The role of the psychosocial safety climate in coping with workplace bullying: A grounded theory and sequential tree analysis

Kwan, Sharon Sam Mee and Maureen F. Dollard and Michelle R. Tuckey (2016) The role of the psychosocial safety climate in coping with workplace bullying: A grounded theory and sequential tree analysis. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 25 (1). pp. 133-148. ISSN 1359-432X (Print), 1464-0643 (Online)


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Workplace bullying is a severe workplace stressor that affects both employees and organizations. Despite a wealth of research of the prevalence of workplace bullying and its correlates, little research has been done on the process of bullying. In a qualitative study, based on the grounded theory approach, we examine the role of psychosocial safety climate (PSC) in influencing employees’ coping strategies and ultimately the escalation of bullying. Interviews were conducted with 20 Malaysian workers from various organizational settings, who also completed a 12-item PSC scale. The analysis revealed that coping strategies took the form of a modified exit-voice-loyalty-neglect (EVLN) model, whereby acquiescence replaced loyalty in the matrix. In turn, five escalation patterns of bullying were identified, linked to the coping options used by employees. We found that employees tended to voice in high PSC contexts, which led to swift resolution of bullying. In low PSC contexts, employees tended to neglect or acquiesce before exiting the organization because the bullying remained unresolved, which was revealed in four different trajectories of escalation without resolution. These results emphasize the influence of the organizational climate for psychosocial safety in shaping the coping options available to bullied workers, and the likely success of these strategies.

Item Type: Article
Keyword: Workplace bullying, escalation, psychosocial safety climate, coping strategies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28-9999 Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28-70 Management. Industrial management > HD58.7-58.95 Organizational behavior, change and effectiveness. Corporate culture
Department: FACULTY > Faculty of Psychology and Education
Depositing User: ADMIN ADMIN
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2016 12:59
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2017 13:38

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