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

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

5

Empirical findings on bullying in the workplace

Dieter Zapf, Ståle Einarsen, Helge Hoel and Maarit Vartia


Introduction

This chapter aims at summarising some descriptive empirical findings of bullying in the workplace. We will start with the frequency and the duration of bullying, the number, gender and status of bullies and victims, distribution of bullying across branches and the use of various categories of bullying. The empirical basis of this chapter is restricted to studies carried out in Europe.

The phenomenon of bullying, which includes being exposed to persistent insults or offensive remarks, persistent criticism, personal or even physical abuse, has been labelled 'mobbing at work' in some Scandinavian and German countries (Leymann, 1996) and 'bullying at work' in many English-speaking countries (Liefooghe and Olafsson, 1999). Typically, a victim is constantly teased, badgered and insulted, and perceives that he or she has little recourse to retaliate in kind. Bullying may take the form of open verbal or physical attacks on the victim, but may also take the form of more subtle acts, such as excluding or isolating the victim from his or her peer group (Einarsen et al., 1994; Leymann, 1996; Zapf et al., 1996). The following definition of bullying or mobbing seems to be widely agreed upon (Einarsen et al., this volume; cf. Einarsen, 2000; Einarsen and Skogstad, 1996; Leymann, 1993b; Zapf, 1999a):

Bullying at work means harassing, offending, socially excluding someone or negatively affecting someone's work tasks. In order for the label bullying (or mobbing) to be applied to a particular activity, interaction or process it has to occur repeatedly and regularly (e.g. weekly) and over a period of time (e.g. about six months). Bullying is an escalating process in the course of which the person confronted ends up in an inferior position and becomes the target of systematic negative social acts. A conflict cannot be called bullying if the incident is an isolated event or if two parties of approximately equal 'strength' are in conflict.

(Einarsen et al., this volume, p. 15)

-103-

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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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