Bullying in Adulthood: Assessing the Bullies and Their Victims

Bullying in Adulthood: Assessing the Bullies and Their Victims

Bullying in Adulthood: Assessing the Bullies and Their Victims

Bullying in Adulthood: Assessing the Bullies and Their Victims


Peter Randall's first book, Adult Bullying , was one of the first books to examine the various situations in which adult bullying occurs, the forms it takes, and how it can be identified and dealt with more efficiently, particularly in workplace settings. Since that title was published, there has been more awareness of the extent of adult bullying. In Bullying in Adulthood: Assessing the Bullies and their Victims , other aspects of the problem are examined, such as research and clinical issues, and in particular, assessment of bullies and victims and the background factors to such behaviour. This has become increasingly important as the problem begins to be appreciated and addressed within therapeutic, social and legal arenas. A number of strategies are suggested both for dealing with bullying and victim behaviour and for monitoring situations, for example by employers to see if problems improve. To assist in this process Peter Randall proposes a model of adult bullying which enables clinicians and human resources specialists to determine which factors are influential in individual cases. This book will appeal to practitioners and researchers in clinical/counselling psychology, counsellors, managers/human resources staff and social workers.


It is an eloquent and tragic testimony to the power of adult bullying to cause severe psychological harm that concern about this subject has been burgeoning since the now sadly deceased Andrea Adams produced in 1992 her landmark book Bullying at Work. Since that time the acceptance of bullying as an adult as well as a child activity has led to a vast amount of research, formation of policies, legal actions and media attention.

The nature of this activity has inevitably emphasised its sensational and tragic aspects but careful research and clinical investigations have been gaining momentum and growing rapidly in the background of media portrayal. As a result, adult bullying is now increasingly well understood and the scientific research outcomes are filtering through to influence strategies at both the levels of protection and intervention. My own research into adult bullying at the clinical level has continued and has increasingly involved one-to-one work with perpetrators and victims. Much of this has arisen from employee assistance work but increasingly as part of a legal investigatory process informing subsequent proceedings.

I wished to take the published work a step further into the arena of practice by drawing together research and clinical studies to provide a first book on the assessment of bullies and victims in the context of the factors that cause them to act in the ways that they do. In part this is stimulated by the need to break down the excessive polarisation that exists at present. In essence, there is an overly simplistic assumption that victims are innocent people to whom bullying happens and bullies are undesirables who abuse others. Whereas this is often the case, clinical experience indicates that many victims bring into the workplace difficulties such as emotional ‘unfinished business’ which stimulate hostile responses. In other cases perpetrators may be shaped into their aggressive behaviour by workplace environments that reinforce hostile management or displacement behaviours. In addition, there may also be a rippling effect beyond the immediate workplace environment such that observers and family members may suffer secondary effects indirectly.

Assessments of perpetrators and victims are necessary not only from the viewpoint of prevention, intervention and dispute resolution, but also from

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