April 19, 2018

10:00-11:00 a.m.

Please note: This event is for invited researchers only.

Addressing workplace Bullying with organizational Compassion (ABC)

Talk description:
This presentation considers how the findings from over a decade of research on organizational compassion might be applied to addressing the problem of workplace bullying. National economies suffer significant annual losses in the billions due to workplace bullying. A recent Australian government report estimating the cost to the Australian economy as being up to $36 billion annually. Individual costs include mental and physical illness. Companies can be fined and office holders can be sent to prison for failing to properly respond to alleged bullying as harassment.

Despite these costs and penalties bullying remains widespread. Forbes magazine reported in 2016 that 75% of Americans have experienced some form of bullying either as a target or witness. Existing programs for addressing bullying appear to be inadequate. Professor Huppert of the University of Cambridge suggests: “misconceived anti-bullying programs … have too often focused on the reduction of harm rather than the promotion of kindness.”

The presenter will share initial feedback received from industry when presented with opportunities for approaching the problem of workplace bullying from the perspective of enhancing capabilities in organizational compassion. The argument advanced will be that in addition to measured aimed at reducing harm and managing risk, a focus on promoting workplace compassion appears an essential but sadly overlooked component. An established organizational compassion framework will be presented and participants will be invited to workshop and suggest ways that the framework can be applied to the workplace bullying context.

Ace Simpson is Senior Lecturer in Organizational Behaviour in the UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Ace has a strong interest in human well-being, flourishing and social justice and his research brings a critical-social perspective to positive organizational practices such as humility, psychological safety, paradox and love. His main research focus is on the cultivation of organizational compassion, which he is currently studying as a critical missing factor in most programs aiming to address the persistent problem of workplace bullying. Ace’s research has been published in journals such as the Journal of Management, Journal of Business Ethics, and the Journal of Management Inquiry. He is currently co-authoring a textbook on Positive Organisational Behaviour due for publication by Rutledge in 2019. Prior to academia Ace was involved for 20 years in the voluntary sector, coordinating with hundreds of volunteers at a time in organizing cultural events in cooperation with local governments.

Research is the heart of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS), and we want to make sure that we support each other in developing high quality research. To that end, we created the Adderley Positive Research Incubator for sharing and encouraging POS-related research ideas that are at various stages of development.

Learn more about the Adderley Positive Research Incubator here and direct questions about individual sessions to Amy Young at baldwin@umich.edu.