Posts Tagged ‘2014 WBI’


Workplace Bullying: Perpetrator Rank & Number in the U.S.

Monday, April 28th, 2014

PERPETRATOR RANK & NUMBER in 2014

Mobbing was the term adopted by Heinz Leymann to describe health-harming abusive conduct at work. Mobbing implies multiple perpetrators. Mobbing preceded the term workplace bullying. However, WBI has consistently defined bullying as committed by one or more persons. Bullying nearly always escalates to more than one person joining the main instigator to torment the target.

Question: Who was (were) the principal perpetrator(s)?



Respondents said the following:

In 14% of cases, the bullying was generated by a combination of perpetrators operating at different levels of the organization – bosses, peers, and subordinates.

With respect to perpetrator’s rank, not counting the combined sources cases:


This pattern is consistent with previous WBI national Surveys.

No interactions between rank and race or rank and gender were found.

When perpetrators enjoy a higher organizational rank than targets, opportunities to abuse authority present themselves. Further, the likelihood of targets being able to confront the boss about her or his unacceptable conduct approaches zero, given the difficulty of crossing the “power gradient.” Coworker, peer-to-peer, bullying may not involve power differences, but the health harm caused by social exclusion/ostracism that peers employ poses an equal, if not greater, threat to the target’s safety.

Download the Perpetrator Rank & Number mini-Report
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Gary Namie, PhD, Research Director
Research Assistants: Daniel Christensen & David Phillips

© 2014, Workplace Bullying Institute, All Rights Reserved

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