Chartered Management Institute survey reveals senior managers blame poor management skills for bullying at work

Poor management is believed by senior managers to be the major contributing factor to bullying in the workplace, new research has found.

A survey of 512 senior managers conducted by the Ban Bullying At Work campaign in conjunction with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found that two-thirds of respondents believed that their own management was a prime contributing cause of bullying.

One in three respondents said unrealistic targets also contributed to bullying, and more than half (56%) cited authoritarian management styles, while 57% cited personality, and 37% admitted failure to address incidents, as contributing factors.

Seven in 10 managers cited misuse of power as the most prolific type of bullying, while 63% pointed to overbearing supervision, and 55% to exclusion.

Lyn Witheridge, chief executive of Ban Bullying At, said bullying cost UK businesses £18bn a year, with one in four people experiencing bullying in the workplace.

Witheridge said: “We are challenging businesses to speak out against bullying to create workplaces where employees can see clearly that bullying behaviours will not be tolerated. We want to inspire managers to speak out and instil a culture where business is not frightened to stand up to the bullies.”

Jo Causon, director of marketing and corporate affairs at the CMI said: “Poor management is often at the root of the problem since staff at all levels lack the skills to tackle the issue. Not only do employers need to equip individuals with the ability to manage conflict, they need to create an open, empowering culture to ensure that the potential for bullying is minimised.”

Now in its fifth year, Ban Bullying At Work day will take place on 7 November. The event attracted one million participants in 2006.

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