Bullying and Harassment at work

Ståle Einarsen, Stig Berge Matthiesen and Lars Johan Hauge

in The Oxford Handbook of Personnel Psychology

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199234738
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577093 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

Bullying and Harassment at work

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  • Human Resource Management
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour


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Bullying is a complex and multi-causal phenomenon seldom sufficiently explained by one factor alone. A wide range of factors at different explanatory levels may influence why bullying develops and who will be targeted. This article reviews the literature and research findings in this field, which has blossomed during the last ten years. Here, the terms “harassment” and “bullying” are used interchangeably to refer to both these phenomena, namely as the systematic exhibition of aggressive behavior at work directed towards a subordinate, a superior or a co-worker, as well as the perception of being systematically exposed to such mistreatment while at work. The construct of social undermining bears close resemblance to bullying and harassment, involving behavior over time that is intended to hinder someone in their ability to establish and maintain positive interpersonal relationships, as well as damage their work-related success or favorable reputation.

Keywords: harassment; bullying; mistreatment; interpersonal relationships; work-related success

Article.  14371 words. 

Subjects: Human Resource Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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