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The word destabilisation can be applied to a wide variety of contexts such as attempts to undermine political, military or economic power. In a psychological context it is used as a technique in brainwashing and abuse to disorient and disarm the victim. For example, in the context of workplace bullying, destabilisation applied to the victim may involve:[1] [2]

  • failure to acknowledge good work and value the victim's efforts
  • allocation of meaningless tasks
  • removal of areas of responsibility without consultation
  • repeated reminders of blunders
  • setting up to fail
  • shifting of goal posts without telling the victim
  • persistent attempts to demoralise the victim.

See also


  1. Rayner C, Hoel H, Cooper CL Workplace Bullying: What We Know, Who Is to Blame and What Can We Do? (2001)
  2. Peyton PR Dignity at Work: Eliminate Bullying and Create a Positive Working Environment (2003)

Further reading

  • von Beyme, K. Parliamentary Democracy: Democratization, Destabilization, Reconsolidation 1789-1999 (2000)
  • Dzimba, J. South Africa's Destabilization of Zimbabwe, 1980-89 (1998)
  • Johnson, P. and Martin, D. Apartheid Terrorism: The Destabilization Report (Changing Southern Africa) (1990)
  • Murillo, M. and Avirama, J. R. Colombia and the United States: War, Unrest, and Destabilization (2003)
  • Sen, M. Challenge of Destabilisation (1987)
  • Siṅgha, D. Destabilisation and Subversion: New Challenges (1987)