In-depth information on bullying in the workplace

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

Why and how do bullies bully? Very simply - bullies avoid dealing with their own issues. They can't acknowledge their own anxieties and have to get rid of their bad feelings about themselves. They take defensive actions. For example, they keep any feelings of 'goodness' for themselves  and project their feelings of 'badness' outwards. In their minds they are good and others are bad, failures, incompetent etc.  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), or not, depends on his/her inner resilience, ability to set boundaries, and gain support from e.g. colleagues, HR staff, EAPs, counsellors and family and friends.

But bullying isn't just about individuals. As this website shows - it arises out of organisational systems, from cultures and structures, from group behaviour, and from interpersonal relationships too.

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

For further information see 'An Introduction to the Psychodynamics of Workplace Bullying' by Sheila White It's an academic text book and handbook for HR managers, counsellors, mediators and others wanting to learn more about the systemic and deeper dynamics of bullying. 

Book Reviews;- ' A clear analysis of what lies below the surface of bullying in organisations'. 'Important guidance on how to cope with such destructive occurrences'. Rose Mersky, Organisational development consultant, Germany.

'A model of clarity of style, purpose and accessible organisational material' Richard Morgan Jones, Organisational consultant, UK.

'A long awaited reconceptualisation of workplace bullying'. 'It takes the reader on a fascinating journey beneath the surface, discovering the unconscious developmental phases in the relationship between bully and victim with its complex psychic dynamics' Frans Cilliers, Professor of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa.