SUPERVISORS' TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND BULLYING IN THE WORKPLACE1, 2

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Abstract

Summary.

The study tests the relationship between supervisors' transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership and perceived bullying in the workplace. Transformational and transactional leaders can create conditions that make bullying at work less frequent but laissez-faire leadership may cause conflict that can result in bullying. The participants were 288 adults (122 women, 164 men; M age = 38.9 yr., SD= 11.7; M tenure = 7.2 yr.) employed across several organizations. Of the participants, 53.2% were contacted during an evening class in organizational behavior, and the others were workers from a waterproofing company. Scales measuring perceived leadership of a supervisor and perceived bullying at work were administered. Supervisor's transformational and transactional leadership were negatively related to work-related bullying, person-related bullying, and physically intimidating bullying. Transactional leadership was also negatively related to Work-related bullying, perceived Person-related bullying, and perceived Physically intimidating bullying. Supervisor's laissez-faire leadership was positively related to Work-related bullying, perceived Person-related bullying, and perceived Physically intimidating bullying. The use of Bass's model of transformational leadership in relation with the three-factor structure of the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised is unique in research on leadership and bullying. The relationship between laissez-faire leadership and leadership support results from previous studies: transactional or transformational leadership is likely to provide an environment that makes bullying more rare than under a negative or passive leadership.

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