Am I really bullying? – leaders perspective on employee accusations

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

Purpose: Research points to leaders playing a pivotal role in bullying and that poor relationships between management andemployees increases the risk of bullying. This study aims at revealing leaders explanations of the situation and their behavior,described as bullying behavior by their employees.
Design/Methodology: A qualitative approach is formed by semi-structured interviews with four leaders from various workplaces,who have been involved in situations with employees who accuse them for bullying behavior. A phenomenological analysis of theleaders narratives is conducted.
Results: Four themes appears; 1. Changing organizational demands and the leader’s executive authority, when employees disagreeswith leadership decisions, 2. Individual stress affecting cognitive capacity, behavior and communication, for both leader andemployee, 3. Power struggles on a personal level, where the leader’s position is continuously challenged by an employee, 4. To(anonymously) accuse a leader for bullying is a powerful means to cast doubt on the leader's skills, as the Danish health and safetylegislation requires immediate intervention.
Limitations: In order to generalize findings, the qualitative data analysis might only form hypothesis to be further researched in aquantitative design.
Research/Practical Implications: Exploring various narratives in play, thus deconstructing the concept of bullying, might both inspirefuture research in the field, and extend intervention possibilities.
Originality/Value: This study informs current research in the field, by offering a new perspective of the concept of bullying, victimand power exercising in the light of a larger organizational context.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date18 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2017
EventEAWOP 18th congress of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology: Enabling Change through Work and Organizational Psychology - University Center of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 17 May 201720 May 2017


ConferenceEAWOP 18th congress of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology
LocationUniversity Center of Dublin
Internet address

ID: 178357663