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Witnessing Workplace Bullying: Antecedents and Consequences related to the Organizational Context of the Health Care Sector
Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), Department of Urban Studies (US). Malmö University, Centre for Work Life and Evaluation Studies (CTA).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2077-0243
Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), Department of Urban Studies (US). Malmö University, Centre for Work Life and Evaluation Studies (CTA).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2207-0996
Malmö University, Centre for Work Life and Evaluation Studies (CTA). Malmö University, Faculty of Education and Society (LS), Department of School Development and Leadership (SOL).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5972-4933
2022 (English)In: 13th International Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment Conference, September 20-24, 2022, Book of Abstracts, 2022, p. 87-88Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background and Aims

Workplace bullying is a severe global problem that affect individuals, organizations and society (e.g. Salin & Notelears, 2020). Studies have indicated that workplace bullying is more prevalent in health care than in other sectors. According to a recent systematic review of bullying among health care employees, up to one in four health care professionals are exposed to bullying regularly (Lever et al., 2018).

There has been a growing interest in the area of bystanders of workplace bullying (Coyne et al. 2017), but the role of the bystander, and research focusing on understanding the rationale for bystander behavior, remains an important area of investigation (Thompson et al., 2020). Specifically, additional research is needed in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the connection between the organizational context and bystanders’ behavior. Consequently, the aim of this study is to investigate how different organizational factors relate to bystanders’ behavior in a bullying situation.

In order to analyze the organizational context in relation to workplace bullying and bystanders’ behavior, the Job Demands-Resources theory (JD-R; Bakker & Demerouti, 2017), and the theory of Psychosocial Safety Climate (PSC; Dollard & Bakker, 2010) form the theoretical framework for the study.

Design/Methodology

The present study is a quantitative survey study conducted in the health care sector, with physicians, nurses and assistant nurses as participants. Longitudinal data have been collected through questionnaires at two occasions, about six months apart (N = 1144 responded at both t1 and t2). Demographic questions, as well as scales from the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ II; Pejtersen et al., 2010), and measures of bystander behavior in response to witnessed bullying (Salmivalli et al., 1996; 2011), were included in the survey at both time points. Longitudinal structural equation modelling was conducted to investigate associations between psychosocial factors and bystander behavior over time.

Results

Results indicated that PSC was positively associated with bystanders’ reports of defending the victim. Social support from coworkers, social community at work and perceived illegitimate tasks predicted constructive, passive, and destructive bystander behaviors in expected directions. Conversely, influence, as well as quantitative and emotional demands were counterintuitively related to bystander behaviors over time.

Practical Implications

It is predicted that the health care sector will have a substantial need for staff in the future, while many of the current employees, especially nurses, leave their occupation. Providing a good work environment will be one of the key issues in order to attract, recruit and retain staff in the future. The study generates knowledge that creates opportunities for managers and organizations to work preventively, and increases their ability to understand and handle different types of bullying situations from both the victim’s and witnesses’ perspective.

Originality/Value

This study adds knowledge to the area of bystander behavior in the health care sector, by relating bystander behavior to the organizational context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. p. 87-88
Keywords [en]
Workplace Bullying, Bystander Behavior, Health Care, Job Demands-Resources Theory, Psychosocial Safety Climate
National Category
Work Sciences Psychology
Research subject
Arbete och organisation; Organisational studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-55166OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-55166DiVA, id: diva2:1699042
Conference
13th International Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment Conference, September 20-24, 2022
Part of project
Witnessing workplace bullying, Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and WelfareAvailable from: 2022-09-26 Created: 2022-09-26 Last updated: 2022-12-07Bibliographically approved

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Holm, KristofferJönsson, SandraMuhonen, Tuija

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