Just like bullying at school, on the internet or in the home, people who bully others at work often have low self-esteem or have been a victim of violence themselves. They use bullying as a way of dealing with their own problems and of making themselves feel more powerful.
Bullies project their insecurities onto others in order to avoid: facing up to their own inadequacies; accepting responsibility for their behaviour and its effect on others; and being seen for what they are, namely weak and often incompetent individuals. They bully ultimately to divert attention away from their own inadequacy – in an insecure or badly managed workplace, this is how inadequate, incompetent and aggressive employees keep their jobs. Bullies can also be motivated by jealousy, lack of knowledge, fear or misunderstanding.
Employees can be subject to bullying on a wide variety of grounds including:
· Race, ethnic origin, nationality or skin colour
· Sex or sexual orientation
· Religious or political convictions
· Willingness to challenge harassment (leading to victimisation)
· Membership or non-membership of a trade union
· Disability, sensory impairments or learning difficulties
· Status as ex-offenders
· A real or suspected infection with AIDS/HIV