On workplaces as hostile environments

On 16 October 2019, 26 people came together to spend the day discussing our experiences of the workplace as a hostile environment. The session was jointly sponsored by the NHS London Leadership Academy and ODNE.

I have taken time to summarise my reflections, thoughts and opinions arising from an overall conversion that was richly textured and had both breadth and depth. I have encapsulated that thinking in the form of a model, which is reproduced here.

Sharing this material will hopefully act as a prompt for participants to extend their discussions – and also to invite others into this broader conversation. Comments are welcome here, of course…but also via LinkedIn, where I will share this post.

Hostility can be seen as a dynamic interrelationship between our presence in an organisational context as human agents and the structures that frame that context. Our presence shapes the environment…which in turn shapes our presence. Any effort to understand – and to change – the hostility therein needs to concentrate on issues both above and below the line in this model.
To better understand the components in this model, my understanding and appreciation of the conversations we had appear herein, so as to add richness and detail to the picture. This material – partial, certainly, insofar as it arises from my understanding of the conversations on the day and the bias that I bring to my appreciation in this context – will hopefully support all of us, whatever our position in the organisation to address issues of hostility, so as to help to make workplaces (especially the NHS) a better place to work.
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