The Chronicle of Higher Education features an insightful article on mobbing ("an impassioned, collective campaign by co-workers to exclude, punish, and humiliate a targeted worker." ) According to sociologist, Kenneth Westhues, mobbing occurs most in institutions where workers have high job security, where there are few objective measures of performance, and where there is frequent tension between loyalty to the institution and loyalty to some higher purpose. Westhues recommends that institutions dismantle quasi-judicial bodies, like ethics committees, that let people play judge. He also says that mobbing can often be stopped simply by a firm request. (Chronicle.) More information about bullying and mobbing in higher education at BulliedAcademics.
(Related posts When the Boss is a Bully or Jerk; Advice for Visitors with Job Stress.)
Thanks to Jim Augustine for the tip.