Vulnerable selves, organizing others: New approaches to understanding bullying and conflict

Lead Research Organisation: Birkbeck College
Department Name: Organisational Psychology


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Title Seminar recordings and website 
Description A repository where recordings of all seminars are placed - links to YouTube in place. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact Dissemination resulted in multiple requests for information, including two international PhD students. 
Description The Seminars investigated bullying from outside the confines of measurement, operational definition and incidence. Ego Psychology from 1950s America influences most work on the self and the individual, and holds that the human subject is unitary. This has produced a rather unsatisfactory state of play, because the way the self is conceptualised and researched is seen as unproblematic.

An alternative perspective views the conscious ego and unconscious desire as radically divided. Lacan, for example, considered this perpetual and unconscious fragmentation of the self as Freud's most important contribution.

Applied to bullying, this approach divides the human subject into two parts: the self and the Other, the Other exerting a disciplinary (un)conscious force on the self. Bullying is located in the space between the self and the Other, rather than between two individuals who more or less neatly fit the descriptions 'victim' and 'bully'. One half of ourselves bullies the other half. So when the Other places a demand on us, we may dislike it, but we also gain some pleasures from fulfilling what the Other demands of us, even if this pleasure is suppressed and unconscious. In other words, bullying can be a transaction which serves both sides, and although the idea of complicity is heretical to some, it may shed useful light on fundamental questions which remain unanswered, like how the same act can be experienced as bullying one minute, and harmless the next.
Exploitation Route The awareness that has been raised by these alternative views on a series of complex phenomena can be applied to all organizational groups and contexts.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmace

Description The main outcome of the series is that it has been used in a previously under-expolred context. Vulnerable Selves, Discipling Others led directly to the launch of a new research initiative in South-East Asia to understand workplace bullying. For the first time, ASEAN workplaces have participates in a potentially groundbreaking study investigating antecedents and prevalence rates of bullying.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Education,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Other
Impact Types Societal

Description Vulnerable Selves, Disciplining Others leads to South-East Asia Collaboration 
Organisation Chulalongkorn University
Department SASIN, Graduate Institute of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
Country Thailand 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Vulnerable Selves, Discipling Others set up a new research initiative in South-East Asia to understand workplace bullying. For the first time, ASEAN workplaces have participates in a potentially groundbreaking study investigating antecedents and prevalence rates of bullying. We conibuted by designing the survey and briefing on theoretical dimensions.
Collaborator Contribution Fieldwork in South-East Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and The Philippines.
Impact Conference Paper at IAWBH Conference in Milan, Italy, 2014
Start Year 2012
Description Staff Seminars Anti-Bullying Week 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A popular group that due to it's success is no taking place yearly - raises a lot of questions and stimulates learning of self and other

More use of anti-bullying policies and advisors
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014