Occupational psychoterror and Mobbing, what do they consist of

Occupational psychoterror and Mobbing, what do they consist of

Are you assigned execution deadlines or unreasonable workloads? Have you been ignored or excluded from various work activities in which you should be a participant? Do you constantly devalue the work you do, as well as your person with comments or even gestures? If you answered yes to any of the questions, you may be a victim of work psychoterror or mobbing, since 2 out of every 3 workers affected by this problem are unaware that they are being affected. It is worth mentioning that there is a big difference between psychological harassment and the extra pressure that an authoritarian boss can submit to his work team to increase quality, productivity or simply to meet the deadlines in a timely manner.

Iñaki Piñuel and Zabala in 2002, directed an investigation about violence in the workplace, called Cisneros barometer (Individual Questionnaire on Psychoterror, Ninguneo, Stigmatization and Rejection in Social Organizations). In the Cisneros II a topography and hierarchy of the most frequent labor harassment behaviors in the “mobbing ”. Too reflects the results concerning statistically significant damage to physical and psychological health among victims of violence in the workplace, So it is a crime that often does not leave visible traces, unless it is progressive deterioration, since it can leave traces on the victim and especially on his health, since it is generally harmful to the “biopsychosocial well-being”.


  • 1 What is mobbing and how does it relate to occupational psychoterror?
  • 2 Characterization of the organizational psychoterrorist and his victims
  • 3 6 Steps to survive work psychoterror

What is mobbing and how does it relate to occupational psychoterror?

The "mobbingIt was defined by Heinz Leymann (1980), it consists of a hostile and unethical communication within the work context, it implies a series of systematic harassment and harassment actions frequently and persistently at least once a week and over a period of time. prolonged (minimum for six months). The whipping can be carried out by one or several individuals, usually against a subject, which, gradually he is being marginalized to a situation of loneliness and prolonged helplessness. The environments in which labor psychoterror is favored is in work environments where there is a constant struggle of employees to maintain their position or in which authoritarian leadership styles predominate.

It is considered a public health problem by the United Nations (UN), is typified by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and we can find it in different criminal codes of some countries, it begins to be recognized by the courts under different aspects, as the damages in the social jurisdiction are channeled as: contract remission, improper dismissals and consideration of work accident, among others.

Occupational psychoterror has as its purpose the psychological deterioration of the person, through intimidation, intimidation, minimization, intellectual and emotional consumption of the victim, in order to eliminate it from the post, from the organization or simply to satisfy the need of the harassers to control and attack; harassers try to take advantage of any organizational opportunity such as bureaucratization, internal reorganization and cost reduction, for example, to unload their frustrations, hostile impulses and psychopathological tendencies; so that the victim voluntarily makes the decision to quit work.

Occupational psychoterror has a higher incidence among temporary or temporary workers than among those who have permanent contracts, usually it usually ends with the departure of the person from the organization, however, other times it has more serious consequences because it can have an impact on health, Among the most frequent symptoms, we can find: Continuous duress stress syndrome (SECC), headaches, insomnia, fear, anxiety, anxiety crisis, as well as chronic stress and fatigue, can lead to depression and end in suicide attempts or consummated suicides, How do the investigations mark?

What is moral harassment in the work context? Marie-France Hirigoyen (1999) defined it as: “any abusive behavior, which may include: words, gestures, attitudes, behaviors and writings that may threaten the personality, dignity or integrity of a worker, whether physically or psychic, which could jeopardize their employment or harm their working environment ”.

Occupational psychological harassment can be classified as follows:

  1. Active or commission: It manifests itself through insults, shouts, false accusations, humiliations in public and / or private, as well as intrusions and obstacles in the work, which can cause the employee to reduce its efficiency, quality and productivity.
  2. By default or passively: it can be seen through prohibitions or obstacles in the access to information necessary to carry out their work, lack of necessary support for the worker, decrease or suppression of training, deny communication with the employee, restrictions on the use of material and / or equipment , among others.

Characterization of the organizational psychoterrorist and his victims

How do people who suffer from workplace harassment tend to be? Different investigations have made a personal and professional profile of potential victims of occupational psychoterror, some of the typical characteristics are: people with high ethics, honesty and rectitude, as well as a high sense of justice, autonomous, independent and with initiative, highly trained by their intelligence and skills, they are usually popular people, with charisma to lead groups and with high empathic capacity, have sensitivity, understanding of the suffering of others and interest in the development and well-being of others, with highly satisfactory personal or family situations and positive, stand out for their professional brilliance and as people.

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In a survey conducted at the University of Alcalá (2001), it is indicated that The agents of bullying are usually the bosses: in 46% of cases, while stalkers between partners and subordinates represent 44% of cases. The psychic problems of the most frequent perpetrators are psychopathic behaviors, paranoid disorder and narcissistic personality, as well as deep feelings of inadequacy and frustration, which are mainly reflected in their inferiority complexes.

