State of the art report on bullying at the workplace in the Nordic countries

image of State of the art report on bullying at the workplace in the Nordic countries

This is the first Nordic report on the current scientific state of art of prevention activities regarding workplace bullying in the Nordic countries. During the last 20 years the Nordic countries have been among the leading ones regarding research on this important workplace stressor. Common features among the Nordic countries made it possible to eventually compare the Nordic countries' national data on both measurements, risk factors, consequences and the prevention of bullying at the work place. Hence, after these first 20 years of pioneering research a Nordic bullying network consisting of the leading research institutions in this field within the Nordic countries was established a few years ago with the aim to coordinate research efforts and existing knowledge combined with increased cross-national collaboration and fertilization in this field. Furthermore, the network aims to contribute to establishing a joint Nordic theoretical, empirical, conceptual and methodological platform for science and for the prevention of bullying at the workplace. Factsheet related to the report can be found here.



Introduction to the project

A number of studies stress that bullying at the workplace has severe consequences, both for the organisation, those targeted as well as for employees being bystanders. Bullying at work, according to most definitions, takes place when someone, repeatedly over a longer period of time (usually 6 months), is exposed to negative acts from one or several others, in a situation where he or she for different reasons may have difficulties defending him- or herself against these actions. Bullying may take different forms. Yet, also single incidents or shorter intermezzos of harassment and inappropriate behaviour at work may create stress and inefficiency at work, as well as being explicitly forbidden by law (e.g. in Norway). Direct bullying is aggressive acts that are aimed directly at the target, as for example teasing, scolding, spreading rumours, and threats. Indirect bullying may take the form of social isolation or withdrawal of necessary information. This social process of bullying is described as being rejected and ostracised at or even from the workplace. Repeated slander, deceit, insults and unjust treatment seem in the worst cases to lead up to a rejection and expulsion of the target of bullying. Bullying may be work-related in its nature (e.g. acts that make it difficult for the target to do his/her work) or personal in nature (e.g. offending teasing, rumours, slander, or sexual harassment) (1).


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