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Exploring the process of workplace bullying in Indian organizations: A grounded theory approach

Arpana Rai (National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, India)
Upasna A. Agarwal (National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, India)

South Asian Journal of Business Studies

ISSN: 2398-628X

Article publication date: 2 October 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the process of workplace bullying in Indian organizations from the victims’ perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted the grounded theory approach and centered on the participants’ experiences, interpretations, and reactions toward bullying. In total, 23 self-reported victims formed the sample of the study. Data from interviews were analyzed using the coding procedure of grounded theory methodology. To enhance the validity of results, in addition to interviews, member checking technique was also used.

Findings

The study revealed that the process of workplace bullying in Indian organizations can be broadly explained in four sequential phases: exposure and confusion over mistreatment; making attributions; utilizing options within the organization; and adjustment with the current situation. The findings highlight the importance of sense-making, the social support network, complexity of coping behaviors, silence motives of employees as well as negative and nourishing effects of workplace bullying. The role of culture is visible in the bullying dynamics.

Research limitations/implications

The study examined bullying from the victims’ perspective; however, perpetrator and bystanders’ perspective would have added interesting insights into the findings.

Practical implications

The findings point toward the rhetoric of HRM practices in Indian organizations. A well formulated and implemented anti-bullying policy will reduce the rhetoric of HRM practices in Indian organizations.

Originality/value

The present study contributes to the limited literature on the process of workplace bullying by exploring the process in a new national context (India).

Keywords

Citation

Rai, A. and Agarwal, U.A. (2017), "Exploring the process of workplace bullying in Indian organizations: A grounded theory approach", South Asian Journal of Business Studies, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 247-273. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAJBS-07-2016-0067

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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