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    Accounts of workplace bullying: the role of the organization

    Liefooghe, A.P.D. and Mackenzie-Davey, Kate (2001) Accounts of workplace bullying: the role of the organization. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 10 (4), pp. 375-392. ISSN 1359-432X.

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    In over a decade of research into bullying at work, the focus has been on defining, measuring, and explaining the essential nature of the bullying phenomenon. This focus has positioned the individual as the main unit of analysis, with the organization acting as a facilitating backdrop. By assuming a critical research position as opposed to the dominant positivist tradition from which most of the bullying research emanates, attention can be drawn to additional and marginalized accounts. Our research does not offer a definition of bullying—rather, we examine the implications of the different ways in which the term bullying is used. This paper uses data from a case study in a large telecommunications company's call centres. We demonstrate that while employees use the pathologized individual and the facilitating environment to account for bullying, in addition they use the notion of the pathologized organization. This additional narrative brings issues of power and politics in organizations to the fore. Taking a critical management approach, we focus on employee accounts of the oppressive impact of power structures. We argue that marginalizing certain accounts functions to maintain the organizational power balance. By using the term bullying to describe their work experience, employees in this study sought to employ an emotive and highly charged term to highlight their discontent at increasingly difficult work situations.


    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Business, Economics & Informatics > Organizational Psychology
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2021 17:13
    Last Modified: 19 Jan 2021 17:13


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