Workplace bullying and employee silence

Arpana Rai (Department of Management and Organizational Behaviour, National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, India)
Upasna A. Agarwal (Department of Management and Organizational Behaviour, National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, India)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Publication date: 5 February 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of workplace bullying on employee silence (defensive, relational, and ineffectual silence), and to test the mediating role of psychological contract violation (PCV) in this relationship and the extent to which the mediation is moderated by workplace friendship.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 835 full-time Indian managerial employees working in different Indian organizations.

Findings

Results revealed that workplace bullying positively correlated with silence (defensive, relational, and ineffectual silence). The hypothesized moderated mediation condition was supported as results suggest that PCV mediated the bullying-silence relationship and workplace friendship moderated this mediating pathway, i.e. indirect effects of workplace bullying on employee silence via PCV were weaker for employees with high workplace friendship.

Research limitations/implications

A cross-sectional design, use of self-reported questionnaires, and gender-blind perspective to examine bullying are few limitations of this study.

Practical implications

This is the first study examining employee silence in response to workplace bullying and one of the few attempts to examine employees’ passive coping strategies in response to workplace mistreatment. This study is also one of the rare attempts to examine bullying-outcomes relationship in the Indian context.

Social implications

A well-formulated and effectively implemented anti-bullying policy and management support may encourage employees to combat bullying by raising their voices against it.

Originality/value

This is the first study examining employee silence in response to workplace bullying. This study is also one of the rare attempts to examine bullying-outcomes relationship in the Indian context.

Keywords

Citation

Rai, A. and Agarwal, U. (2018), "Workplace bullying and employee silence", Personnel Review, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 226-256. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-03-2017-0071

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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