The purpose of this paper is to analyze cross-national and cross-cultural similarities and differences in perceptions and conceptualizations of workplace bullying among human resource professionals (HRPs). Particular emphasis was given to what kind of behaviors are considered as bullying in different countries and what criteria interviewees use to decide whether a particular behavior is bullying or not.
HRPs in 13 different countries/regions (n=199), spanning all continents and all GLOBE cultural clusters (House et al., 2004), were interviewed and a qualitative content analysis was carried out.
Whereas interviewees across the different countries largely saw personal harassment and physical intimidation as bullying, work-related negative acts and social exclusion were construed very differently in the different countries. Repetition, negative effects on the target, intention to harm, and lack of a business case were decision criteria typically used by interviewees across the globe – other criteria varied by country.
The results help HRPs working in multinational organizations understand different perceptions of negative acts.
The findings point to the importance of cultural factors, such as power distance and performance orientation, and other contextual factors, such as economy and legislation for understanding varying conceptualizations of bullying.
- 512 Business and Management
- Cross-cultural comparison
- Power distance
- Workplace bullying
- Performance orientation
- Human resource professionals
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