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Is it Mobbing or is it Bullying?
What is the Difference?

While the terms mobbing and bullying are sometimes used interchangeably, they are, in truth, very different phenomena. Resources in this section help clarify the similarities and differences between mobbing and bullying.

An easy to read introduction to the differences between mobbing and bullying.

"What's the difference between mobbing and bullying?" Frequently Asked Questions. <

Overview of different views on the distinction between mobbing and bullying. "Hot topics 2009: Bullying vs. Mobbing" Beyond Bullying Website. 17 February 2009. <>.

A clear and focused analysis of the disctinction between mobbing and bullying.

Bultena, Charles D. and Richard B. Whatcott 2008."Bushwacked at Work: A Comparative Analysis of Mobbing & Bullying at Work." Proceedings of the American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences. 15:1, Feb. 2008.

Enganging and informative, this book is essential reading for anyone impacted by workplace mobbing. The authors clearly define mobbing and distinguish it from bullying.

Davenport, Noa Zanolli, Ruth Distler Schwartz, Gail Pursell Elliott 1999. Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace. Ames, Iowa: Civil Society Publishing.

One of the most widely read descriptions of workplace mobbing.


Gravois, John 2006. "Mob Rule: In departmental disputes, professors can act just like animals." The Chronicle of Higher Education. 52:32, p.A10, 14 April 2006.


Heinz Leymann, the Swedish psychologist who first coined the term workplace mobbing, defines and describes the distinguishing qualities of mobbing.

Leymann, Heinz 1996. "The Content and Development of Mobbing at Work." European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. 5:2, pp.165-184.

Kenneth Westhues, a leading expert in the field, has compiled a list of sixteen common indicators of mobbing. Note the focus on a toxic social climate at work as opposed to a single toxic individual.

Westhues, Kenneth 2006. "Checklist of Mobbing Indicators." Available on Workplace Mobbing in Academe website.

In this article, Kenneth Westhues describes a case of workplace conflict and goes on to present two different interpretations: one through the lens of workplace bullying and one through the lens of workplace mobbing.

Westhues, Kenneth 2006. "Is it Bullying or Mobbing that Interests You More?" Available on Workplace Mobbing in Academe website.

This article originally appeared in "Academic Matters: the Journal of Higher Education" in the fall of 2006. It clearly describes mobbing.

Westhues, Kenneth 2006. "The Unkindly Art of Mobbing". Academic Matters: the Journal of Higher Education OCUFA, Fall 2006, pp.18-19. Available online at

Charmaine Hockley sheds light on the experience of third party victims.


Hockley, Charmaine 2002. "The impact of workplace violence on third party victims." Adelaide International Workplace Bullying Conference - Skills for Survival, Solutions and Strategies. February 2002