Effort-Reward Imbalance: A Risk Factor for Exposure to Workplace Bullying

Guy Notelaers, Maria Törnroos, Denise Salin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research shows that work environment factors are important antecedents of workplace bullying (WB), because of the stress they may induce. While previous studies have typically used Karasek's Job Demand-Control model or the Demands-Resources model, the present study investigates whether another important occupational stress model, that is the Effort-Reward Imbalance model, is also associated to WB. A survey study in 19 Belgian organizations (n = 5727) confirmed that employees experiencing an imbalance between efforts and reward were more likely to be targets of exposure to bullying. In line with previous research, this study illustrates that stressful situations increase the risk of exposure to WB. It shows that the perceived incongruence between effort and reward may increase employee vulnerability to bullying. The perceived injustice may lead employees to engage in norm-breaking behavior and also signal low social standing to others, thereby potentially eliciting negative behaviors from others.

Original languageEnglish
Article number386
Peer-reviewed scientific journalFrontiers in Psychology
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 25.02.2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • workplace bullying
  • effort-reward imbalance
  • injustice
  • fairness
  • strain
  • stress
  • work environment

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Leading for growth and well-being


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