In-depth information on bullying in the workplace

Getting to root causes of workplace bullying - why and how bullies bully - is key to preventation and effective action.

Why and how do bullies bully? Very simply - some individuals, when very anxious, defend against their anxieties by spliting 'their worlds' into 'good' and 'bad'. They want to keep the goodness for themselves  but project their feelings of badness outwards. They test boundaries of others to find a 'container' for their unwanted and unacknowledged aspects of themselves. When projections (and perceptions) become fixed, the bullying begins in earnest.

Whether a target becomes a victim (a container) depends on his/her inner resilience, ability to set boundaries, support from others etc. 

But bullying isn't just about individuals. It arises out of systems - cultures and structures, from group behaviour, and interpersonal relationships too.

In the workplace, and elsewhere in schools and the home, unrealistic expectations, vacuums of support, inconsistencies between resources and demands, lack of trust, insecurity, envy, and shame etc  - generate the potential for bullying.

Further information can be found in 'An introduction to the psychodynamics of workplace bullying' by Sheila White . A text book for academics and handbook for HR managers described by reviewers as 'a masterful volume'  'a long awaited reconceptualisation of workplace bullying'  'chapters cover individual, interpersonal, group, and organisational examples and are replete with easy-to-follow and instructive examples'.