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6. Why do people bully?

6.1 We should never generalise what makes a bully, as this is unhelpful. There are no simple explanations for why one person is bullied, or why someone bullies, but there are several factors both individual and organisational, which appear to be common in many cases.

6.2 Individual factors

  • Lack of confidence
  • Insecurity
  • Seeing other peoples' suggestions as a challenge to their authority Irrational dislike of a colleague
  • Behaviour may be rooted in childhood experiences of being bullied or always having their own way
  • Organisational factors play an important part in whether or not bullying occurs in a workplace
  • Bullying is more likely to happen in workplaces where there is a very competitive environment
  • Poor working relationships generally
  • Lack of job security
  • Authoritarian management
  • Organisational changes
  • Uncertainty
  • Excessive workloads and demands on people

6.3 There can be other wide ranging factors that will determine whether conflicts will arise or whether relationships will be harmonious:

  • Formation in the workplace of 'cliques'
  • Group pressure
  • Stereotypes
  • Personality clashes
  • Gender difference
  • Age difference
  • Differences in religion/religious beliefs
  • Preconception about others
  • Misuse of authority
  • Power tactics
  • Manipulation
  • General expectations and beliefs
  • Misunderstandings
  • Unreasonable beliefs and assumptions

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