chapter  7
24 Pages

Individual Antecedents of Bullying: Victims and Perpetrators

ByDieter Zapf, Ståle Einarsen

Since the beginning of bullying research, the causes of bullying at work have been a hot issue of debate in both the popular press and the scientifi c community. While some argue that such individual antecedents as the personality of bullies and victims may indeed be involved as causes of bullying (e.g., Coyne et al., 2000), others have totally disregarded the role of individual characteristics. Heinz Leymann (1993, 1996), one of the founders of bullying research, categorically claimed that organisational factors relating to the organisation of work and the quality of leadership behaviour were the main causes of bullying. He rejected the idea that the personal characteristics of the victim are capable of playing any part in the development of bullying at work. This standpoint is also strongly advocated by some victims of bullying and their organisational networks. Other victims and their spokespersons have claimed that bullying is mainly caused by the psychopathic personality of the bully (e.g., Field, 1996).