STEM the Bullying: An Empirical Investigation of Abusive Supervision in Academic Science (Moss and Mahmoudi, 2021)

Pyrrhus

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STEM the Bullying: An Empirical Investigation of Abusive Supervision in Academic Science (Moss and Mahmoudi, 2021)
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2589537021004016
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3850784

For anyone who did their PhD in the sciences, especially at a "high-ranked institution", the following will not be news to you, but you may find it cathartic to read nonetheless.

Excerpt:
Moss and Mahmoudi 2021 said:
Background
Academic bullying is a topic of significant interest of late, with high profile cases featured in scientific journals. Our aim is to document the nature and extent of academic bullying behaviors, examining who are the primary targets and perpetrators as well as the responses to and outcomes of bullying.

Methods
We developed a cross-sectional global survey aimed primarily at those in academic science institutions. The survey was administered via Qualtrics and data were collected (between November 2019 and July 2021) from 2006 individuals whose participation was solicited through various means including advertisements in Science and Nature magazines and the American Chemical Society.

Findings
Among the 2006 survey participants, the majority of targets were graduate students or postdocs. An overwhelming proportion of participants reported either experiencing (84%) or witnessing (59%) abusive supervision, or both (49%). While a majority of perpetrators were male, they were proportionately no more likely to abuse than females. Perpetrators were more likely from the highest-ranked institutions and they were most likely PIs. Females were more likely to report being bullied but their scores on the Tepper abusive supervision scale and the contextual behavior checklist we developed were not greater than male targets. Male targets actually reported higher levels of certain bullying behaviors. While international scholars were no more likely to report being bullied, the severity of the behaviors they reported was significantly greater. Targets (64%) were most likely to use avoidant tactics (not reporting and relying on family/friends for support) in response to bullying due to fear of retaliation (61%). The small percentage that did report the abuse (29%) overwhelmingly reported unfair and biased (58%) outcomes. Additional qualitative analysis of open-ended comments revealed similar patterns. We also noticed that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated academic bullying and changed the patterns of behaviors possibly due to the remote nature of interactions. Open-ended responses from targets are analyzed with examples provided.

Interpretation
Our results elucidated the various forms of abuse, the most likely perpetrators and targets, as well as the typical reactions of targets and witnesses. We investigated the results of targets’ actions following chronic bullying. Our findings highlight the domain, extent, and dynamics of academic bullying to hopefully motivate the scientific community to take action.
 
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oh boy

looked at the whole paper...as I experienced it seems, what they define as bullying- back in STEM Grad School.

Now what I experienced emanated from the sexist situation transpriring in the 1970s. But the net result included men who "took" my Graduate Award and decided to give it to a Guy they Liked better.

This led to a full on scandal involving the head of the Dept, Grad School, and the Dean. They were all in on it.

Meanwhile, I was bullied by other male grad students, in grad classes. Now these were particular students. All of whom wished to become medical doctors. Those are prime for being bullies, it appears.

Navigating all this is a huge distraction from the assignment- study and get good grades and do your research.
 

SWAlexander

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STEM the Bullying: An Empirical Investigation of Abusive Supervision in Academic Science (Moss and Mahmoudi, 2021)
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3850784

For anyone who did their PhD in the sciences, especially at a "high-ranked institution", the following will not be news to you, but you may find it cathartic to read nonetheless.

Excerpt:
Reading “'The Code Breaker” about Dr. Jennifer Doudna, I was reminded of how many ways “non-empathy” deeply affects people. It leads to stealing other people’s brain-goods, defending lies, dominating others, harassing, or even becoming predators in many ways.
There is a very good meta analogy that taps into the major origin of this behavior pattern.
 

Pyrrhus

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This led to a full on scandal involving the head of the Dept, Grad School, and the Dean. They were all in on it.
I had a friend who dared to report the abuse while he was still a PhD grad student.
Obviously, it didn't go well.

He started to get threatening phone calls in the middle of the night from the department chair, saying "we know about your criminal record." When my friend replied "what criminal record?", the department chair said "your unpaid parking tickets!"

Eventually, the university forced my friend out of his PhD program, citing "unpaid tuition."
 

SWAlexander

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I had a friend who dared to report the abuse while he was still a PhD grad student.
Obviously, it didn't go well.

He started to get threatening phone calls in the middle of the night from the department chair, saying "we know about your criminal record." When my friend replied "what criminal record?", the department chair said "your unpaid parking tickets!"

Eventually, the university forced my friend out of his PhD program, citing "unpaid tuition."
I know too well. I was 45 when started with journalism as an ESL. Some of my peers I saw again in psycho and all hell broke loose. One had found out that I got 1500 points and they barely made the required 500. Hate and harassment were to be expected daily. I reported, but it made no difference.