Workplace Bullying: The Risk Factors

Organisational change

  • Significant technological change;
  • Restructuring / downsizing;
  • Change in work method/s;
  • Outsourcing; and
  • Change in supervisor / manager


Negative leadership styles

Autocratic leadership characterised by:

  • Styles that are strict and directive; workers not involved in decision making; and not allowing flexibility

Laissez-faire leadership characterised by:

  • Inadequate or absent supervision; responsibilities inappropriately and informally delegated to subordinates; and little or no guidance provided to subordinates


Lack of appropriate work systems

  • Lack of resources;
  • Lack of training;
  • Lack of role definition;
  • Uncertainty about job roles and way work should be done;
  • Poorly designed rostering;
  • Unreasonable performance measures or timeframes; and
  • Lack of support systems


Poor workplace relationships

  • Criticism and other negative interactions;
  • Negative relationships between supervisors and workers;
  • Interpersonal conflict; and
  • Workers excluded


Workforce characteristics

Vulnerable workers, including:

  • Young workers;
  • New workers;
  • Apprentices;
  • Injured workers and workers on return to work plans;
  • Piece workers; and
  • Workers in a minority because of: ethnicity, religion, disability, political views, gender or sexual preference