Bullying in the workplace by management-level supervisors and executives has been well documented in the literature; however, bullying of employees by their associates is often less noticeable, even stealth, and has been understudied. This article presents a theoretical model that draws from the literature of clinical psychology and recent research in neuroscience to identify and describe the four different roles played in employee workplace colleague abuse. These roles include (1) the leader of the abuse, (2) the targeted employee, (3) members of the mob who bully the targeted employee under the direction of the abuse leader, and (4) participants in a whisper campaign. To understand the motivations of employees who intentionally cause an associate distress or illness, it is necessary to understand these distinct roles.
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