Bullying in the workplace can be evaluated through multiple lenses in relation to applied behavioral studies. It is important to narrow the scope of a given research project to a specific element in order to effectively focus on the topic. Two primary areas of interest within the topic of bullying in the workplace can be discussed through the following research questions:
1). What are the effects on employee moral when the management staff exhibits bullying behaviors?
2). What predictors can be used to anticipate the tendency of a potential employee to exhibit bullying behaviors in the workplace?

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As there is substantial literature available for each question, this author would like to pursue the latter as a better understanding of these predictors could help to develop an intervention plan to eliminate or minimize this unacceptable behavior in the workplace.

Hoel, Glasø, Hetland, Cooper, and Einarsen (2010) explain that leadership styles can be predicted through personality tests and detailed interviews. These leadership styles can be indicative of how the “would-be” supervisors will handle confrontation. The authors further suggest that these tests will help the hiring or promoting managers to determine if there is a potential for bullying in the workplace based on these leadership styles (Hoel, Glasø, Hetland, Cooper, & Einarsen). By closely evaluating the questionnaires and interview recommendations, it will become clearer as to what factors could lead to such a prediction.

Hauge, Skogstad, and Einarsen (2009) suggest that the predictors are not necessarily linked to personality traits in leadership, but rather in the ability of the individual to handle work related stresses. Noting that there are specific triggers that set off different personality types, the authors claim that the primary factor is stress. Understanding this information will help to encourage a stress free working environment when possible. Other potential recommendations would involve providing stress management seminars to the employees and supervisors. Additionally, Hauge, Skogstad, and Einarsen (2009) recommend regular training sessions on effective communication and conflict resolution in order to deter these stress related triggers for bullying in the workplace.

Both of these sources of literature offer insight about what can lead to the social concern of bullying in the workplace. Notably, the first focuses on supervisory bullying while the second focuses on employee level bullying. This allows for a clearer understanding of what types of people exhibit these behaviors and what triggers are involved. Should there be a predictor during a hiring or promotional process, this should serve as a warning sign to the human resource department. Frequent observation should be conducted to make certain that these concerns do not escalate between supervisors and supervisees. Additionally, the same concerns should be monitored on all levels of the organization and proper training should be conducted in terms of communication and conflict resolution.

The literature reviewed was located in peer reviewed journals. This element of scholarly sources is necessary in order to provide validity to the assertion that there are predictors that can be evaluated to prevent or intervene in cases of workplace bullying. Davis (2014) explains that there are many sources available through the use of the internet, but warns that these sources are not always valid and may reflect the bias of the contributors. By using scholarly sources, one can be certain that the information has been reviewed by many individuals in the field and that any areas of bias or invalid data have been corrected. Finally, Davis (2014) explains that, even though the internet has allowed access to invalid data, it has also improved the quality of peer reviews as the journal can be reviewed by individuals in different geographical and demographic locations. This offers a substantial level of validity.

References

  • Davis, G. F. (2014). Editorial Essay: Why Do We Still Have Journals?. Administrative Science Quarterly, 59(2), 193-201. doi:10.1177/0001839214534186

  • Hauge, L. J., Skogstad, A., & Einarsen, S. (2009). Individual and situational predictors of workplace bullying: Why do perpetrators engage in the bullying of others?. Work & Stress, 23(4), 349-358. doi:10.1080/02678370903395568

  • Hoel, H., Glasø, L., Hetland, J., Cooper, C. L., & Einarsen, S. (2010). Leadership Styles as Predictors of Self-reported and Observed Workplace Bullying. British Journal Of Management, 21(2), 453-468. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8551.2009.00664.x