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Manifestations of workplace ostracism: an insight into academics' psychological well-being

Tehreem Fatima (Lahore Business School, The University of Lahore Sargodha Campus, Sargodha, Pakistan)
Ahmad Raza Bilal (Faculty of Business, Sohar University Oman, Sohar, Oman)
Muhammad Kashif Imran (Depratment of Commerce, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Pakistan)
Ambreen Sarwar (Department of Management Sciences, Virtual University of Pakistan, Lahore, Pakistan)

South Asian Journal of Business Studies

ISSN: 2398-628X

Article publication date: 2 June 2021

Issue publication date: 22 March 2023




Ostracism is a subjective and relative concept that renders itself to multiple manifestations and context-specific outcomes. Therefore, this study identified specific behaviours that are perceived as workplace ostracism by teaching faculty of Pakistani Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs). Building on belongingness theory, the ramifications of ostracism on psychological well-being are outlined along with the context-specific factors that shape these outcomes.


A phenomenological approach was adopted, and 30 semi-structured interviews from the teaching faculty of HEIs in Lahore, Pakistan, were conducted. The transcribed interviews were coded, and an inductive thematic analysis via NVivo 12 Plus software was used to generate themes and sub-themes.


Five behaviours, i.e. biased treatment, exclusion from formal and informal interactions, interpersonal alienation, delayed sharing or hiding of knowledge, lack of work-related, social and emotional support constituted the acts of ostracism in studied HEIs. The psychological well-being of faculty suffered in terms of negative emotions, reduced job, career and life satisfaction in their work and family life. The contextual factors deciding the intensity of outcomes resulting from workplace encompassed head of department (HOD) support, pay, friendly relations, fear of confrontation, alternative job options and designation of faculty members.


This research is a pioneer in using an in-depth phenomenological approach to define a behavioural typology of ostracism in academia. Moreover, a much needed holistic outcome of psychological well-being is explored in work and non-work domains and further elucidated in light of context-specific factors.



Fatima, T., Bilal, A.R., Imran, M.K. and Sarwar, A. (2023), "Manifestations of workplace ostracism: an insight into academics' psychological well-being", South Asian Journal of Business Studies, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 79-103.



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