A recent blog piece by psychologist Kenneth Pope explaining how reports of torture can be easily denied, discounted, and dismissed strongly resonated with my understanding of the dynamics of bullying and abuse at work. I thought it worth sharing and discussing with readers here.
Three cognitive strategies
Dr. Pope identifies “three common cognitive strategies for denying, discounting, dismissing, or distorting instances of torture and for turning away from effective steps to stop it and hold those responsible accountable”:
First, “reflexively dismissing all evidence as questionable, incomplete, misleading, false, or in some other way inadequate.”
Second, “using euphemism, abstraction, and other linguistic transformations” to hide the abuse.
Third, by “turning away: ‘I’m not involved,’ ‘There is nothing I can do about it,’ ‘I have no authority, jurisdiction, power, or influence,’ ‘This is no concern of mine,’ etc.”
Applied to workplace bullying
I quickly thought of workplace bullying when I read this blog post.
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