The majority of the extant literature on workplace bullying has focused on bullying as an interpersonal phenomenon rather than examine its structural contributors. Similarly, few studies have examined players in bullying and organisational antecedents at the same time. This study provides a three-way view and understanding of how and why bullying happens in organisations from the perspectives of targets, Human Resource (HR) professionals, and bystanders by examining organisational antecedents of bullying using Salin’s (2003b) workplace bullying conceptual framework. Salin’s (2003b) conceptual framework on workplace bullying provided a lens through which to examine and explain organisational contributors to bullying in the workplace. Data were collected through qualitative interviews with targets and HR professionals and focus group discussions with bystanders. Salin’s (2003b) framework was used to structure the interview questions, the focus group agenda and for initial data analysis. The study’s key findings point to the significance of incorporating societal context in understanding organisational factors which make bullying possible and more likely to occur. The study thus makes a significant contribution to a theoretical conceptual level by refining and expanding Salin’s (2003b) framework and including societal context as a structural contributor to bullying in the workplace. On a methodological level, the use of qualitative methods makes a contribution to research conducted by South African scholars. Previous South African research on bullying was primarily conducted through surveys aimed at determining the extent of bullying prevalence in the workplace, whereas this study seeks to understand bullying from the participants’ subjective experiences. Lastly, the study makes a contribution on the practical level by providing organisations, HR professionals and bystanders with insights and mechanisms they can use to heighten awareness around the prevalence of bullying in the workplace, as well as ways in which they can prevent and/or handle bullying incidents when they occur.