No 20 - A multipronged approach to the regulation of workplace bullying

Author/s (editor/s):

Braithwaite, Valerie

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

This paper reviews the substantial body of research on workplace bullying with a view to developing a regulatory framework for controlling and preventing bullying problems. The paper argues that Top down approaches in dealing with workplace bullying are unlikely to be effective; Local knowledge, understanding and capacity are crucial to managing workplace bullying; Workplace bullying is an interpersonal issue that can be triggered and sustained by a host of factors including the personalities of the people involved, the norms of the workplace, structural features of the work, management style and emotional well-being; Workplace bullying can be understood as a competitive struggle of oneupmanship that locks individuals into bullying/victim roles; Better management of shame is at the heart of workplace bullying problems; Because of the complex set of factors leading to shame and shaping bullying, a multipronged approach is necessary that engages all levels of the organization. This might include organisational policy, organizational backing of local plans for managing bullying, mentoring, counselling, restorative justice conferencing, overhaul of work structures and practices, and mediation; Where workgroups communicate well, show respect for each other, are fair and open in their dealings with each other and are supported by their senior officers, compliance with policies such as anti-bullying is likely to be higher.

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Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet