Bullying in the workplace is alive and well. And, according to a recent survey, a lack of management skills is one of the reasons it has been allowed to continue. Rebecca Allmark sifts through the results

According to new research released by the Ban Bullying at Work campaign, two-thirds of managers believe a lack of management skills is the major factor contributing to bullying.

The survey questioned 512 senior managers across the UK and revealed that other factors cited by managers included: unrealistic targets (27 per cent), authoritarian management styles (56 per cent), personality (57 per cent) and failure to address incidents (37 per cent).

The results also showed regional variations in mangers' attitudes to workplace bullying. In the North East, the figure is higher than the national average, with 74 per cent of respondents saying that lack of management skills was the major factor contributing to workplace bullying. In the South West, the most influential factor was said to be personality (66 per cent).

Chief executive of banbullyingatwork.com Lyn Witheridge said: 'It is clear that managers now acknowledge that bullying behaviour in the workplace takes many forms and creates deep repercussions. In fact, bullying costs UK businesses£18m per year and one in four people have experienced bullying in the workplace.'

The survey asked managers what they believed to be the most prolific type of bullying used. Misuse of power was cited by 71 per cent, while 63 per cent said it was overbearing supervision and 55 per cent exclusion.

'We are challenging businesses to speak out against bullying to create workplaces where employees can see clearly that bullying behaviours will not be tolerated,' continued Ms Witheridge. 'We want to inspire managers to speak out and instil a culture where business is not frightened to stand up to the bullies.'

The main reasons why organisations should deal with bullying at work were said to be low morale (66 per cent), falling productivity (37 per cent) and absenteeism (24 per cent).

Jo Causon, director of marketing and corporate affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, said: 'The impact that bullying has on employees is felt by those who are victims and those who witness it. Poor management is often at the root of the problem since staff at all levels lack the skills to tackle the issue. Not only do employers need to equip individuals with the ability to manage conflict, they need to create an open, empowering culture to ensure that the potential for bullying is minimised.'

Ban Bullying at Work day will take place on 7 November. For more information, visit http://www.banbullyingatwork.com/ and www.managers.org.uk/bullying