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Apprenticeship bullying in the building and construction industry

Michaela Riggall (Department of Psychological Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
Jason Skues (Department of Psychological Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
Lisa Wise (Department of Psychological Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 12 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the definition, prevalence, antecedents, consequences and coping behaviours associated with apprenticeship bullying in the building and construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample comprises 13 participants aged between 22 and 27 (M=23.8, SD=1.26) who were all men who had completed their apprenticeship within the past five years. Participants completed an individual semi-structured interview in which several themes and sub-themes were identified.

Findings

Four characteristics (intention to harm, imbalance in power, repeated behaviours, target interpretation) and two types (personal, work-related) were identified by participants as fundamental to the definition of apprenticeship bullying. Being the target of bullying was found to be commonplace during an apprenticeship. Several antecedents were identified at the individual level (age, personality, physical appearance, work ethic, work performance) along with factors at the organisation level (culture and leadership style) that determined whether bullying would occur. The consequences of apprenticeship bullying included poor individual (personal and work-related) and organisational outcomes. Targets of apprenticeship bullying also tended to use avoidance coping.

Originality/value

This study has provided clarification on the characteristics and behaviours associated with apprenticeship bullying, as well as identified the antecedents and consequences of apprenticeship bullying from the perspective of past apprentices in the building and construction industry.

Keywords

Citation

Riggall, M., Skues, J. and Wise, L. (2017), "Apprenticeship bullying in the building and construction industry", Education + Training, Vol. 59 No. 5, pp. 502-515. https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-09-2016-0150

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited