Workplace bullying and culture: Diverse conceptualizations and interpretations

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This chapter seeks to summarize the existing research on workplace bullying and culture and examine the many ways in which culture may impact the bullying process. The findings reported show that different cultural dimensions may encourage or discourage bullying behaviour and affect the preferred forms of bullying. Moreover, cultural norms and values may affect how targets make sense of different negative social acts, how they try to cope with the behaviour and what the longer-term consequences on their attitudes and well-being may be. The literature review is structured along the cultural dimensions used in the large-scale Global Leadership & Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) study (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004). The review draws particular attention to the dimensions of power distance, in-group collectivism, performance orientation and assertiveness as aspects influencing perceptions and expressions of bullying. While power distance and assertiveness may both increase the acceptability of abusive behaviour in general, high performance orientation may make employees and managers particularly tolerant of work-related negative acts. High in-group collectivism may, in turn, decrease the overall acceptability of bullying but may put non-conforming employees, not considered part of the in-group, at particular risk. High humane orientation and future orientation are also given some attention, with researchers suggesting they may reduce the acceptability of bullying behaviour. Overall, the findings provide clear support for the important role of culture in influencing organizational behaviour and are highly relevant for managers who due to globalization face an increasingly cross-cultural workforce, where employees with diverse values, expectations and belief systems work side by side.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDignity and Inclusion at Work
EditorsPremilla D'Cruz, Ernesto Noronha, Carlo Caponecchia, Jordi Escartin, Denise Salin, Michelle Rae Tuckey
Place of PublicationSingapore
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-981-13-0217-6
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-5338-2
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameHandbooks of Workplace Bullying, Emotional Abuse and Harassment
ISSN (Print)2662-3242
ISSN (Electronic)2662-3250


  • 512 Business and Management

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

  • AoS: Leading for growth and well-being


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