One of the world’s leading genomics centres, the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Hinxton, UK, has also investigated claims of bullying.
But the decision to clear the Sanger’s management of this and other allegations has led some of those who complained to question the scope and extent of the probe.
‘Tough’ supervisors are not bullies if they set up clear expectations and communicate them directly to reportees.
They will also acknowledge and appreciate staff members who meet those expectations.
If employees do not achieve their goals, good supervisors will give specific and constructive feedback, she says.
Naomi Ellemers, a social psychologist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands who has studied how people are treated in academia, adds that supervisors on the right side of the line will give people the time, support and resources to achieve their goals, and treat them respectfully.
But Keashley thinks that this needs to change so that the behaviour can be better managed.
Her research, which draws on published evidence of bullying in academia from around the world, suggests that, in general, one-quarter to one-third of academics say that they have been bullied in the past year.
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In August, accusations of bullying roiled the Institute of Cancer Research in London, one of the leading science centres in the United Kingdom.