Sabotage in Academia: understanding the nature and causes of sabotage in academia


Sabotage in the workplace is not something we think about every day, and it might seem strange to think about sabotage behaviours playing out in academic work settings.  Sabotage has been described as any form of behaviour that is intentionally designed to negatively affect service (Harris and Ogbonna, 2002 p. 166).  Worryingly, 85% of service employees consider sabotage to be an ‘everyday occurrence’ in their organisations (Harris and Ogbonna, 2002).  When researchers investigate employee performance in academia, they tend to focus on research performance (Edgar and Geare, 2011), or the relationship between research performance and teaching quality (Cadez et al., 2017).  They rarely think about sabotage. 
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Collective Intelligence in the Holocene – 7: living systems and the unbearable likeness of being

Collective IntelligenceTo understand ways in which collective intelligence can evolve to support the survival, adaptation, and flourishing of Homo sapiens, it helps to think across different timescales of analysis—and the broadest timescale of analysis we have identified here is the period within which living systems have been evolving, circa 3.5 billion years.

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Collective Intelligence in the Holocene – 4: moving upstream

Collective IntelligenceI heard a story recently. It reminded me of the need to broaden the scope of our thinking in relation to human intelligence:

A woman was relaxing by a river, enjoying the sights and sounds and fresh air, when suddenly she noticed a person upstream struggling to stay afloat in the water. She dived into the water, swam out as fast as she could, and helped the person ashore. Catching her breath after the rescue, she glanced upstream, only to spot another person adrift in the river. Again, she dived in, swam out, and rescued the person.

In the next five minutes, the woman rescued two more people. Standing by the river, exhausted and almost completely out of breath, she saw another person adrift in the water. She started walking upstream, along the river bank. A passerby asked her, “Aren’t you going to help him?”

The woman replied, “Not this time. I’m going upstream to see if I can do something about whatever is causing all these people to fall into the river”.

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Collective Intelligence in the Holocene – 2: hope springs eternal

Collective IntelligenceLike many people, I hope for a better world. I hope for a world where there is less ignorance and violence and more wisdom and peace, less suffering and illness and more wellbeing and health, less closed-mindedness and selfishness and more open-mindedness and altruism. Like many people, I hope we can transcend egocentrism, embrace the fullness of life around us, and sustain the wonderful diversity of life on our planet. I hope that we can cultivate the ability to redesign our world such that there is greater collective freedom, equality, justice, democracy, sovereignty, and good governance of our global commons.

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Collective Intelligence in the Holocene – 1

Collective IntelligenceI am not an optimist, but a great believer of hope. ― Nelson Mandela

In December 2013, Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95.  Tributes rang out all over the world. Mandela was an inspiration to millions, if not billions, of people. He gave voice to the oppressed; he demonstrated unsurpassed resilience and resolve as an advocate of freedom and democracy; and, most notably, he brokered a new peace and a new constitution for South Africa in the face of intense and sustained opposition.

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Intelligence, Education, Personality, and Social Mobility: what predicts upward social mobility?

Intelligence - balloonsThe gap between the poor and rich of the world has been widening over the past few decades. Differences in health between social classes are becoming greater and the combined effects of social inequality and low socio-economic status are shown again and again to have a negative effect on physical, psychological, and social well-being of individuals. It’s not easy to escape intergenerational cycles of poverty and low socio-economic status, particularly when free market ideologies reinforce the idea that social inequality is a ‘natural’ feature of our societies.  But social inequality is a problem that cries out for intervention and many international organizations, including the World Health Organisation, highlight the need for intervention in this context. Naturally, this requires a deep understanding of the dynamics at play, such that targets for intervention can be identified.

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