Psychological warfare at work: The destructive cycle of reciprocal bullying
Promaco Conventions Pty Ltd
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management
Workplace bullying is increasingly recognised as a significant threat to the psychological wellbeing of employees in a wide range of industries. While the common image of bullying involves an anti-social "bully" infringing a "victim's" expectations of workplace respect and dignity, this paper explores situations where members of a dyad bully each other. This phenomenon is explored using findings from a qualitative research project using multiple methods to investigate bullying in• the Australian Public Service. Characteristics that differentiate such reciprocal bullying from unilateral bullying are discussed. Our conclusions reflect on the difficulties faced by staff in disentangling personal and professional relationships in the context of a highly formal and hierarchical organisational use of power.