Academic mobbing: hidden health hazard at workplace

  • SB Khoo
Keywords: Academic mobbing, serial bullies, sociopathic personality, anti-bullying policies, psychological terror


Academic mobbing is a non-violent, sophisticated, ‘ganging up’ behaviour adopted by academicians to “wear and tear” a colleague down emotionally through unjustified accusation, humiliation, general harassment and emotional abuse. These are directed at the target under a veil of lies and justifications so that they are “hidden” to others and difficult to prove. Bullies use mobbing activities to hide their own weaknesses and incompetence. Targets selected are often intelligent, innovative high achievers, with good integrity and principles. Mobbing activities appear trivial and innocuous on its own but the frequency and pattern of their occurrence over long period of time indicates an aggressive manipulation to “eliminate” the target. Mobbing activities typically progress through five stereotypical phases that begins with an unsolved minor conflict between two workers and ultimately escalates into a senseless mobbing whereby the target is stigmatized and victimized to justify the behaviours of the bullies. The result is always physical, mental, social distress or illness and, most often, expulsion of target from the workplace. Organizations are subjected to great financial loss, loss of key workers and a tarnished public image and reputation. Public awareness, education, effective counselling, establishment of anti-bullying policies and legislations at all levels are necessary to curb academic mobbing. General practitioners (GPs) play an important role in supporting patients subjected to mental and physical health injury caused by workplace bullying and mobbing.


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How to Cite
KhooS. (2012). Academic mobbing: hidden health hazard at workplace. Malaysian Family Physician, 5(2), 7. Retrieved from
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