A role that takes its toll? The moderating role of leadership in role stress and exposure to workplace bullying

Piotr Stapinski, Brita Bjørkelo, Premilla D’Cruz, Eva Gemzøe Mikkelsen, Malgorzata Gamian-Wilk

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Abstract

Purpose: According to the work environment hypothesis, and as documented by empirical evidence, organizational factors play a crucial role in the development of workplace bullying. However, to better understand and prevent bullying at work and establish sustainable, responsible and ethical workplaces, it is crucial to understand which organizational factors are particularly important in the development of bullying and how these factors independently and combined act as precursors of bullying over time. One prominent theory that explains how organizational and individual factors interact is the Affective Events Theory (AET).
Design: In a two-wave, time-lagged study (N = 364), we apply AET to test and explain the interplay of organizational factors in the development of bullying at work.
Findings: The results revealed that supportive and fair leadership moderates the relationship between role stress and exposure to workplace bullying.
Originality: Although previous studies have shown the general protecting effects of supportive leadership on exposure to bullying, the current study indicates that high level of supportive and fair leadership practices decrease the level of exposure to bullying, even when role ambiguity and role conflict are relatively high.
Practical implications: Knowledge of the buffering role of supportive and fair leadership practices is important when implementing organizational interventions aimed at preventing bullying at work.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Volume34
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1041-1058
ISSN1044-4068
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • workplace bullying
  • role stress
  • role ambiguity
  • role conflict
  • leadership practices
  • supportive leadership
  • fair leadership
  • work environment hypothesis
  • Affective events theory
  • Fair leadership
  • Supportive leadership
  • Leadership practices
  • Work environment hypothesis
  • Role conflict
  • Role stress
  • Role ambiguity
  • Workplace bullying

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