Being the bigger person: Investigating the relationship between workplace bullying exposure and enactment and the role of coping in ending the bullying spiral

Ivana Vranjes*, Denise Salin, Elfi Baillien

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

While most of the workplace bullying research has focused on targets and the devastating consequences they face from being exposed to such negative behaviour, bullying does not occur in a social vacuum. Previous research has suggested that people who are exposed to bullying sometimes engage in such behaviour themselves. In this paper, we wanted to test the reciprocal nature of bullying behaviour over time and potential moderators of this relationship in two studies. In Study 1, using two-wave full panel data, we test whether bullying exposure predicts bullying enactment and vice versa. In Study 2, using another two-wave dataset, we test whether individual coping styles moderate the relationship between bullying exposure and enactment. The results of the two studies provide support for the reciprocal nature of bullying behaviour and show that employees who tend to cope actively and instrumentally with being exposed to bullying have a higher chance of engaging in bullying. The reverse holds for people who tend to cope by disengaging and talking to others. This study has important implications for both the bullying literature and for practitioners working on bullying prevention and resolution.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalWork & Stress
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

Keywords

  • AGE
  • AGGRESSION
  • INCIVILITY
  • SELF-EFFICACY
  • STRATEGIES
  • TARGETS
  • TRAITS
  • WELL
  • WORK
  • Workplace bullying
  • coping
  • emotion focused coping
  • perpetrator
  • problem focused coping
  • target

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