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Bullying is widespread, survey shows

Bullying is widespread in IT companies, where more than three out of 10 managers have been bullied during the last three years, research has revealed.

But the study, by the Chartered Management Institute, found IT firms compared well with the rest of the private and public sectors, where nearly four out of 10 managers (39%) reported bullying.

Some 6% of IT managers admitted behaving in a bullying way, while four in 10 of those bullied said no action had been taken by their employer, according to the study, published in association with trade union Unison and conciliation service Acas.

The most frequent type of bullying in the IT sector is people being undermined by criticism or being overloaded with work (78%) followed by verbal insults, unfair treatment and misuse of power or position (all 72%).

Mike Petrook, of the Chartered Management Institute, said:"IT seems to be one of the leading sectors in getting a handle on this issue. It looks stronger than some others in terms of creating policies on bullying, which is essential."

Physical intimidation was reported by less than one-fifth of managers in IT firms - but by more than a quarter in all sectors.

Lack of management skills was cited as the top reason for bullying in the IT workplace - by 75% of those surveyed. Personality factors were mentioned by 69% and failure to address previous incidents of bullying by 55%.

 

Bully or bullied?

The survey revealed that middle managers experience more bullying than other levels of management, with nearly half having suffered -a finding reflected in the IT sector. The study suggests they are victims of "management squeeze", coming under pressure from above and below. But while the general survey showed 30% of managers were bullied by more junior staff, the picture in the IT industry is different, with just 16% citing junior staff as bullies.

 


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