Bullying and harassment of faculty in higher education

Mary I. Dereshiwsky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Workplace bullying is receiving increasing attention in literature and practice. The physical and emotional damage to targets of bullying has been extensively documented. In addition, the financial damage to institutions of indirect effects of workplace bullying such as absenteeism and turnover are being recognized. The higher education environment is one such organizational setting where bullying behavior is on the rise. It manifests in such ways as marginalization in group settings (e.g., faculty meetings); isolation (e.g., from physical isolation in office settings to being ignored in real-time encounters); receipt of undesirable teaching schedules; and threats to annual evaluation (rejection of one’s tenure and promotion application initiatives by hostile reviewers). The bullying can originate from administrators as well as faculty colleagues. The end result is an impaired ability of the targeted faculty member to fulfill their instructional responsibilities in that higher education environment. This chapter will identify the nature of workplace bullying: what it consists of and how it differs from other behaviors that, while unpleasant, would not constitute workplace harassment. In particular, such workplace bullying will be distinguished from legal violations of protected class rights. This distinction is important because, unlike legally protected classes, there is currently no law against workplace bullying in the United States. Next, the characteristics of faculty bullying targets are explored. Some ineffective means of dealing with bullying such as confiding in human resources or engaging in formal mediation activities are identified. More effective solutions, such as development and implementation of school-wide anti-bullying policy, are suggested. Finally, strategies for helping faculty workplace harassment targets heal and overcome the effects of past bullying are proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook on Promoting Social Justice in Education
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783030146252
ISBN (Print)9783030146245
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Anti-bullying policy
  • Mobbing
  • Workplace bullying
  • Workplace harassment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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