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Bullying in the Indian workplace: a study of the ITES-BPO sector

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This article reports on an empirical enquiry undertaken in India’s ITES-BPO (offshoringoutsourcing) sector to ascertain the presence of workplace bullying, the influence of sociocultural factors, the nature of bullying categories and the availability and use of extra-organizational redressal options. Survey data, gathered through structured interviews incorporating the Work Harassment Scale, conducted with 1036 respondents located in six cities, showed that 44.3% of the sample experienced bullying, with 19.7% reporting moderate and severe levels. In keeping with India’s hierarchical society, superiors emerged as the predominant source of bullying, displaying task-focused behaviours. Yet, the presence of ‘cross-level co-bullying’ where a personal focus was emphasized points to the role of identity-based affiliations intrinsic to India’s ethos. Key informant data, gathered through unstructured interviews with lawyers/legal activists, labour commissioners and trade unionists/labour activists and thematically analysed, underscored the influence of professional self-identity, career interests and a dysfunctional judicial system in targets’ choice of extra-organizational options.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-619
Number of pages23
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

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