Empowering bystanders to counter workplace verbal bullying: construction of a new instrument

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Workplace bullying is a pervasive and persistent problem all over the world. The impact on an individual's mental health can lead to behavioural changes, social and financial problems. In the UK, for 2007 the financial burden of this phenomenon was estimated to be billions of pounds. Evidence is available for antecedents and outcomes. Bullying reduction strategies have focused on the target, the organisation and the perpetrator with no evidence of successful workplace interventions. The role of the bystander has been suggested as a potential next direction for bullying research. Historically, bystander research has addressed non-intervention. What is long overdue is a counter- strategy. Using Schlenker's Accountability Pyramid as a framework a new bystander intervention strategy has been designed. A large UK organisation have volunteered to be part of this study. They have tracked bullying behaviours, quantifying verbal bullying as the predominant issue. As no instrument exist for bystanders who counter verbal bullying at work this paper will address the construction. Analysis of a pilot survey of Portsmouth Business School students indicated that, after refinements, the survey provides a reliable instrument with potential for use by researchers and practitioners. Pivotal to the larger study which will manipulate variables based on Schlenker's Accountability Pyramid, this original instrument will be used for pre and post intervention measurements

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Portsmouth Business School 7th Postgraduate Research Student Conference
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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