Bullying in higher education: culture change requires more than policy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education


Taylor & Francis Group


School of Business and Law / Centre for Innovative Practice




Barratt-Pugh, L. G. B., & Krestelica, D. (2019). Bullying in higher education: culture change requires more than policy. Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 23(2-3), 109-114. Available here


This paper argues that higher education managers continually confront the pervasive and corrosive impact of workplace bullying, which appears culturally resilient despite extensive policy regimes. This paper provides a framework for strategic culture change, to reduce the prevalence of bullying behaviour within higher education. While the adverse social impact upon staff provides an ethical rationale for instituting culture change, the organisational cost of bullying provides an additional incentive. The results of our higher education study that was based on academic staff within universities in Croatia and Australia indicated that despite well-engineered policy regimes, levels of bullying remained significantly high, with over one third of staff indicating recent experience of bullying behaviour at work. While staff indicated that a significant gap existed between the rhetoric and reality within the institutions studied, they also indicated actions that might effect cultural change. These options are presented within as a change management model, providing a framework to manage strategic culture change within higher education institutions.



Access Rights

subscription content