The only way to reasonably challenge Alyce LaViolette is to keep the critique focused on what she has actually said and done. Dehumanizing and demonizing her does more to dehumanize those who engage in the attacks. I have recently been compelled to confront my own role in her public lynching.
Just as Phil Zimbardo talks about the slippery slope of evil that begins with the subject mindlessly taking the first step toward aggression through a seemingly minor action, when mobbing begins, workers are not initially encouraged to be cruel to the targeted worker.
Interpersonal aggression is indeed a serious problem, and any form of aggression in our workplaces, schools and other organizations merits attention and remedies. But how we view the problem will shape how we address it.
Mobbing is widely understood in Europe as a form of collective aggression that profoundly impacts a targeted worker's health and productivity, but less known in the U.S. where "bullying" is a more common explanation for interpersonal workplace aggression.
The character assassination of Ms. Bialek which Mr. Cain has commenced demonstrates that anyone who speaks out against someone who has abused their authority or trust, will face similar attacks that go beyond mere credibility assessment.
There are also some very disturbing elements to New Jersey's new anti-bullying law that may well empower bullies and legitimate new forms of exclusion and social aggression by way of dehumanizing people with labels.
One year ago this week, Omar Thornton, a delivery truck driver, methodically shot and killed eight of his co-workers, wounded several others, then killed himself. Was he bullied in the workplace, mobbed to the point of mass murder?