The present paper reviews and summarises the research and literature on the nature and causes of bullying at work. Bullying occurs when someone at work is systematically subjected to aggressive behaviour from one or more colleagues or superiors over a long period of time, in a situation where the target finds it difficult to defend him or herself or to escape the situation. Such treatment tends to stigmatise the target and may even cause severe psychological trauma. Empirical studies on the causes of bullying have concentrated on the personality of the victim and psychosocial factors at work. Most studies treat bullying as a unified phenomenon, in spite of the fact that different kinds of behaviours are involved. The concepts of dispute‐related and predatory bullying are introduced in an effort to broaden the perspectives used in future investigations on both the nature and the causes of bullying at work.
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