“Workplace Harassment in Modern Academia: Endogamy, Organizational Ethics and Leadership”

Ester Massó Guijarro, researcher at FiloLab, presented a dissertation titled “Acoso laboral en la academia contemporánea: endogamia, ética organizacional y liderazgo” (Workplace Harassment in Modern Academia: Endogamy, Organizational Ethics and Leadership), in the frame of the online APPLIED ETHICS SEMINAR, organized by the ESPACyOS Network on May 13th and 14th, 2021. In total, the seminar lasted 8 and a half hours.

The dissertation reflects upon the severity of workplace harassment and its prevalence in academia, one of the most dishonest ways that embodies structural violence in academia. This aspect has gained growing interest in the legal literature (for its detection and legislative treatment), in the psychological literature (for its analysis and assistance) and in the field of applied ethics (with autoethnography studies), more concretely in the approaches adopted in the (bad) leadership studies. These are considered key analyses that describe how hierarchical power dynamics tend to develop experiences, dynamics and relationships under the umbrella of workplace harassment.

Massó Guijarro’s goal is to outline an anthropological and philosophical reflection on the aforementioned issue as regards Spanish academia and its lack of presence in the workplace harassment literature. This outline includes, on the one hand, an overview of the main findings in mobbing as a subject of study in recent years. On the other hand, it also uses complementary approaches, such as those of leadership and organizational ethics with a moral philosophy perspective, to reach its goal.

The used methodology is a combination of narrative overview and classic philosophical hermeneutics. The main results point at a direct relation between the breakdown of academia endogamy in hiring processes and workplace harassment attitudes which follow the corresponding environments. These types of experiences occur in the breeding grounds of the unspoken archaic structures that still remain in the Spanish academia. This situation urges us to consider a deep revision of the main criteria related to organizational ethics and moral leaderships, in order to evaluate whether or not the already existing tools to detect workplace harassment and to promote collective ethics are indeed effective and not just an institutional cover.

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