Surviving the Toxic Workplace (online)


Many workplaces have elements of toxicity.
We suffer from toxic cultures, toxic workloads and toxic people.

Of course not all of these elements are at play all of the time, or all at once.

An organizational culture can be toxic for one person and not for others: individuals who are different from others in their workplaces may feel isolated and penalized, whilst others seem to be recognized and rewarded for largely similar achievements.  

Many people report having unmanageable workloads: schedules which eat into social time, recreational activities and sleep cycles.
Workloads which are demanding, stressful, require high levels of precision and under relentless time pressure, are both commonplace and difficult to manage over extended periods. 
Increased reports of burnout, extended sick leave, and poor mental health are often consequences of this kind of toxicity. 

The third kind of toxicity we see in workplaces comes from individuals, and it is these individuals who can do the most damage: capable of devious and careless behaviour which can destroy people, teams and ultimately, their organisations.  

Toxicity in the workplace is often passed off as ‘banter’, ‘business decisions’, or reasonable expectations for performance.
People find they lack a proper vocabulary to define what is happening to them, and unaffected co-workers seem unable or unwilling to recognise the problem. 

This course opens the lid on otherwise unspoken toxic behaviour, and provides the terminology to recognize, identify and verbalise toxicity.
The various roles of the organization, the law, and individuals to protect people from workplace toxicity will be discussed.
You will learn about psychological tools and techniques to recognise and protect yourself, and be introduced to self- repair strategies to facilitate better mental health. 

Programme details

This course is open to all and uses the context of the workplace to discuss toxic culture and pathological behaviour.
Using an evidence base and case study, participants will explore toxicity in culture and workload.

You will also have the opportunity to consider the nature of toxic individuals, explore their pathological personality traits, and learn to identify the signs and strategies they employ. Finally strategies to combat toxicity, and recover from it, will be explored. 

Key Themes 

  • Identifying toxic cultures, conscious and unconscious 

  • Identifying toxic workload, expectations and management 

  • Toxicity and individual differences 

  • Identifying Pathology in Personality; toxic people 

  • Survival strategies 

By the end of the course you will be able to: 

  • Identify and describe elements of workplace toxicity 

  • Recognize the signs and strategies of the pathological personality in the workplace 

  • Use strategies to protect yourself from some of the effects of toxicity 

  • Use strategies to recover from some effects of workplace toxicity 

Dates, times and delivery 

Sessions will be held over Microsoft Teams. 

The course will be delivered in four 1.5 hour sessions, from 11:00 - 12:30 UK time on:

  • Tuesday 26 September
  • Wednesday 27 September
  • Thursday 28 September
  • Friday 29 September

To support the online sessions, you should actively engage in offline activities, such as the introductory tasks. Please build in extra time around each online session to allow for technical issues. 

A world clock, and time zone converter can be found here: 

This is a ‘virtual classroom’ course. To replicate the experience of a classroom, the sessions are live and are not recorded. 

No attendance at Oxford is required and you do not need to purchase any software.


Participants who attend the full course will receive a University of Oxford electronic certificate of attendance. 

The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended.

You will be required to attend all of the live sessions on the course in order to be considered for an attendance certificate.


Description Costs
Standard course fee £395.00


Fees include electronic copies of course materials.

All courses are VAT exempt.

Please note that places are subject to availability, with classes limited to 20 people.

Register immediately online 

Click the “book now” button on this webpage. Payment by credit or debit card is required.


Dr Jane Pollock

Course Director

Independent Consultant and Researcher

Jane is a Chartered Psychologist, an Independent Consultant in Organisational Psychology, and a tutor and lecturer in Psychology and Statistics. She has a history of highly successful courses in both Psychology and Business streams, and takes a practical approach to a subject crucial to the success of people in organisations.


If you would like to discuss your application or any part of the application process before applying, please click Contact Us at the top of this page.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online using Microsoft Teams. You will be required to follow and implement the instructions we send you to fully access Microsoft Teams on the University of Oxford's secure IT network.

To participate you must be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.
It is advised to use headphones with working speakers and microphone.