Get access

Bullying Allegations from the Accused Bully's Perspective


Corresponding author email:


Research on workplace bullying to date has relied predominantly on self-reports from targets and bystanders, largely ignoring the contributions of other stakeholders such as the alleged perpetrator. This study aims to close this gap by focusing on the perspectives of the alleged perpetrator and examining the background of the bullying allegations, the types of behaviours labelled as bullying and the perpetrator's justification of their behaviours. Twenty-four managers who were accused of workplace bullying were interviewed for this study, and a thematic analysis of the interview transcripts was undertaken. Many participants reported a highly stressful workplace, including ambiguous roles, staff shortages and high levels of conflict, as well as inappropriate social behaviours being carried out by others in addition to themselves. A number of participants viewed themselves as targets of bullying by their staff, and others defended their behaviour as legitimate performance management.