Workplace bullying

harmful mistreatment of others in workplace

Workplace bullying is bullying that occurs in the workplace. People are mistreated, they experience either physical or bodily harm. Workplace bullying includes verbal, nonverbal, psychological, and physical abuse, as well as humiliation. This type of aggression is difficult to detect. Unlike the typical school bully, people bullying at the workplace use the rules and policires of their organization and their society. In most cases, people who report the bullying say that someone who has authority over the victim did it. ullies can also be peers and subordinates.[1] When subordinates take part in bullying this is known as upwards bullying. The least visible segment of workplace bullying involves upwards bullying. In this scenario, bullying tactics are manipulated and applied against “the boss,” usually for strategically designed outcomes.[2]

Research has also investigated the impact of the larger organizational context on bullying as well as the group-level processes that impact the incidence and maintenance of bullying behaviour.[3] Bullying can be hidden or overt. It may be missed by superiors; it may be known by many throughout the organization. Negative effects are not limited to the targeted individuals, and may lead to a decline in employee morale and a change in organizational culture.[4] It can also take place as overbearing supervision, constant criticism, and blocking promotions.[5]

Workplace bullying has many different forms, and is a complex subject. For this reason, there is no definition all people agree on.

Workplace bullying is common. Most studies say that 10 to 15% of people in Europe and North America.[6] This figure can vary dramatically upon what definition of workplace bullying is used.[6]


  1. Rayner, C., & Cooper, C. L. (2006). Workplace Bullying. In Kelloway, E., Barling, J. & Hurrell Jr., J. (eds.), Handbook of workplace violence (pp. 47-90). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  2. (Jones, 2009; Oade, 2015; Patterson et al., 2018).
  3. Ramsay, Sheryl; Troth, Ashlea; Branch, Sara (2011). "Work-place bullying: A group processes framework". Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. 84 (4): 799–816. doi:10.1348/2044-8325.002000.
  4. Williams, Ray (3 May 2011). "The Silent Epidemic: Workplace Bullying". Psychology Today. Archived from the original on 21 November 2015. Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  5. Landau, Philip (2017-03-29). "Bullying at work: your legal rights". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Branch, Sara; Ramsay, Sheryl; Barker, Michelle (July 2013). "Workplace Bullying, Mobbing and General Harassment: A Review". International Journal of Management Reviews (Review). 15 (3): 280–299. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2370.2012.00339.x. hdl:10072/49090. S2CID 55494268.