More than one in five employees have been bullied at work at least once
during the past year.
This is one of the main findings of a survey of more than 3,500 staff in the
UK by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, and if consistent would mean 1.5
million workers suffered some form of bullying at work last year.
The study also reveals that almost one in 10 employees report they have been
bullied on several occasions, while 2 per cent say they have been bullied six
or more times in the past year.
Patrick Gilbert, head of organisational research and effectiveness at
Mercer, said: "At first glance, these numbers appear to be relatively low,
but when extrapolated to the UK workforce, we are talking about vast amounts of
people. These findings indicate that well over 1.5 million workers could be the
victims of repeated bullying at work."
Bullying isn’t confined simply to employees lower down the organisational
hierarchy. The study finds that 24 per cent of middle managers and 17 per cent
of senior managers said they had been bullied at least once in the past year.
Gilbert said: "The high rate of bullying among managers is a particular
area of concern. If managers are the victims of bullying, they are more likely
to bully the people they manage. The high rate of bullying across all
organisational levels indicates how entrenched this dysfunctional practice is
in UK organisations."
There are few differences in the rate of bullying reported across age groups
or size of organisation.
The study also finds that men and women are equally likely to report that
they have been bullied during the past year.
By Ross Wigham