Workplace bullying has received increased attention over the years. These negative interpersonal interactions can lead to various negative consequences, such as impaired mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing, as well as decreased productivity, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. Previous research has focused either on the perpetrator or the target of workplace bullying. However, the current research takes a more dynamic approach, examining how perpetrators may themselves become targets of workplace bullying.
FROM WORKPLACE BULLY TO TARGET OF WORKPLACE BULLYING
Researchers (Vranjes et al., 2022) recruited a total of 2,374 employees and surveyed them for a period of 18 months. Participants responded to an online survey four times, with approximately 6 months in between each survey. The results indicated that perpetrators of bullying are at increased risk of becoming victims of bullying themselves. Still, this effect did not occur until after 12 months, suggesting that this process might be relatively long. To help explain this, the researchers found that engaging in workplace bullying is associated with experiencing more conflict, which is associated with exposure to bullying later on, thus emphasizing this dynamic relationship.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONS
The results of this study show that individuals who engage in bullying in the workplace can transition to becoming victims themselves. The authors offer various practical applications surrounding these findings. For one, the authors suggest that organizations could start by mapping the factors that contribute to workplace bullying. Additionally, the authors suggest employing both bullying prevention training and conflict resolution training, as this approach addresses both the perpetrators and the victims of bullying.
Vranjes, I., Elst, T. V., Griep, Y., De Witte, H., & Baillien, E. (2022). What Goes Around Comes Around: How Perpetrators of Workplace Bullying Become Targets Themselves. Group & Organization Management, December.
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