Bullying at Work


Bullying at work is more common than many people realise. In a range of surveys conducted the average number of people who say that they have experienced bullying at work over the last 6 months is 17%! The percentage does vary depending on the target audience. The ones that I have seen have ranged from 10% to 34%, averaging out at about 17%.

The main question people have are What exactly is it? or What behaviours constitute bullying?

A general definition of bullying is:

Persistent and repeated inappropriate behaviour that is unwelcome or unwanted by the receiver. It may be direct or indirect, verbal, physical or written conducted by one or more persons against another or others at their place of work and/or in their place of employment.

It is unwanted or offensive behaviours to the recipient. The intention of the perpetrator is irrelevant. Now we have to answer the question: what are inappropriate behaviours? Dignity at Work

Inappropriate behaviours

The intention of the perpetrator is irrelevant. The behaviour is inappropriate if it is unwanted or offensive to the recipient. Examples of such behaviour can be covered under aggressive communication, demeaning and humiliating communication. Examples include:

  • Personal insults
  • Threatening behaviours
  • Withholding information
  • Ignoring points
  • Personal insults
  • Deliberate exclusion
  • Excessive monitoring of work
  • Setting unreasonable tasks
This list is only an example of types of behaviours.

Inappropriate behaviour has an impact on

  • the organisation
  • the individual
  • the team
Overall this impacts on the bottom line, competitiveness, productivity, costs, morale, turnover, absence.

Everyone working in an organisation should be aware of their roles and responsibilities in creating a workplace that demonstrates respect and dignity to everyone.

Who Bullies?


Research has shown that bullies are at all levels with 30% of bullying being peer-to-peer and subordinate to manager and 70% being manager to subordinate.

The causes of manager to subordinate bullying may be down to the poor skill level of managers in leading and directing staff, poor communication and social skills of managers, abuse or mis-use of Positional Power and mis-using management tools for example the Performance Management Appraisal and Disciplinary Procedures.

To be an effective manager ensure that you develop the core leadership skills or competencies.

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