News - June 19, 2014

More reports of undesirable behaviour again

Roelof Kleis

The number of recorded cases of undesirable behaviour has increased by nearly 40 per cent in the past year, it appears from the annual report by the confidential counsellors for undesirable behaviour. Previously, the confidential counsellors had published their report every two years but now they are doing so annually.

In 2014, 55 cases of undesirable behaviour were reported. That is a big jump compared with the previous period (of two years). Ten of the reports come from students. Almost half of the cases concern intimidation, which is slightly less than in previous years. 

The rise in the number of reported cases seems to belie all the attention paid to undesirable behaviour over the past few years at Wageningen UR. An external commission was set up specifically to investigate the causes of undesirable behaviour. Following this, the Executive Board instigated a number of measures to prevent such behaviour. One of those measures is the current series of articles on the intranet with examples of undesirable behaviour and what action to take. 

Slamming the table

Managers are responsible for two-thirds of the cases of undesirable behaviour. Surprisingly, managers are not always held to account for this, according to the confidential counsellors. Managers sometimes ‘flatly’ deny that there is anything wrong with their conduct, or their superiors deliberately take no action ‘as this might adversely affect other interests’. 

A quarter of the intimidation incidents took place during P&D interviews. The report mentions a manager slamming the table, for example, or retrospectively changing the interview notes to include subjects that were not discussed. The confidential counsellors say that it appears as if some managers ‘are misusing’ the instrument of the P&D interview ‘to deal with difficult employees’.  

The report by the confidential counsellors still needs to be discussed with the Executive Board. The counsellors are waiting for this before giving further infor-mation about their report.