Unit 2: The importance of a safe organisational culture


2.9 Strong safeguarding cultures among leaders

Leaders may still struggle to know what a strong safeguarding organisational culture to keep people safe looks like in practice.

Activity 2.3 Case study – harassment in the workplace

Read the case study below and then reflect on the questions that follow.

Ann is a woman of colour working as a caseworker with a small UK-based charity (NGO) that helps refugees from other parts of the world. Other staff at the charity include Adam – another caseworker, Jenny – the administrative assistant, and Philip – the manager. Everyone reports to Philip, who reports to the Board of Trustees.

Slowly, Ann realises that Adam ignores her in the coffee room and shows a lack of respect for her in team meetings, talking over her when she makes a contribution to discussions. Ann has also heard Adam making racist comments about some of the refugees they work with.

Ann asks Jenny if she has noticed the way Adam behaves towards her. Jenny shrugs and responds that he is a bit “bigoted” and ‘’probably racist’’. Ann asks for a meeting with Philip and shares with him her concerns.

Philip speaks to Adam at a football match and asks him to be careful what he says around Ann because she is “a bit hyper-sensitive”. Adam neglects to include Ann in group meetings, avoids her in the coffee room and is very officious with her. Ann quits a few months later and takes a job in a larger NGO. Philip does not bring this issue to the attention of the Board.

(Adapted from Bond, 2019)

Consider these questions in light of organisational culture, policies and procedures:

  • Are you concerned and what are you concerned about?
  • How could have Philip dealt with this situation better?

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