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Nz Ps S Conference 2009


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Presentation on bullying and stress in New Zealand workplaces

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Nz Ps S Conference 2009

  1. 1. Bullying and stress in three New Zealand industry sectors Michael O’Driscoll, U of Waikato Tim Bentley, Massey U Bevan Catley, Massey U Helena Cooper-Thomas, U of Auckland Dianne Gardner, Massey U Linda Trenberth, Birkbeck College (London) Presentation to NZ Psychological Society annual conference Palmerston North, 27-30 August 2009 Project funded by the Health Research Council and the Department of Labour
  2. 2. What is bullying ? <ul><li>“ a situation where a person feels they have repeatedly been on the receiving end of negative actions from one or more other people, in a situation where it is difficult to defend themselves against these actions. These negative actions could be physical or non-physical (e.g. verbal abuse). A one-off incident is not defined as bullying.” (Einarsen et al., 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>Key features : negative actions, repeated, perceived victimization, unjustified </li></ul><ul><li>Related concepts : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Aggression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Harassment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Violence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incivility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anti-social behaviour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Mobbing’ </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Example behaviours (from the Negative Acts Questionnaire, Einarsen & Rakne, 1997) <ul><li>Being humiliated or ridiculed </li></ul><ul><li>Gossip or rumours </li></ul><ul><li>Being ignored or excluded </li></ul><ul><li>Insulting or offensive remarks </li></ul><ul><li>Intimidating behaviour, e.g. invasion of personal space, physical violence </li></ul><ul><li>Repeated reminders of your mistakes </li></ul><ul><li>Persistent criticism of your work </li></ul><ul><li>Allegations made against you </li></ul><ul><li>Excessive monitoring of your work </li></ul><ul><li>Threats of violence or abuse (physical or verbal) </li></ul><ul><li>Having important information withheld from you </li></ul><ul><li>Ordered to do work below your level of competence </li></ul><ul><li>Having responsibilities removed or replaced with trivial tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Being exposed to an unmanageable workload </li></ul>
  4. 4. New Zealand study <ul><li>Aim : to explore incidence of bullying in three NZ industry sectors – education, health, hospitality </li></ul><ul><li>Two phases: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase 1: interviews with key informants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase 2: survey of employees in the 3 sectors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Phase 1 – Key informant interviews (Nov 2008 – Feb 2009) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus group interviews (n = 7) and individual interviews (n = 21) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managers, health and safety officers, union representatives, HR managers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Questions : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does bullying occur? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If so, how is it manifested? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How prevalent is it in your organisation/industry? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What are the perceived ‘risk factors’ for bullying? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How does it affect people in your organisation/industry? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How is it dealt with? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Findings from Phase 1 interviews <ul><li>Bullying and stress were consistently recognised as significant issues. Acknowledged negative consequences for individual + organisation. </li></ul><ul><li>For health and education , bullying was perceived to be widespread across sectors while in hospitality bullying was associated with a number of ‘hotspots’, notably the kitchen </li></ul><ul><li>The nature of negative behaviours identified was extremely varied. What is regarded as ‘bullying’ varies …. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. restaurants; hospitals (culture of organisation) </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Phase 2: Employee Survey (June-November 2009) <ul><li>Aims: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assess self-reported incidence of bullying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore potential correlates of bullying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examine individual coping + organisational strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sample : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1200 workers from 3 sectors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Current sample N = 494 (F = 387, M = 107), 19 organisations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Senior mgr/Exec 4%, Middle mgr 16%, Supervisor 13%, Non-mgr 54% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Methodology: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-report questionnaire to employees (online or hard copy) </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Frequencies <ul><li>Self-reported bullying : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>25% yes; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>14.9% ‘now and then’ or more often </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5% ‘weekly or more often’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>15% > 6 months duration </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NAQ : mean = 1.47 (‘now and then’); </li></ul><ul><ul><li>12.7% ‘now and then’ or more often </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3.7% ‘monthly or more often’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sources of bullying: employer (10%), senior mgr (10%), middle mgr (9.5%), supervisor (10%), colleague (14.5%), subordinate (7%), client/customer (7.5%) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Dealing with bullying <ul><li>Coping (often-always) (n = 117) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem-focused: 50%, mean = 3.9 (out of 6) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Selective: 40%, mean = 3.6 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resigned: 41%, mean = 3.4 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coping effectiveness (one item): mean = 3.3 (out of 6); 53% effective </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organizational strategies (n = 466) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mean = 4.6 (out of 7); 63% effective </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Correlations of bullying with other variables <ul><li>Self-report NAQ </li></ul><ul><li>Organisational support -.43 -.45 </li></ul><ul><li>Laissez-faire leadership .39 .48 </li></ul><ul><li>Constructive leadership -.40 -.40 </li></ul><ul><li>Manager behaviour -.41 -.36 </li></ul><ul><li>Work climate (positive) -.43 -.40 </li></ul><ul><li>Supervisor support -.34 -.39 </li></ul><ul><li>Colleague support -.27 -.25 </li></ul><ul><li>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- </li></ul><ul><li>Well-being -.48 -.60 </li></ul><ul><li>Strain (GHQ) .44 .55 </li></ul><ul><li>Affective org commitment -.39 -.34 </li></ul><ul><li>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- </li></ul><ul><li>PF coping .15 .21 </li></ul><ul><li>Selective coping .14 .17 </li></ul><ul><li>Resigned coping .12 .09 </li></ul><ul><li>Organisational strategies -.49 -.41 </li></ul>
  10. 10. Regressions (significant predictors) <ul><li>Self-reported bullying </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Organisational strategies (effectiveness) (-) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NAQ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Laissez-faire leadership (+) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organisational strategies (-) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem-focused coping (+) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Well-being </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>NAQ (-) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Organisational support (+) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Constructive leadership (+) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Problem-focused coping (-) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Strain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NAQ (+) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organisational support (-) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work climate (-) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem-focused coping (+) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Conclusions <ul><li>Bullying frequency? Varies by method, between 13-25% </li></ul><ul><li>Source – evenly spread </li></ul><ul><li>Coping effectiveness – around 50% report effective </li></ul><ul><li>Organisation efforts – around 60% report effective </li></ul><ul><li>Bullying and NAQ correlated with range of other variables </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strongly related to strain and well-being </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not so strongly linked with coping efforts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moderately related to organisational efforts to reduce </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Predictors of bullying and NAQ? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Perceived effectiveness of organisational strategies  reduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Laissez-faire leadship  more NAQ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem-focused coping  more NAQ </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Implications <ul><li>Significance of bullying? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prevalence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Effects on individuals and organisations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Few systematic efforts to address persistent bullying problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Interventions : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Typically focused on the individual, either the target of bullying or the perpetrator. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bullying typically treated as an ‘individual’ problem rather than a system problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of constructive leadership approaches perceived to be a significant contributor to inaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need systemic approach which focuses not just on personal attributes (e.g. of perpetrator), but also on organizational factors which may contribute to bullying climate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Differentiate bullying behaviours from accepted practices </li></ul></ul>