieved from URL

McShane, S.L., & Von Glinow, M.A. (2015). Organizational behavior, 7th ed., New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education

Namie, G., Christensen, D., & Phillips, D. (2014). 2014 WBI U.S. Workplace bullying survey. Retrieved from

TEDx Talks (2012, December 3). Bullying and corporate psychopaths at work: Clive Boddy at TEDxHanzeUniversity [YouTube Video File]. Retrieved from

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