Bullies, Managers, Workers and Trade Unionists

  • Roger SeifertEmail author
Living reference work entry
Part of the Handbooks of Workplace Bullying, Emotional Abuse and Harassment book series (HWBEAH, volume 3)


This chapter takes the position that bullying at work in all its forms is a direct or indirect result of labour management policies and practices aimed at controlling workers at work. In particular, it argues that the power imbalance in favour of the employer, and their agent-managers, allows forms of “progress chasing” that make bullying endemic. Additional advantages that stem from a bullying management regime include “divide and rule” over workgroups, seeking to reduce union activity through the intimidation of union activists and maintaining management authority. The frequently expressed view that such behaviour is counterproductive in terms of productivity increases is seen to be self-serving and fails to explain the persistent widespread use of bullying. Most bullying is either carried out by managers or allowed by their inaction (Harrington, Rayner, & Warren, 2012). The evidence in all forms confirms that strong regulatory frameworks, company shaming that hurts reputation and publicized cases can mitigate management bullying. These tactics, however, are neither necessary nor sufficient to end the practice, and only strong workplace unions are ultimately effective. Unions can campaign against bullying, they can negotiate company-wide agreements to promote “dignity” at work policies, they can effectively represent victims and they can call industrial action to enforce fairness of treatment.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wolverhampton Business SchoolWolverhamptonUK

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