The role of human resource professionals (HRPs) in managing workplace bullying: perspectives from HRPs and employee representatives in Australia

Nikola Djurkovic*, Darcy McCormack, Helge Hoel, Denise Salin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to examine the perspectives of human resource professionals (HRPs) and employee representatives (ERs) on the role of HRPs in managing workplace bullying.
Individual interviews were conducted with 12 HRPs and five ERs from a wide range of industries. Interview questions were open-ended and sought to gain insight on the views of the individual interviewees.
The findings address the role of HRPs in bullying scenarios and in the prevention of bullying. Regarding the role of HRPs in bullying, the responses of the participants suggest confusion and ambiguity, with a variety of roles being described ranging from a support-based role through to a protector of management. The participants also noted the importance of the HRP task of policy development, while a distrust of HRPs in bullying scenarios was mentioned. Regarding the effective management and prevention of bullying, the findings demonstrate that HRPs are viewed as having a central role through their particular responsibilities of creating and nurturing a positive organisational culture, as well as through engaging employees in the development of anti-bullying policies.
Practical implications
HRPs believe that they can contribute significantly to reducing workplace bullying through organisational culture (including educating staff and as role models of behaviour) and by engaging staff in the design of anti-bullying policies.
This paper contributes to the literature on workplace bullying by examining within the Australian context the perspectives of HRPs and ERs on how HRPs can prevent and manage workplace bullying.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalPersonnel Review
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1599-1612
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 09.03.2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • workplace bullying
  • organisational culture
  • human resource professionals
  • Australia

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