Why Bullying Happens: It’s The Work Environment

A new study from the Workplace Bullying Institute fixes more responsibility for bullying on the work environment than on either people or society. Overall, the work environment factors accounted for 56% of explanations.
April 12, 2012 - PRLog -- According to results of the newest online Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) survey with 658 respondents who were asked “Why does bullying happen?” and given a list of 12 potential causes, most of the responsibility (56%) was assigned to the work environment. Societal causes were chosen 24% of the time, and people as individuals were blamed in 20% of cases.

Work environment factors, established and controlled by employers, included impunity for bullies, an unwillingness to stop it, a culture that rewards cutthroat conduct, bullying by executives, and giving orders to bully subordinates.

Bullies’ personalities were considered the reason in only 10% of cases. The counterintuitive reason that bullied individuals/targets might somehow invite their fate was believed by only 7/10ths of 1% of survey respondents.

Societal factors that could account for bullying included having a bullying culture (5%) and that there are no laws in the U.S. that directly address workplace bullying (15%).

“These results counter the oft-repeated popular notion that bullying is nothing more than a clash of personalities,” says Gary Namie, WBI Director. “If we are ever to make our workplaces safer and free from health-harming abusive conduct, we have to abandon the focus on personality and strive to fix how workplaces operate.”

Complete survey results can be found at


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The Workplace Bullying Institute is the only United States organization dedicated to the eradication of workplace bullying that combines help for individuals, research, public education, consulting for employers, and legislative advocacy.
Source:Gary Namie, PhD
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Tags:Namie, Workplace Bullying, Bully Boss, Workplace Bullying Institute, Psychological Violence, Gary Namie, Bullies
Industry:Research, Business, Health
Location:Bellingham - Washington - United States
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