Bullying or Structural Problems?

Friday, 23 November 2012 10:17
I mentioned the other day that I had been coaching my cousin who was being bullied at work in New Zealand. Some of the issues that arose are worth sharing for their general interest. My cousin worked for an organisation based in one city but it had staff placed in other cities around the country working with partner organisations. Line management remained with the organisation in the home city, but co-operation and day to day partnership working held things together in each centre around the country.

This is similar to the way local government; the voluntary sector and the health service have worked here in the UK. During my time in London Borough of Ealing there was co-location with the Primary Care Trust as was and in general the system worked really well. The system had broken down for my cousin because she had been placed in a city where the manager of the team she worked with objected to the structure and partnership/co-location model. She was adamant that she should be line managing my cousin. Having lost her case to have the system changed she started to bully my cousin and make complaints about her to the home organisation.

This goes to show that when dealing with cases of bullying, structural management problems can often be at the root cause of the bullying. We tend to think that everything is based on performance or personality clashes but sometimes there are issues outside the immediate control of the victim and bully.

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