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The presumption of mutual influence in occurrences of workplace bullying: time for change

Martin, Suzanne, Klein, Axel (2013) The presumption of mutual influence in occurrences of workplace bullying: time for change. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 5 (3). pp. 147-155. ISSN 1759-6599. (doi:10.1108/JACPR-03-2013-0008) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:34878)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JACPR-03-2013-0008

Abstract

Purpose – The self-reports of bullies or victims of workplace bullying appear to result in confused

responses that fail to clarify who is doing what to whom. The research reported in this paper aimed to

examine how staff from human resources and occupational health conceptualized and assessed cases of

alleged bullying.

Design/methodology/approach – The research relied on semi-structured interviews with managers,

human resource staff, occupational health staff, mediators, trade union representatives, and staff members

who were both victims and alleged perpetrators of bullying. The staff contributing came from an NHS trust,

two universities and a criminal justice agency.

Findings – Staff were reluctant to document or reveal information about the frequency and severity of

bullying within their services. Despite this, three key themes emerged from the interviews that seemed to

inform individual and organisational responses: the ethos of professionalism, the ambiguous role of human

resources and the presumption of mutuality.

Research limitations/implications – Reliance on interpretations of workplace bullying that defend both

individual staff members and the organization had implications for victims. By not naming reported problems

as bullying, the organization could limit its responsibility to act. Failure to identify and document bullying

limited the research but also poorly served victimized individuals.

Practical implications – Services require training to help them move beyond a presumption that the

self-reports of bullies are a reliable source of assessment data.

Social implications – Effective identification and assessment of bullying situations would be the first step

towards reducing the psychological impact of the problem. Experience of workplace bullying is highly

correlated with health and mental health problems of targeted individuals.

Originality/value – This paper capitalizes on insights from the field of domestic violence in highlighting the

need for clarity about the nature of coercive control. The paper will be valuable to individuals and

organisations charged with the task of tackling workplace bullying.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/JACPR-03-2013-0008
Uncontrolled keywords: Workplace bullying, Domestic violence, Coercive control, Assessment, Mutuality, Bullying
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Divisions > Directorate of Education > School of Education
Depositing User: Tony Rees
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2013 08:48 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2021 14:38 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/34878 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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