Bullying beats a path to management’s door

Managers at all levels of the business hierarchy are the victims of bullying, with middle management facing the worst of it, according to research.

A report from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Bullying at work: the experience of managers, reveals that 39% of all managers have been bullied in the past three years.

Almost half the middle managers (49%) said they had been victims of bullying.

The survey, which questioned 512 managers, reveals that HR came last in the list of places people would go as a result of bullying (5%), with three-quarters saying they would prefer to talk it out with the other party first.

Almost half of those who had been bullied said no action was taken by their employer.

Mary Chapman, chief executive of the CMI, said poor management was at the root of the problem.

“Senior staff lack the skills to prevent bullying occurring,” she said. “Organisations must create an open, empowering culture and develop the skills of those who enter management positions.”

Richard Osborne, equality and diversity manager for the 6,000 civil servants who serve with the Royal Navy, said the key was to create a culture where such behaviour was unacceptable.

The Navy has only received five complaints of bullying from civilian staff so far this year.

Osborne said the message was put across using booklets, surveys, a website and mandatory equality and diversity training for all civilian staff, as well as any Navy service personnel who manage them.

Bullying statistics



  • 39% of all managers have been bullied in the past three years
  • 49% of middle managers said they had been bullied, making them the most bullied among the UK management population
  • 70% of respondents said misuse of power or position was the number one form of bullying
  • 17% of bullying was through physical intimidation or violence, making it the least used form of harassment
  • 54% of women said they had been victims of bullying compared to 35% of men
  • Only 5% said they would talk to HR first if they were bullied

Source: CMI


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