The dark side of working online: Towards a definition and an Emotion Reaction model of workplace cyberbullying

Ivana Vranjes*, Elfi Baillien, Heidi Vandebosch, Sara Erreygers, Hans De Witte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


The introduction of new technologies created avenues for new forms of bullying. Despite an impressive body of research on cyberbullying amongst youngsters, studies in the work context have largely neglected its electronic counterpart. In this study, we define workplace cyberbullying and propose an Emotion Reaction Model of its occurrence. Our model aligns with the main proposition of the Affective Events Theory (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996), that emotions evoked by certain work events may fuel emotion driven behaviors. However, in our model these relationships are further specified combining different literature traditions. Making inferences from the workplace bullying literature, we suggest work stressors to be the work events leading to cyberbullying. Furthermore, building on the literature on cyberbullying amongst youngsters, computer-mediated communication and emotions, we propose discrete emotions of anger, sadness and fear to play a significant role in explaining this stressor-cyberbullying relation. In addition, different moderators (i.e., control appraisal and emotion regulation) of this relationship are suggested and implications of the model are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue numberApril 2017
Pages (from-to)324-334
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • Affect
  • Emotion regulation
  • Emotions
  • Stressors
  • Workplace bullying
  • Workplace cyberbullying
  • 512 Business and Management


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