The purpose of this article is to define ‘social undermining’ and to discuss its causes and effects within an organisational context. Central to social undermining is the effect of moral disengagement, which is the main precursor to the manifestation of social undermining in personal and professional behaviours. Possible causes and motivations for the social undermining of others and behavioural symptoms in its victims are examined. Reasons for why social undermining is important for organisations, employees, and the effect of it on workplace behaviours within organisations are then explored. Employee and organisational reputation are discussed in the context of social undermining as a workplace stressor and as existing on a continuum of supportive and/or derogative workplace behaviours.
Strongman, L. (2014). The psychology of social undermining in organisational behaviour. Australasian Journal of Organisational Psychology, 6 e3. doi: 10.1017/orp.2013.3.