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

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

21

Bullying, emotions and the learning organisation

Michael J. Sheehan and Peter J. Jordan


Introduction

Existing research into workplace bullying has dealt with the legal implications of bullying (Yamada, this volume), the costs of bullying to the organisation (Hoel et al., this volume) and to society (Sheehan et al., 2001). There also has been a focus on the characteristics exhibited by bullies and victims (O'Moore et al., 1998), the psychological consequences of bullying (Leymann, 1996), the physical and work-related consequences of bullying (McCarthy et al., 1995) and the initial and long-term effects of being bullied (Einarsen and Mikkelsen, this volume). Whereas this research has mostly focused on the cognitive aspects of bullying and the consequences for individuals and organisations, we argue in this chapter that to develop workplace remedies to bullying, managers need to understand the emotional aspects of bullying.

A central tenet of this chapter is that bullying emerges from emotional as well as cognitive processes. From an individual perspective, Goleman (1998) argues that personal behaviour is more of a function of emotional regulation than of rational or cognitive processes. Ashforth and Humphrey (1995) and Fineman (2000) offer a similar view at the organisational level, arguing that work life is intrinsically emotional and value-based, and that ostensibly rational organisational behaviour reflects the extent to which organisational members are able to reconcile emotional issues in the workplace. We propose that understanding the emotional elements involved in bullying expands the number of potential remedies which may ameliorate the incidence of bullying in organisations. This approach is consistent with Ashforth and Humphrey's (1995) call for the incorporation of emotional variables in organisational behaviour research. We argue, first of all, that emotionally driven actions and reactions contribute to bullying. Second, we suggest that the principles that underpin an understanding of organisations as learning organisations may be used to address these emotional actions and reactions, and to ameliorate the prevalence and severity of bullying.

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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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