I have been doing much reading about workplace behaviour, workplace socialization, and informal "on the job" learning. My reading has led me down some very interesting paths and to a variety of related resources and web sites. Recently, I came across this web site, Workplace Mobbing in Academe, created and maintained by Dr. Kenneth Westhues, Professor of Sociology at the University of Waterloo.
From the web site:
In his book entitled On Aggression (1966), Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989), the Austrian-German founder of ethology, described mobbing among birds and animals, attributing it to instincts rooted in the Darwinian struggle to survive. In his view, we humans are subject to similar innate impulses but capable of bringing them under rational control.
In the 1970s, the Swedish physician Peter-Paul Heinemann applied Lorenz's conceptualization to the collective aggression of children against a targeted child. In the 1980s, German-Swedish psychologist Heinz Leymann (1932-1999) applied the term to ganging up in the workplace.