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

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

10

Organisational antecedents of workplace bullying

Helge Hoel and Denise Salin


Introduction

The terms 'workplace bullying' and 'mobbing' appear to have struck a chord with large sections of the workforce even though there is little unanimity in perception or articulation of the terms among employees (see Liefooghe and Mackenzie Davey, this volume). The interest in the issue may reflect the sheer magnitude of the problem, which, depending upon the definition applied, might directly affect between 5 and 20 per cent of the working population (Hoel and Cooper, 2000; UNISON, 1997). Together with the apparent effects upon individuals and organisations (Einarsen and Mikkelsen, this volume; Hoel, Einarsen and Cooper, this volume), growing concerns about the changing context within which bullying arises can also be considered to play a part in the attention currently paid to the problem. Thus, a number of studies conclude that victims of bullying report a more negative work environment than those who were not bullied (Ashforth, 1994; Björkqvist et al., 1994; Einarsen et al., 1994; Vartia, 1996), and that the worst work environment is associated with those most severely bullied (Zapf et al., 1996b).

There are other reasons to explain why it enjoys such a high profile. In the UK, for example, the concept has been embraced by the trade union movement, as it has enabled unions to brand a range of unfair treatment and practices as types of workplace harassment or bullying at a time when the union movement has been weakened (Lewis, 2000) The fact that bullying lends itself well to complaints from individuals, as well as to more collective strategies, also makes it an ideal campaigning issue (Lee, 2000). Moreover, by referring to the issues of violence and bullying as a health and safety issue, the unions may also succeed in airing their grievances and focusing on management practices where such opportunities may otherwise have been limited (Mullen, 1997).

Although not mutually exclusive, broadly speaking three sets of explanatory models have been advanced to account for the problem: (1) a focus on personality characteristics of perpetrator and victim; (2) inherent characteristics of human interactions within organisations; and (3) factors related to the work organisation of a contextual or environmental nature

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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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