Bullies use covert tactics to antagonise colleagues

Bullies in UK workplaces are using a range of subtle tactics and behaviours to intimidate their colleagues, research has revealed.

A study of more than 500 workers by the Chartered Management Institute, released to coincide with today’s Ban Bullying at Work Day, also suggests that increased levels of organisational change help to foster bullying behaviour.

Asked about behaviour witnessed in the workplace, respondents identified several types of intimidation, including misuse of power, overbearing supervision and undermining by criticism.

Almost half (47%) said they knew of incidents where opportunities for promotion or training were blocked. A similar proportion (43%) also suggested they had seen threats made about job security.

The research uncovered the perception that the problem is getting worse. Six out of 10 respondents felt workplace bullying had become increasingly common. And more than one-third (36%) believed the situation had worsened because their organisation was ineffective when trying to deter bullying behaviour.

Asked about how they dealt with the problem, four out of 10 would confront a person behaving in a bullying manner. Only 11% would involve a senior manager, and just 5% would seek help from HR.

National Ban Bullying at Work Day is organised by the Andrea Adams Trust anti-bullying charity.

Founder and chief executive of the charity, Lyn Witheridge, said: “Justice for victims of bullying will only be achieved through persistent effort to raise national awareness of this insidious practice, in the hope that this will lead to radical changes in the structure of our workplaces.”


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