Severe Workplace Conflict: The Experience of Mobbing

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Workplace mobbing is a particularly serious phenomenon that is extremely costly to organizations and the health of those targeted. This article reports on a study of self‐identified targets of mobbing, which advances understanding of the way the problem is conceptualized, including associated informal and formal power relationships with organizations. Participants report a number of experiences, such as lengthy investigations and escalation of conflict, that result in an increasingly unbalanced sense of power away from the individual and toward the organization. Revealed is a mismatch between the expected organizational justice processes and support and the actual experience. Findings support a five‐stage process of mobbing, which commences with unresolved conflict and leads ultimately to expulsion from the organization. The study contributes an understanding of a sixth transformational stage that allows the development of personal agency and a rebalanced sense of power. Recommendations of strategic approaches to address the phenomenon of mobbing are discussed.

Keywords: procedural fairness, organizational justice, workplace mobbing, workplace conflict

How to Cite: Shallcross, L. , Ramsay, S. & Barker, M. (2013) “Severe Workplace Conflict: The Experience of Mobbing”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research. 6(3). doi: