Our findings: bullying behaviours - Museums Association

Our findings: bullying behaviours

We asked respondents to reflect on the bullying behaviours they experienced using 21 predefined examples. The respondents could select as many that applied.

The most common experiences were as follows:

experienced the minimisation of role and contribution
for example downplaying suggestions and ideas
experienced overly critical comments about work without justification and/or micromanagement
experienced perpetrators limiting access to essential information
experienced being undermined in public and private
for example by spreading rumours
experienced being humiliated by perpetrators
experienced the projection of blame
for example being used as a scapegoat or the reason for poor quality work
experienced perpetrators controlling contact with professional colleagues
for example forbidding contact or conversations with others

The following experiences of perpetrators were also described:

  • 49% experienced aggressive behaviour
  • 49% experienced unnecessarily and constantly changing priorities
  • 48% experienced a lack of responsiveness – for example not responding to emails, questions or phone calls
  • 45% experienced the perpetrator taking credit for work or actions
  • 45% experienced the perpetrator limiting opportunities for training and/or promotion
  • 39% experienced the removal of responsibilities
  • 33% experienced threats or comments relating to job security
  • 32% experienced the imposition of blatantly unfair workload
  • 25% experienced direct harassment based on a protected characteristic – age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marital status and civil partnership, race and ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity
  • 21% experienced physical intrusion into personal space and belongings
  • 21% experienced unwanted jokes
  • 19% experienced name-calling
  • 15% experienced persistent unreasonable communication outside working hours from the perpetrator
  • Only 9% of respondents experienced cyberbullying, via social media, emails

In addition to these 21 predefined descriptions of bullying behaviours, respondents were invited to share their experiences more broadly. These are some of the examples of bullying behaviours they described:

  • Falsified appraisal content and fake signatures
  • Reading another person’s emails
  • Use of derogatory bodily and facial gestures
  • Not allowed same amount of holiday as others
  • Denied full maternity leave
  • ‘I am your director; you will do what I say’
  • Threats to report to board of trustees
  • Threats of redundancy
  • Spied on with CCTV
  • Sharing pictures of victim on social media without consent
  • Noose with disjointed figure left hanging
  • Requests for after work meet-ups
  • Calling while drunk out of hours