This morning's New York Times has a well-crafted article by Tara Parker-Pope called When the Bully Sits in the Next Cubicle. This little article does a nice job of summarizing some of the most important research and it quotes some of the most influential advocates including Gary Namie, founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute, and researcher Joel Neuman from SUNY, who has done some of the most rigorous research on workplace bullying. And they do a nice job of reviewing pending legislation and report that a recent Canadian study suggests that the emotional damage done workplace bullying may now be greater than that done by sexual harassment.
I was also pleased to see the they gave The No Asshole Rule some credit for the movement against workplace bullying. In doing so, however, they continued their tradition of censoring the book title. Here is what they wrote:
"This month, researchers at the University of Manitoba reported that the emotional toll of workplace bullying is more severe than that of sexual harassment. And in today’s corporate culture, supervisors may condone bullying as part of a tough management style.
But the tide may be turning, thanks in part to a best-selling book by Robert I. Sutton, a management professor and co-director of the Center for Work, Technology and Organization at Stanford. Among other things, the book argues that workplace bullies are bad for business, because they lead to absenteeism and turnover."
I appreciate the credit they are giving the book for raising awareness. But I am highly amused and slightly annoyed by The Times' persistent refusal to write the name of the book. When the book appeared on the best-seller list, they called it The No A******* Rule. My publisher had good fun goading them with the advertisement below The Times motto is "All the news Fit to Print," but I guess that they still find the title offensive. I am accustomed to such silliness, as my essay over at Huffington reports -- see part 1 and part 2. But I do wonder why, of all the major newspapers and magazines in the world, The Times continues to be most resistant to printing the title, or even a hint of it. This is the same publication that published many unsavory details from the Elliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, and especially, Bill Clinton sex scandals. I also think it is pretty difficult for them to argue that they are violating generally accepted standards in the print media. Many newspapers do continue to call it something like The No Ahole Rule, but the name has been spelled out in respectable publications including the Wall Street Journal, Seattle Times, Fortune (including in a recent article giving kudos to Baird for having a no asshole rule), to BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, McKinsey Quarterly, and even Stanford Reports -- the rather staid in-house publication at my own university. And major European newspapers like The Observer in England, La Monde in France, and Corriere Dela Sera in Rome printed the title (or related translations) with no fuss at all.
All this leaves me somewhat confused about who The New York Times is trying to protect with this puritanical policy. I think their hypocrisy is exposed by their willingness to accept a series of expensive (I think these things cost about $100,000) full page ads from my publisher that made fun of The Times for not printing the title. These ads made it clear to any person who could read English that asshole is the censored word. I guess that The Times have what they imagine to be editorial high standards, but are willing to have them mocked and effectively disregarded if someone pays them enough money to do so!
My conclusion is that they are spineless wimps. Am I being too harsh?