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Perceptions of bullying‐like phenomena in South Korea: a qualitative approach from a lifespan perspective

Seungha Lee (Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, University of London, London, UK)
Peter K. Smith (Professor in the Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, University of London, London, UK)
Claire P. Monks (Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Counselling, University of Greenwich, London, UK)

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Article publication date: 10 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate perceptions of bullying‐like behaviours in South Korea, from young children to adults; why they happen and how people judge them.

Design/methodology/approach

Focus groups were conducted across different age ranges, from preschool to workplace employees, in Seoul. A total of 113 participants were shown cartoons or descriptions of negative behaviours and asked “why these happened”, and “what do you think about them?” Interview transcripts were analysed by grounded theory.

Findings

Similarities and differences across ages were found for two themes, origins and judgments of behaviours. Situational and interpersonal factors were seen as important in causing the behaviours, both in school and the workplace. Pupils aged 15‐17 and mothers considered the behaviours less acceptable than younger pupils; whereas, ten to 15‐year‐old pupils and workplace employees gave more justification of the behaviours and were more likely to attribute the situation to victim's responsibility.

Originality/value

This is the first study investigating perceptions of bullying‐like behaviour from a life‐span perspective and also provides findings on the particular nature of Korean bullying or wang‐ta.

Keywords

Citation

Lee, S., Smith, P.K. and Monks, C.P. (2011), "Perceptions of bullying‐like phenomena in South Korea: a qualitative approach from a lifespan perspective", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 210-221. https://doi.org/10.1108/17596591111187738

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited