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Bullying in academia is workplace bullying of scholars and staff in academia, especially places of higher education such as colleges and universities. It is believed to be common, although has not received as much attention from researchers as bullying in some other contexts.
Bullying is the longstanding violence, physical or psychological, conducted by an individual or group and directed against an individual who is not able to defend himself in the actual situation, with a conscious desire to hurt, threaten, or frighten that individual or put him under stress.
Workplace bullying ranges into the following categories.
Several aspects of academia lend themselves to the practice and discourage its reporting and mitigation. Its leadership is usually drawn from the ranks of faculty, most of whom have not received the management training that could enable an effective response to such situations. The perpetrators may possess tenure — a high-status and protected position – or the victims may belong to the increasing number of adjunct professors, who are often part-time employees.
Academic mobbing is arguably the most prominent type of bullying in academia. Academic victims of bullying may also be particularly conflict-averse.
The generally decentralized nature of academic institutions can make it difficult for victims to seek recourse, and appeals to outside authority have been described as "the kiss of death." Therefore, academics who are subject to bullying in workplace are often cautious about reporting any problems. Social media has recently been used to expose or allege bullying in academia anonymously. Bullying research credits an organizational rift in two interdependent and adversarial systems that comprise a larger structure of nearly all colleges and universities worldwide: faculty and administration. While both systems distribute employee power across standardized bureaucracies, administrations favor an ascription-oriented business model with a standardized criteria determining employee rank.
Faculty depend on greater open-ended and improvised standards that determine rank and job retention. The leveraged intradepartmental peer reviews (although often at a later time, these three reviews are believed to be leveraged by the fact the peers determine promotions of one another at later times) of faculty for annual reappointment of tenure-track, tenure, and post-tenure review is believed to offer "unregulated gray area" that nurture the origin of bullying cases in academia. Although tenure and post-tenure review lead to interdepartmental evaluation, and all three culminate in an administrative decision, bullying is commonly a function of administrative input before or during the early stages of intradepartmental review.
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