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Bullying and harassment: a case of success?

Judy Pate (University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)
Phillip Beaumont (University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 5 January 2010




This paper aims to examine an attempt by an organisation to address the significant problem of bullying and harassment. In doing so the paper particularly centres on the question of how the relative success of bullying and harassment policies might be measured.


The paper is based on a quantitative longitudinal study of a single organisation.


The findings revealed that there was a significant reduction in perceptions of bullying in the organisation. The level of trust in senior management, however, was not enhanced as a result of the success.

Research limitations/implications

The study emphasises the need for further research on measuring the outcomes of bullying and harassment policies and also work is required to further the understanding of trust between senior management and their workforce.

Practical implications

The paper highlights the importance, and difficulties, in assessing the success of policies such as bullying and harassment. In many respects this paper contains a mixed message for senior managers. Employees may acknowledge the impact of management actions on reducing the level of bullying and harassment but was not associated with a noticeable improvement of trust in senior management.


There is a plethora of literature on understanding the complexities and effects of workplace bullying. The literature, however, is relatively silent on the issue of measuring success of a policy and this paper seeks to contribute discussion on the subject.



Pate, J. and Beaumont, P. (2010), "Bullying and harassment: a case of success?", Employee Relations, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 171-183.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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