The purpose of this paper is to analyze cross-national and cross-cultural similarities and differences in perceptions and conceptualizations of workplace bullying among human resource professionals (HRPs). Particular emphasis was given to what kind of behaviors are considered as bullying in different countries and what criteria interviewees use to decide whether a particular behavior is bullying or not.
HRPs in 13 different countries/regions (n=199), spanning all continents and all GLOBE cultural clusters (House et al., 2004), were interviewed and a qualitative content analysis was carried out.
Whereas interviewees across the different countries largely saw personal harassment and physical intimidation as bullying, work-related negative acts and social exclusion were construed very differently in the different countries. Repetition, negative effects on the target, intention to harm, and lack of a business case were decision criteria typically used by interviewees across the globe – other criteria varied by country.
The results help HRPs working in multinational organizations understand different perceptions of negative acts.
The findings point to the importance of cultural factors, such as power distance and performance orientation, and other contextual factors, such as economy and legislation for understanding varying conceptualizations of bullying.
The authors would like to thank Suzy Fox, who inspired and initiated the project, but who had to withdraw at an early stage due to health reasons. The authors would also like to thank Minerva Peijari, Julia Kilpelä, and Tea Isokaari who worked as Research Assistants for the first author. The authors are further indebted to the following colleagues and students for help with data collection and transcription: Iiris Hytönen, Rosemary Danesi, Busola Akintayo, Ademola Ajeyomi, Dominik Stockhammer, Harrison Card, A. Bugra Oygur, Irene Fotopoulou, and George Skoulikaris. Dawid Mitrzyk and the fourth-year students of the Master Programme of Business Psychology at the University of Wrocław, Poland – including Maria Rojewska, Joanna Krzywak, Joanna Antczak, Anna Skrobol, and Arkadiusz Grylicki – also deserve thanks from the authors. This work was supported by the Academy of Finland under Grant No. 266294. Furthermore, the authors involved received financial support from the Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation, the University of Texas at San Antonio: Office of the Vice President for Research, the IIM Ahmedabad Research and Publications Unit, and The Official Representation of Workers and Employees in Austria.
Salin, D., Cowan, R., Adewumi, O., Apospori, E., Bochantin, J., D’Cruz, P., Djurkovic, N., Durniat, K., Escartín, J., Guo, J., Išik, I., Koeszegi, S., McCormack, D., Monserrat, S. and Zedlacher, E. (2019), "Workplace bullying across the globe: a cross-cultural comparison", Personnel Review, Vol. 48 No. 1, pp. 204-219. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-03-2017-0092Download as .RIS
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