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Restless and confused: Emotional responses to workplace bullying in men and women

Céleste M. Brotheridge (Département d'organisation et ressources humaines, ESG‐UQAM, Montréal, Canada)
Raymond T. Lee (Department of Business Administration, I. H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 30 November 2010

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the nature of the emotions experienced by targets of bullying in the workplace.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 180 employees in Canada took part in a cross‐sectional self‐report survey study.

Findings

The study found that, for men, in the presence of belittlement and work being undermined, verbal abuse was negatively associated with confusion, suggesting an active coping strategy. In contrast, for women, in the presence of belittlement and work being undermined, verbal abuse was positively associated with confusion, suggesting a passive coping strategy.

Research limitations/implications

Although this study's cross‐sectional methodology provided a static snapshot of the emotions of bullying, it may be informative to capture emotions as they arise in response to specific episodes and forms of bullying as well as in response to repeated acts of bullying.

Practical implications

Workers should be offered resources for understanding and coping constructively with their emotions, training in interpersonal sensitivity to become more aware of and responsive to others' feelings, and the opportunity to work in respectful workplace climates.

Originality/value

Specific emotions were examined that are associated with exposure to different forms of bullying, and the career‐related implications of these findings are discussed.

Keywords

Citation

Brotheridge, C.M. and Lee, R.T. (2010), "Restless and confused: Emotional responses to workplace bullying in men and women", Career Development International, Vol. 15 No. 7, pp. 687-707. https://doi.org/10.1108/13620431011094087

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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