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4. What is bullying?

4.1. A good deal of bullying can be overlooked or excused because of a number of euphemisms which are frequently used to justify bullying behaviours, such as:

  • Harassment
  • Intimidation
  • Aggression
  • Bad attitude
  • Coercive management
  • Personality clash
  • Poor management style

4.2. Definition of bullying
There really is no simple definition of bullying because it can take so many forms, occur in a variety of situations, cross the gender, race and age spectrum, and can involve one or a number of individuals. However, the Society of Radiographers defines bullying behaviour as:

  • unwarranted humiliating offensive behaviour towards an individual or groups. Such persistently negative malicious attacks on personal or professional performance are typically unpredictable, unfair, irrational and often unseen by others.
  • an abuse of power or position that can cause such anxiety that people gradually lose all belief in themselves, suffering physical ill health and mental distress as a direct result.
  • the use of position or power to coerce others by fear, persecution or to oppress them by force or threat.

Bullying has been identified as a more crippling and devastating problem than all the other work-related stresses put together.

4.3. Bullying can include:

  • Sadistic or aggressive behaviour over a period of time
  • Humiliation or ridiculing
  • Criticism in public designed to humiliate
  • Persistent, unwarranted criticism in private
  • Exclusion from opportunities or privileges offered to others
  • Exclusion from decision-making
  • Treating colleagues or students as if they were incompetent
  • Changing work responsibilities or academic assignments unreasonably or without justification, and altering deadlines or work guidelines without warning
  • Deliberately withholding information which will affect a colleague or student‟s performance
  • Withholding of support in the academic or workplace environment


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