Exploring the fluid boundary between ‘legitimate performance management’ and ‘downward bullying’: an experimental approach

Andrew R. Timming, Michael T. French, Di Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Using an experimental design, this research examines the extent to which managers and employees perceive management behaviours differently. Eight simulated employment scenarios were presented to an aggregated sample of managers and non-managerial employees (n = 435), and the respondents were asked to evaluate the extent to which the behaviours depicted are seen as bullying. It was found that employees are more likely than managers to perceive ‘legitimate performance management’ as bullying but also that managers are more likely than employees to perceive more overt bullying as bullying per se. This divergence in perceptions suggests that what constitutes bullying, ontologically speaking, depends on one's point of view and implies that reality is socially constructed. The research has important implications for organisations and trade unions in the development of bullying policies and procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-361
Number of pages14
JournalIndustrial Relations Journal
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations

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