Skip to content

Round two! redefining bullying at work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

This paper examines conceptualization of the field of study that is 'workplace bullying'. Contemporary British and Australasian researchers have used 'bullying' as a term since the inception of their research which can be traced back to the mid 1990's (e.g. Adams, 1992, Rayner, 1997; McCarthy, Sheehan & Kearns, 1995). Bullying as a term in Europe is supplanting 'mobbing' which was been used in early Scandinavian and German work (e.g. Groeblinghoff & Becker, 1996). The picture in the USA is more fragmented, and the paper discusses these nomaclamentures by distinguishing between what is harmed (e.g. reputation, opportunities for advancement, self confidence) and how it is harmed (e.g. incivility, aggression, verbal abuse). The paper uses Analoui's (1995) three parameters of style, form and motive to provide delineation of negative experience at work and the subsets within it. The author continues to use (as an overarching term) 'bullying' and explores its definition by examining how the area has been studied, discussing the key parameters: the behaviors experienced, the persistency of those behaviors, whether or not targets of bullying need to label themselves, whether or not bullying should have had a negative effect on targets, and finally whether or not there must be an imbalance of power between the parties. A short review of contemporary work identifies how the problem can be viewed from several basic perspectives. Most commonly bullying is seen to be an interpersonal issue (i.e. between individuals). A growing area of study, led largely by those who seek to make preventative interventions, has focused on the group level and has examined how group norms can uphold bullying behaviors. Finally at the corporate level, the possibility of the 'organization as bully' is emerging. Clearly each of these approaches will utilize different underpinning theoretical bases, and this might be one reason for the apparent conceptual untidiness within the field. It is suggested that researchers must have a clear idea of the 'slice' of the domain they are studying and acknowledge they are part of a wider whole.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002
EventThe Academy of Management Meeting 2002: Building Effective Networks - Denver, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 200214 Aug 2002

Conference

ConferenceThe Academy of Management Meeting 2002
CountryUnited States
CityDenver
Period9/08/0214/08/02

Related information

Relations Get citation (various referencing formats)

ID: 191536