There  are several different schools of thoughts about how one becomes a persistent workplace aggressor. Some people believe that aggressors in the workplace have personality disorders or have personalities that hinder their ability to be a collegial and cohesive co-worker; Thus, transforming the workplace into a hostile and toxic environment that is problematic for everyone.The persistent aggressive workplace is also often culpable for creating the aggressors that plague the environment. In this type of culture, both targets and bystanders become significantly at-risk for becoming aggressors themselves because of the lack of effective interventions to stop persistent workplace aggression.

Targets are often in danger of moving into the role of the aggressor because of the fluidity of the persistent workplace aggressive environment. The role of target(s), aggressor(s), and/or bystander(s) in the workplace may change, particularly as workers come and go. A persistent workplace aggressive environment typically does not heal itself without intervention. As such, despite the fact that people leave, the environment continues to maintain the status quo of aggression by creating and generating new targets, aggressors, and bystanders. Therefore, roles of the persistent workplace aggressive culture change. For example, the target becomes the aggressor or a bystander becomes a target.

How could someone whose been emotionally and/or psychologically abused in a persistent workplace aggressive environment transform into the aggressor? The answer to this, unfortunately, is very simple. It is more beneficial to be the aggressor in the workplace than it is to be the target. As such, given the opportunity, the target may move into this role over time because experiencing workplace aggression is extremely dis-empowering and disheartening. A target’s personal and professional esteem takes major hits on a regular basis.

On the other hand, being an aggressor is extremely empowering and rewarding in the work environment. Over time, the target learns that their professional world is unlikely to change or even improve unless they modify their role into one that is more powerful. They elect, either consciously or unconsciously, to become aggressive because this allows them to get and maintain power in the workplace. This is something they may not have felt or had in a very long time. It feels good and unfortunately, the aggressive behavior may re-energize the target’s work efforts. Therefore, the target transforms into the persistent workplace aggressor to regain control in their professional life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing persistent workplace aggression, please contact me at jankircher@jankircher.com or (320) 309-2360 for a consultation. You can also visit my website at jankircher.com. Help is out there.



07/06/2016 9:23am

Hello there, I discovered your blog by the use of Google even as searching for a similar topic, your website came up, it seems to be great. I've bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.


A good workplace is indeed very essential if you want your employees to perform their best in the work that has been assigned to them. If the environment in your work seems to be really good, then people tend to feel really motivated. As for the employers, please make your employees feel they're worth because they are one of the reasons of the success of the company. Learn to appreciate what you have because these people are indeed worth appreciating.

07/09/2017 11:24pm

Thanks for this information.

07/22/2017 7:07am

I really thank you for the valuable info on this great subject and look forward to more great posts


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