The torture of workplace bullying

The Amnesty Report on Torture published in 1975 contained details of allegations and evidence of torture from over 60 countries. One study of the breakdown of American soldiers due to emotional and physical torture during the Korean War resulted in a model known as Biderman’s Chart of Coercion, which documented the process that occurs between abuser and victim.


The link below to a table published in the book Bullying in the Arts is my version of Biderman’s chart.  The left hand column contains Biderman’s original strategies of oppression; the right hand column contains my analysis of how workplace bullies implement some of the same techniques.

Many of the tactics used by torturers are evident in workplace bullying behaviour, and also are employed by perpetrators of domestic abuse (see previous post).

Table 5: Biderman’s Chart of Coercion

This modified table is published by Gower Publishing in the book Bullying in the Arts, and was adapted by the author. Please respect copyright and acknowledge sources when using it.

hhqu4lshnam7xv0uer81Amnesty International published Biderman’s original version in 1975.


Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1977 by Mümtaz Soysal. Available at:


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