Bullying of managers is commonplace in UK workplaces according to research from the Chartered Management Institute.
The survey, which questioned 512 executives in public and private sector organisations, reveals that many senior managers have been victims of bullying and identifies psychological intimidation as the biggest problem.
The research also shows an alarming lack of awareness about dealing with workplace bullies.
Bullying at work: the experience of managers, published in association with the Unison union and conciliation service Acas, reveals that 39% of all managers have been bullied in the past three years.
Middle managers are the most bullied among the UK management population, with half of them (49%) having suffered.
However, victims appear at all levels of the organisation. Almost a third (29%) of directors and two-fifths (42%) of junior managers reported incidences of being bullied.
The research says the most common forms of bullying were misuse of power or position (70%), verbal insults (69%) and undermining by overloading or criticism (68%). Physical intimidation or violence are the least common forms, with less than one fifth (17%) having been bullied in this way.
Mary Chapman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said: “Poor management is at the root of the problem since senior staff lack the skills to prevent bullying.
“Organisations must create an open, empowering culture and develop the skills of those who enter management positions to ensure that the potential for bullying is minimised and that a positive, productive working environment develops,” she said.