Ian Edmondson: 'It's not a democracy in a newspaper'
Ian Edmondson, the paper's former news editor told the inquiry that the problem emanated from its editor Colin Myler.
Asked by Robert Jay QC if there was a "culture of bullying" at the now-defunct Sunday paper, Edmondson replied: "The answer's yes.
"Every part of the paper is dictated and controlled by the editor. You don't do anything unless you are told to do something."
He later added: "If there wasn't a culture of bullying, you would have seen an alternative product.
"It's not a democracy in a newspaper. It's autocratic."
Edmondson, who was suspended from the News of the World last January, has brought an employment tribunal claim against News Group Newspapers, which owned the Sunday tabloid, and told the inquiry: "I really don't want to go into specifics."
He said there were "elements" of bullying at his previous title, the People, but "nowhere near" that of the News of the World. He said he had no experience of bullying during his time working in the regional press.
Edmondson was asked about the discussions that took place at the News of the World that led to private investigator Derek Webb being asked to join the National Union of Journalists to obtain a press card.
He said: "I do remember having conversations with the editor and managing editor about asking him to join the NUJ."
National Union of Journalists general secretary Michelle Stanistreet will appear at the Leveson inquiry later today, and is likely to be asked about the issuing of press cards.
Earlier this week, Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre suggested tougher restrictions on who could obtain the card.