Definition of bullying:
Bulling is conduct that cannot be objectively justified by a reasonable code of conduct, and whose likely or actual cumulative effect is to threaten, undermine, constrain, humiliate or harm another person or their property, reputation, self-esteem, self-confidence or ability to perform. Tim Field Foundation 2015
From the many definitions that have been created, and considering our understanding of what bullying is, we coined this definition in 2015, and we believe it is unambiguous and that it cannot be used by a rational person to define innocent or legitimate behaviour as bullying.
Pre-existing definitions, some of which helped us formulate the above, are here:
Persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour, abuse of power, or unfair punishment which upsets, threatens and/or humiliates the recipient(s), undermining their self-confidence, reputation and ability to perform. Derived from "Bullying at work: how to tackle it. A guide for MSF representatives and members: MSF 1995
When considering the reasonableness of the conduct in question, the perpetrator can be expected to give an innocent reason for their actions. However, their claimed intention does not define the reasonableness of their conduct: The prime consideration must be the effect of the conduct on the recipient.
Context is everything. The persistence, the pattern and the effect of incidents which are, in isolation, trivial, creates the context in which those incidents can be regarded as bullying. Examples of the sort of incidents and the patterns are given below. Accusing someone of wrongdoing whilst knowing there are no grounds to do so is not fair and cannot be done in good faith, undermines a person's reputation and self confidence and is therefore bullying. Conversely, making a complaint, holding someone to account for substandard work or conduct, reporting malpractice etc, done with honest justification, fairly and in good faith, is not "bullying".