Workplace Bullying

Tim Field of defines workplace bullying as a "persistent, unwelcome, intrusive behavior of one or more individuals whose actions prevent others from fulfilling their duties."

The Workplace Bully

The bully feels inadequate and compensates for it by being violent - verbally, psychologically, or physically. Some bullies suffer from personality and other mental health disorders. They feel entitled to special treatment, seek attention, lack empathy, are rageful and envious, and exploit and then discard their co-workers.

Bullies are insincere, haughty, unreliable, and lack empathy and sensitivity to the emotions, needs, and preferences of others whom they regard and treat as objects or instruments of gratification.

Bullies are ruthless, cold, and have alloplastic defenses (and outside locus of control) - they blame others for their failures, defeats, or misfortunes. Bullies have low frustration and tolerance thresholds, get bored and anxious easily, are violently impatient, emotionally labile, unstable, erratic, and untrustworthy. They lack self-discipline and cannot concentrate or focus on their assignment or job. They are egotistic, exploitative, rapacious, opportunistic, driven, reckless, and callous.

According to the United Kingdom (UK) National Workplace Bullying Advice Line, serial bullies are emotionally immature and control freaks. They are consummate liars and deceivingly charming. Bullies dress, talk, and behave normally. Many of them are persuasive, manipulative, or even charismatic. They are socially adept, liked, and often fun to be around and the center of attention. Only a prolonged and intensive interaction with them - sometimes as a victim - exposes their dysfunctions.

Workplace bullies are not confined to management. One's co-worker, colleague, or secretary can bully as effectively as any malignant narcissist or psychopath. Bullies tend to operate in networks and form alliances, comprising "clients" of the bully's patronage and "superiors" to whose needs the bully caters. Some bullies engage in antisocial behavior and white collar crime.

The Outcomes of Workplace Violence and Abuse

Most often, while the bully is rewarded, the victims are forced to resign and suffer ill- health.

Surveys in the UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and the USA indicate that while workplace physical violence is rare, one in five workers is exposed to verbal and emotional abuse. The direct and indirect costs - in healthcare, increased workloads, stunted creativity, staff turnover, reduced productivity, absenteeism, and corporate dysfunction - may amount to circa $40 billion in the UK and $200 billion in the United States. Workplace violence and bullying lead to a panoply of physical and mental health problems, fatigue, low functioning, and even suicide.

Coping with Workplace Violence and Abuse

Workplace violence and abuse is an integral part of management-sanctioned corporate culture: denial, narcissism, exploitation, and malignant and stressful competition.

Surprisingly, few countries - such as Sweden and the United Kingdom - have specific laws which tackle workplace violence, abuse, and bullying.

Workers and bosses need to be educated to recognize abuse, curb it, and effectively cope with its aftermath. Some industrial and organizational psychologists - such as Robert Hare and Paul Babiak, who coined the term "corporate psychopath" - help companies with dysfunctional bullying workers and problematic workplace ambience.


1. - Bully at Work - Interview with Tim Field
2. - The Narcissist as a Bully
3. - Corporate Narcissism
4. - Chat regarding Workplace Abuse
5. - New Narc City
6. - he Psychology of Corporations
7. - The Narcissist in the Workplace
8. - Psychopaths in Suits