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Cyberbullying at work: an extension of traditional bullying or a new threat?

Jordan Platts (Loughborough Business School, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Iain Coyne (Loughborough Business School, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Samuel Farley (The University of Sheffield Management School, Sheffield, UK)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 11 May 2023

Issue publication date: 16 June 2023




Research comparing offline and cyberbullying is relatively sparse, with scholars suggesting the need for empirical investigations to clarify whether cyberbullying and offline bullying are similar or different constructs.


Using an experimental vignette methodology, the current study of 163 working participants obtained via social media examines the effect of medium (offline vs cyberbullying), type (person-related vs work-related) and the interaction between medium and type on perceptions of definitional criteria (severity, frequency, power and intent) and outcomes (negative emotion, fairness, job satisfaction and turnover intention).


Significant differences between offline and cyberbullying were seen only for ratings of severity, job satisfaction and turnover intention, with cyberbullying perceived as more severe and as having a more detrimental impact on job satisfaction and turnover intention. Stronger effect sizes emerged for type of bullying, with person-related bullying having a stronger negative impact on definitional criteria and outcomes than work-related bullying. Moreover, interaction effects suggested differences between the two media were dependent on type of act – with person-related/cyberbullying acts seen more negatively than other acts.


This paper is the first to use a vignette approach to test the similarity or difference hypothesis between offline and cyberbullying. Overall, limited support is seen for the notion that offline bullying and cyberbullying are perceived as different constructs, with type of behaviour suggesting a more complex relationship between the two.



Platts, J., Coyne, I. and Farley, S. (2023), "Cyberbullying at work: an extension of traditional bullying or a new threat?", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 16 No. 2/3, pp. 173-187.



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