It is understandable that with such shadows, they find it almost unbearable to find in their work environment such a “bright” person in various aspects of life, so they try to dull it and turn off its brightness at all costs, Otto Kernberg said that The narcissist's own megalomania obeys strong feelings of envy, fear, deprivation and anger; It is therefore recommended that harassers receive psychological help, in order to improve their emotional health and prevent them from continuing to attack other workers. Periodically psychological assessment for leaders in organizations and for employees, as well as referring to psychological intervention the cases that require it, can serve as a good measure to maintain a good working environment.

Occupational psychoterror usually begins with a secret and conscious resolution or with an unconscious attitude on the part of the stalker in order to undermine and wear down the victim with their actions and to use psychological violence against it, occasionally violence occurs physical or sexual

The evolution of control systems and information technology in general facilitates that neomanagers They can exercise more control and almost absolute control over each of the movements that their subordinates carry out if they wish, this can produce a sensation of surveillance, monitoring and Machiavellian control, especially when leaders present some psychopathology, these factors can hinder worker doing meaningful and creative work, whereby the wicked bosses could find another means and justification to unload their hostility.

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6 steps to survive work psychoterror

It is understandable that you can feel cornered, because although perhaps you would often want to run away terrified, perhaps you need that job and that is why you have tolerated so much, remember that many times we cannot change certain particular situations, but we can choose the attitude with which we face them, harassers often try to control many of your circumstances and move them to disagree their victims, Do not give up your power, energy and inner dominion: You can retake control of your actions.

  1. Identify the problem, as well as the usual course of occupational psychological harassment, start calling him by name and find out as much as you can about the matter.
  2. Emotional deactivation. Avoid reacting to the attacks with your emotional side: inhale and "activate" your rational side by exhaling "Let it go”The sensations that could alter your balance.
  3. Make a inventory of your own reactions, both psychological and physiological and determine how they harm you, especially anxiety, anger and feelings of disability, specify how these behaviors prevent you from developing an effective response and how you could build some more adaptive one.
  4. Development of the response to psychological harassment through extrojection. Fake accusations and tactics Machiavellian, you can reject the indictment, without accepting or justifying yourself, simply by means of an extrojection response of the alleged guilt.

Extrojection is the victim's conscious and rational response of not accepting responsibility for vague or indeterminate acts, or being manipulated by generic accusations, usually unconcluded, or allowed to develop feelings of guilt or shame, let alone perverse moral attributions”(Viana Tejedor and Gil Ruíz, 2003).

  1. Works at strengthen your self-esteem, your assertive skills and your talents. You can seek the help of a psychologist to overcome this, if excessive anxiety persists in you, within your psychotherapy, they can provide you with techniques for coping with stress and anxiety.
  2. Integration in the vital perspective. Take a more flexible approach to life and a broader worldview of things, free yourself from the resentment and resentment you could have generated due to the abuse you received, focus and focus your energy on making your own talents shine and collaborating with others; remember that work is only one aspect of your life, perhaps for the person who harasses you is the center of his life, due to his personal deficiencies, which he reveals with his hostile and abusive behavior.

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Konrad Lorenz described the mobbing how "the attack of a coalition of weak members of the same species against another individual stronger than them.”

People who try to exert control in that way over others and who occupy so many resources in ruining someone, it is partly because they themselves cannot control many aspects of their life as they would like, they are usually people so dissatisfied in various aspects of it. , so it bothers them to see others develop and shine. Epictetus said that: “the envy He is the adversary of the lucky ones. ” So, if you meet the profile of the victims of psychoterror, it is because you surely have many talents, then you will have to learn to face this adversary that is very common among successful people and do not let the shadows of others extinguish your life and stifle your potential.

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Labor psychoterror represents a threat posed in the post-industrial era for those for countries that are not ready to protect the basic rights of workers, as this may diminish the working population, as it is an emerging pathology. It is a worker's right that in the performance of their work there are no physical or psychological damages, especially when they can become serious or even end in death, it should be an ethical and political requirement, to be able to guarantee these rights.

It is a manifest and growing need to improve working conditions in order to prevent psychosocial risks harmful to the mental health of workers. Trained health professionals can guide victims of occupational psychoterror to reduce the burden of emotional suffering that they experience, as well as the risks to their emotional balance that this entails. Psychological evaluation is suggested periodically for members of organizations; Psychologists trained in this area can provide companies with strategies to improve the work environment.


Electronics references

  • Leymann, H. (1986). Mobbing, the persecution au travail. Paris: Seuil.
  • Piñuel, I. (2004). Neomanagement Toxic bosses and their victims. Madrid: Aguilar.
  • Zapf, D., Knorz, C. and Kulla, M. (1996). On the relationship between Mobbing factors and Job Content. European Journal of Work and Organizational Pychology, Vol 5, No. 2 215-239.