Wolverhampton's vice-chancellor blames the outside world for the stress his staff feel, but that's perhaps a bit easy (Letters, THES , November 23).
The world outside sets inconsistent aims for us and rarely praises or rewards us, but senior management too often echoes this and is particulary poor at setting priorities.
My institution defines bullying as "setting arbitrary or unreasonable workloads or deadlines" and "conduct - aggressive or otherwise - that over time undermines an individual's self-confidence".
Academics suffer systemic bullying because senior management is too weak to defend its staff against outside pressure.
The result is unreasonable workloads and the undermining of self-confidence.
Department of history
University of Southampton