on August 8, 1999
This is one of two excellent new books dedicated to the memory of Heinz Leymann, a Swedish psychologist who died in January 1999, after having spearheaded the greatest advance of the past twenty years in the study of work. The other book, also available from amazon, is entitled Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, by Noa Davenport, Ruth Distler Schwartz, and Gail Pursell Elliott. The books are alike in honoring Leymann's memory in the best possible way: by extending his research and presenting the results in a way that will be of enormous practical benefit to both employers and employees. Leymann's breakthrough was against the background of current preoccupations on sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, and the other officially recognized bases of unfair treatment in the workplace. Some argue now for expanding the list of shibboleths to include employees' criminal records and political beliefs as illegal grounds on which to exclude or punish them. Leymann managed to get beyond this current way of thinking, with its fixation on grounds of ill-treatment, and to focus instead on the fact of ill-treatment, whatever the apparent ground. The phenomenon he conceptualized and studied was the humiliation and destruction of an employee by the employer. He called this process mobbing or bullying: intense aggression against an individual by managers or co-workers, aimed at crushing the individual utterly and eliminating him or her from the group. Leymann's conceptualization, which Bullyproof powerfully brings home to American readers, shifts attention from real or imagined reasons for cruelty to cruelty itself. Quoting extensively from first-person accounts, the Namies show that bullying may occur not just because the target is of the wrong sex or race but because the target is talent, successful, or cooperative. They shift attention from some purported defect in the target to the bully's inordinate need to control and dominate--to the point of destroying one who will not submit. Harassment, as used in the subtitle of this book, need not have anything to do with sex. It means picking on or ganging up on somebody, little by little dragging that person down, often for no other reason than that the perpetrators get a kick out of it. Bullying inflicts huge costs on both the target and the organization. It represents a diversion of time and energy away from getting the job done to putting some worker down. It is the substitution of power-mongering and one-upmanship for efficient and productive work. Bullyproof is an engaging mix of compassion and fight. Far from being detached, ivory-tower researchers, the Namies are determined not just to understand the mini-holocausts taking place every day in American workplaces but to prevent them. The splendid cover illustration shows a bullied worker effectively wielding a shield against flames of destruction exhaled from the bully's mouth. This book is for anybody employed anywhere. Even if you yourself are not being bullied now, you probably know somebody who is, and who will thank you a thousand times for the loan of this helpful guide to resistance and mental health. There is practical advice, well grounded in research, on every page. This book is part of the authors' international Campaign against Workplace Bullying, a movement that deserves wide support.
on February 21, 2001
This book provided the one thing I found missing in all the similar books I have read: a valid theoretical explanation of why bullying occurs -- the characteristics and dynamics of both the targets and the bullies. Essentially, bullies and targets (victims of bullies) come in all varieties, except that targets have one quality in common: they foster collaboration. Bullies, in turn, also have one trait in common: they are hierarchial. This leads to the inevitable crash when the bully percieves that the target is "giving away" the very things that the bully wishes to "sell". The driving force behind bulling is the need to control other people. The vulnerability of targets lies in their incomprehension of why anyone would want to control others when they could instead cooperate with them. These mental models are fundamentally incompatible. In addition, bullies are comfortable using aggression to gain control while cooperators are not. Bullies want to crush targets, targets want to "get along" with bullies. This really excellent book explains the basis for the mental models, the dynamics of the interaction between bullies and targets, and offers targets strategies for survival.
on April 9, 1999
This book accomplishes what many of us have tried to do for most of our working lives: articulate why work so often causes suffering and reduces productivity. Usually, we know someone is bothering us at work, but we have troublre articulating exactly what it is. This is especially so when the problem is the boss, and when we seem to feel that the boss has the right to bully us. In this book, bullies will recognize themselves and will learn for the first time what behaviors they should quit imposing on others. Targets and victims of bullies will find out what to do to protect themselves. Ruth and Gary Naimie have taken the giant and original first step of identifying this national problem, analyzing it, and telling us how to cope with and ultimately solve this hurtful and wasteful problem.
on January 29, 2000
This book helped to "fill in the holes" for me. I am a manager who has witnessed innumerable incidents aptly described in this book. There are no "official" guidelines or information available from my employer for addressing this phenomenon...if it doesn't fall within the classical "legal" definition of harassment...many of my peers either ignore the behavior, engage in the behavior or collude with the "system" to perpetuate it. This book and another great book, "Work Abuse: How To Recognize and Survive It" by Judith Wyatt and Chauncey Hare have been invaluable aids in helping me to identify and implement actions that have strengthened my management skills, by encouraging change and authentic healing.
on December 30, 2011
I am a union rep at a not for profit organisation, and never in all my life have I witnessed so much chronic and sustained bullying by so called managers.
I am always having to defend someone in the office due to discrimination, intimidation and bullying. Some Managers always want to discipline and sack someone for minor and trivial comlplaints. I found the book a great sourse of information, and often refer to it when I need to. I have even copied the odd page or two and used as a defence of some poor person who has been made a target/victim for no other reason other then that they are different, or dont belong to 'the clique', or worse of all, they dare to have an opinion.
The book to me has been a great help to try and understand how and why workplace bullying occurs.
An excellent book.