Steve Vensel



Workplace Abuse


Mobbing is related to workplace organizations, organizational power factions, forced resignations, and forced terminations.  Mobbing is defined as the prolonged malicious harassment of a coworker by a group of other members of an organization to secure the removal from the organization of the one who is targeted.  Mobbing involves a small group of people and results in the humiliation, devaluation, discrediting, degradation, loss of reputation and the removal of the target through termination, extended medical leave or quitting.  It is a traumatizing experience that often results in significant financial, career, health, emotional and social loss.  Mobbing is unjust, unfair and undeserved.  In an employment or ministry settings the organization includes staff members, employer, management, volunteers, elders, deacons, and congregation members.

As a result a of my doctoral work, as well as being victimized by a personality disorded bully boss, I have become an expert in abusive workplace dynamics.  Mobbing and bullying are both forms of emotional abuse that can be devastating to targets.  Please read the blog on clergy mobbing as it pertains to anyone in the workforce.  The sad reality is that ministries are just as prone as secular work environments to workplace bullying and mobbings.  Mobbing refers to a group of perpetrators targeting an individual for removal from an organization.  Bullying refers to a single perpetrator targeting an individual for various purposes.  Bully bosses can be extremely destructive and degrading.  Being both mobbed and bullied is especially traumatic and often professional intervention with an informed and trained therapist can be very helpful.  Just as an FYI my dissertation focused on Mobbing, burnout, and religious coping styles among Protestant clergy and its implications for counselors.


  1. 1. Impact on self-expression and communication.

  1. 2. Attacks on social relationships.

  1. 3. Attacks on reputation.

  1. 4. Attacks on the quality of ones professional and personal life.

5.  Attacks on a person’s health.



The Original Critical Incident

This phase is characterized by a triggering situation which is usually some kind an incident or conflict.  This phase is very short.

Mobbing and Stigmatizing

This is characterized by harassment, aggressive acts and psychological assaults.  These behaviors have an injurious effect on the victim and are used consistently and systematically over a long period of time.  Manipulation is the main characteristic.

Personnel Administration

Management is manipulated and the victim becomes a “case.”  Management can take on the prejudices of the mob and the victim is confronted with additional injustice; they have become a marked individual.  Non mob workmates observe the defensive behavior of the victim and assume the problem lies with the victim who must have a personality problem.


Once expelled the victim finds themselves socially stigmatized and emotionally distressed.  If they are given different work in the same setting the stigmatizing gives rise to long-term sick leave, relocation to degrading work and mental health treatment.


Number of Perpetrators

A systematic group process of two or more perpetrators.


Abusive workplace behaviors are purpose driven and goal oriented.  Victims are chosen for removal from the organization or workplace setting (Einarsen, 1999: Leymann, 1990, 1996). 


Mobbing behaviors are a severe form of social stress and more harmful and devastating to targets than other workplace abuses (Hauge, Skogstad & Einarsen, 2010; Leymann, 1990, 1996; Saunders et al., 2007)


Mobbing behaviors are not transient or temporary (Einarsen et al. 2011; Leymann, 1990).  Because they are purpose driven and goal oriented they will persist until the goal of removal is reached (Sperry, 2009b). 


Because they are purpose driven and goal oriented mobbing behaviors occur more frequently than other more transient abusive workplace behaviors (Leymann, 1990, 1996).

Workplace abuse is traumatizing and destructive. If you have been mobbed or bullied at work, you have been emotionally abused.  Please know I understand how painful and destructive the experience can be and I would be honored to assist you in recovering from the experience.