Bullying and Emotional Abuse in the Workplace: International Perspectives in Research and Practice

By Ståle Einarsen; Helge Hoel et al. | Go to book overview

Preface

Over the last decade research into bullying, emotional abuse and harassment at work, primarily of a non-physical nature, as distinct from sexual and racial harassment, has emerged as a new field of study in Europe, Australia, South Africa and the USA. European research into this problem started in Scandinavia in the 1980s and spread during the late 1990s to many other European countries as well as to Australia. Using the concept of 'mobbing' in the context of work Heinz Leymann was inspired by progress in the study of aggressive behaviour among schoolchildren, aimed at singling out individual children for negative treatment, to pioneer systematic studies of similar types of behaviour in the world of work. The focus of this approach, which has gained considerable momentum in recent years, is the process whereby hostile and aggressive behaviour is directed systematically at one or more colleagues or subordinates, leading to a stigmatisation and victimisation of the target. Central to any definition of 'mobbing', referred to as 'bullying' in most English-speaking countries, is the enduring and repeated nature of the negative behaviour to which the target is being exposed.

Despite several commendable attempts, it was only with the work of Loraleigh Keashly in the 1990s that a coherent conceptual framework of workplace bullying emerged in the USA. The American psychiatrist Carroll Brodsky published an extensive report on the issue of bullying at work in 1976, entitled the The harassed worker, but it appears that this book only had an impact much later. Rather, the US research in the area of hostile behaviours that may be relevant to workplace bullying is found in a variety of literatures, using many different concepts such as workplace aggression, emotional abuse, generalised workplace abuse, mistreatment and workplace harassment. Applying the term 'emotional abuse', Keashly highlights the prolonged suffering identified with the concept of bullying at work. This approach places the conflict process right at the centre of attention by focusing on interpersonal conflict in the workplace, involving behaviour which is unwanted and unwelcome, and which is perceived as abusive, inappropriate and offensive by the recipient of such behaviour, as well as the standard of behaviour which may be seen as unreasonable, and which appears to violate an individual's rights.

-xiii-

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Bullying and Emotional Abuse in the Workplace: International Perspectives in Research and Practice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Part 1 - The Problem 1
  • 1 - The European Tradition 3
  • 2 - American Perspectives on Workplace Bullying 31
  • 3 - Basic Facts and an Effective Intervention Programme 62
  • 4 - What is Sexual Harassment? 79
  • Part 2 - The Evidence 101
  • 5 - Introduction 103
  • 6 - Introduction 127
  • 7 - Introduction 145
  • Part 3 - Explaining the Problem 163
  • 8 - Victims and Perpetrators 165
  • 9 - A Social Interactionist Perspective 185
  • 10 - Introduction 203
  • 11 - Why Should We Listen to Employee Accounts? 219
  • 12 - A Postmodern Experience 231
  • 13 - Development, Implementation and Monitoring 247
  • 14 - Introduction 259
  • 15 - Introduction 270
  • 16 - The Role of Occupational Health Services 285
  • 17 - A Systematic Approach Model 299
  • 18 - The Example of South Africa 312
  • 19 - Introduction 327
  • 20 - Introduction 339
  • 21 - Introduction 359
  • 22 - A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing? 370
  • 23 - The Collective Dimension 383
  • 24 - Towards a Transnational Consensus? 399
  • 25 - The Way Forward 412
  • Subject Index 417
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