In the Eye of the Beholder: The Role of Individual Appraisal in the Experience of Workplace Bullying - Implications for Identification, Measurement, and Organisational Management

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Lizzio, Alf

Wilson, Keithia

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2009
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Abstract

The current research examined an apparent conceptual and methodological incongruence within workplace bullying research. The assumption that equates exposure to negative workplace events with the experience of bullying was surfaced and critically examined. The value of the transactional stress framework (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) and in particular the role of individual appraisal in understanding, measuring and responding to workplace bullying was explored. The key question addressed was whether bullying “inheres in the event” or, as predicted by transactional stress theory individual appraisal significantly contributes to perceived victimisation and reported outcomes associated with bullying. A survey-formatted design including both subjective and objective measurement was utilised to reflect the dominant approach to workplace bullying research. However an important innovation to the bullying measurement was included. The objective measurement approach was extended by the inclusion of items to assess rather than assume the extent to which respondents considered each of the negative workplace behaviours as harassing. This direct assessment of respondents’ primary and secondary appraisal of negative workplace behaviour allowed the relative influence of individual appraisal in the bullying process to be examined. A single sample of cross-sectional data collected from a large Australian government department comprised the basis of the reported findings. Four studies were derived from the data and analysed according to specific research questions pertaining to key empirical workplace bullying issues.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy in Organisational Psychology (PhD OrgPsych)

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School of Psychology

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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Public

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Workplace bullying

Organisational management

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