Contact person:
Sandra Jönsson
  • Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health Working life and Welfare
Project members at MaU:
Time frame:
01 January 2019 - 31 December 2023
Research subject:

Workplace bullying – antecedents and consequences related to organisational and social work environment

Workplace bullying is a highly negative experience that has consequences and costs for the individual, the organisation and society. It is a severe and widespread problem as approximately 9 % of the Swedish working population have experienced bullying. Previous research on workplace bullying has primarily focused on either the targets or the perpetrators. This implies that one important actor has been neglected, namely the bystander (witnesses of bullying). We maintain that there is a need to shift focus from the individuals who are directly involved in a negative situation to the bystanders and the organisational setting.

Project aim and area of use

The aim of the project is to investigate the complex situation of workplace bullying with a focus on the bystanders. The project aims to contribute with new knowledge about workplace bullying, bystanders’ behaviour and its relation to the organisational and social work environment. This knowledge can be applied by managers and organisations in their preventive work.

Theory and methods

In order to analyse the organisational context in relation to work place bullying and bystanders’ behaviour a mixed method approach will be applied. The JD-R theory, the theory of Psychosocial safety climate (PSC ), and a gender perspective will form the theoretical framework.

Following research questions will be addressed:

  • How are different organisational factors related to the bystanders’ behaviour (e.g. active/passive/constructive/destructive) in a bullying situation?
  • How does bystanders’ behaviour affect the bullying situation and the organisational and social work environment?
  • How is bystanders’ behaviour related to the PSC, their health, work engagement, job satisfaction and intention to stay in the organisation?

Empirical method and data collection

The proposed project will be conducted in the health care sector, with doctors, nurses and assistant nurses as participants. Data will be collected through interviews and through questionnaire studies (at two occasions to be able to gather longitudinal data).