Victimization in modern organisations

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Yun K. Ladegaard
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
For my thesis I want to examine victimization (from Danish mobning) in modern organisations. Because of changes in society and new demands from the global market, modern organisations now face different challenges than the former industrial organisations did. The modern employees are now the organisations greatest assets. They hold the knowledge and skills to secure the companies' competitive edge, innovation and even survival. At the same time we see a new kind of employees, who engage in work activities with new expectations and motives. Through their work they create their identity, seek personal and professional development, success and the feeling of belonging. This means that the organisations today influences the employees life and identity far more and in different ways than the industrial organisations. In my investigation of this topic, I will focus on social identity, and how this is involved and affected in the modern organisations. I wish to define victimization in terms of social identity, though an understanding of inter- and intra-group processes. It is essential to understand how groups of people behave and why, if we want to know when and why victimization occurs in groups. After the definition of victimization, I will exemplify how group-processes can occur in modern organisations, with special focus on how social categories affect groups in the organisation, with intern competition and problems bound to the fact, that humans are always part of different groups with varying norms and values. I will also investigate the issues that arise from the contradiction that an employee has to deviate from the group to be promoted, but since it is part of the human condition to form attachments he or she will have to conform to the standards of the group to stay in the group. I will also discuss how the individual's position in the group will affect the motives to mob other group members, and how social pressure in groups can result in groups that are more rigid, homogeneous, and intolerant, and how this might not be in the modern organisations greatest interest, since a successful company often apply creativity, innovation and broad solutions to its work approach. After this I will discuss how modern organisations' structures can affect the employees in ways that are victimizing (from Danish: mobbende) in itself. I will describe two cases where a modern organisation implement new management methods to engage the employee’s social identity. Any company’s goal is to make the employees stay loyal to itself and to work hard. I will use the cases and the social identity-perspective on victimization to create a new definition of structural victimization (in Danish strukturel mobning). My aim with this definition is to describe how organisational structures themselves can be victimizing. Though a definition of the victimization-structures in modern organisations, I wish to make the inner workings of these structures more visible for the employees who work in the modern organisations. I hope to cast a light on how modern organisational structures can negatively affect the employees, and to give an alternative perspective on power, responsibilities and work-related illnesses than the focus on the individual which is prevalent both in our society and modern organisations.
Publication date2009
Number of pages69
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 18697212