Qualitative inquiry as transformation and agency : the black sheep and workplace mobbing

Shallcross, Linda, Ramsay, Sheryl, & Barker, Michelle (2012) Qualitative inquiry as transformation and agency : the black sheep and workplace mobbing. In Discourse, power, and resistance down under. Sense Publishers, The Netherlands, pp. 121-133.

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This chapter discusses an action research project into the lived experience of the workplace mobbing phenomenon. The action research methodology is based on the exemplarian model (Coenen & Khonraad, 2003) from the Netherlands Group. This model requires positive outcomes for those immersed in the problem to reduce the adversity of their circumstances. The findings challenge the psychological perspective of the existing bullying literature that tends to focus on individual behaviour. This research, undertaken over a three year period with 212 participants, identified the dysfunctional nature of public sector bureaucracies and the power gained through gossip and rumour as some of the key emergent themes to explain the workplace mobbing problem. In addition, resistance, conscientisation, and agency were identified as the key to transformation for those targeted. The discussion focuses on the crystallisation phase of the exemplarian model where the participants identified themselves as the Black Sheep and adopted the motto that “a black sheep is a biting beast” (Bastard, 1565 or 6-1618, p. 90), reflecting a sense of empowerment, individual agency, and a sense of humour in dealing with the serious yet seemingly absurd reality of their situations. The identity of the Black Sheep was consolidated when the group organised a 2 day conference with over 200 attendees to discuss how best to prevent workplace mobbing. This self-affirming action was a proactive step towards metaphorically “biting back” at the problem. A number of positive outcomes were achieved including the conference with over 200 attending leading to national media coverage across Australia and additional interviews with magazines, newspapers, and radio.

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ID Code: 50753
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: action research, qualitative inquiry, exemplarian study, workplace mobbing, transformation
DOI: 10.1007/978-94-6209-037-8_10
ISBN: 978-94-6209-036-1
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 06 Jun 2012 01:23
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2015 18:35

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