Breaking the Taboo on Group Corruption and Misconduct: Empowerment Or Burnout?

Will Hall, and Kate Hill

The shadow of groups and organizations - corruption, ethical misconduct, mistreatment, cooptation - is like a family taboo, growing worse with avoidance and silence. Workplace and community injustice create toxic stress that crushes idealism and inflicts crazymaking dilemmas on staff and activists, leading to group dysfunction, burnout, and failure. Early career activists and staff conform or leave, and innovations implode, while normalized misconduct incentivizes conformity and enables a corrupt status quo. The most vulnerable - BIPOC and LGBTQIA, trauma survivors, economically disadvantaged - are impacted most.

What's the way forward?

Standing Together To Respond with Empowerment Against Misconduct (STREAM) is a simple model that breaks the silence in a trauma informed, empowered, and sustainable way. STREAM provides a simple community leadership roadmap for engaging group and organization ethics violations with sustainability and compassion. (This trauma-informed workshop will not name specific instances, but offer follow-up resources.)

Learning objectives:

  • Learn a simple definition of when problems cross the line into misconduct and corruption.
  • Identify the first steps to self care and protection when encountering possible misconduct.
  • Learn practical, effective tools to address organization misconduct - with empowerment and forgiveness. Everyone makes mistakes!