Work-place bullying: A group processes framework

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Abstract

Work-place bullying is primarily conceptualized in the literature from an individual or interpersonal perspective with a focus on the victim. The impact of the broader organizational context on bullying has also been considered to a lesser extent. Only a small amount of research exists, however, regarding the group-level processes that impact on the incidence and maintenance of bullying behaviour. We adopt a group level perspective to theoretically discuss and explain the processes involved in the occurrence and maintenance of work-place bullying behaviours. Using Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986) and Social Rules Theory (Argyle, Henderson, & Furnham, 1985), two conceptual frameworks are presented that consider work-place bullying at the intra-group and inter-group levels. Several propositions are put forward regarding the likelihood of bullying in work groups. Suggested directions for empirical research are addressed and practical implications are also discussed.

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