Does workplace bullying matter? A descriptive study of the lived experience of the female professional target

by Hintz Klein, Anne M., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2012, 205 pages; 3518067


The phenomenon of workplace bullying continues to receive attention from both scholars and practitioners. Research into workplace bullying began in Europe in the 1990s, with U.S. interest beginning in the 2000s. Practitioners' level of interest in workplace bullying has been slower in the United States than other countries, which is similar to the scholarly attention. The attention has been increasing due to the significant negative consequences for the target, organization, colleagues who witnessed the bullying behavior, and society. In addition to multiple terms used to identify workplace bullying and the negative consequences, there are also multiple definitions. In order to aid in further research, this study identified four requirements in order for the participant to be considered a target of a workplace bully. Utilizing this definition, 20 targets were recruited to participate in an in-depth, semistructured interview. To describe the lived experience of the female professional target of workplace bullying, qualitative methodology was deployed with a phenomenological approach. The findings of this research study both supported and contradicted the existing literature. The findings supported the literature related to the bullying behaviors and target actions. Where these findings contradicted existing research was in regard to finite impact on the target, the target's actions, the organization's actions, and actions by colleagues who witnessed the bullying. Specifically, these findings were more concentrated versus the broader findings related to all targets of workplace bullying. The findings portrayed the workplace bully's, and in some instances, the organization's, relentless pursuit to terminate the target; while the target typically received only indirect support from colleagues. The participant's continued focus on the reasons for being a target led to strong documentation of the situation that results in target learning from the experience. In essence, the lived experiences of female professional targets of workplace bullying are different. In the end, bullying in the workplace matters and must be addressed to eliminate the negative consequences for the presence of the phenomenon in an organization.

AdviserRubye Braye
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsWomen's studies; Management; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3518067

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