Workplace bullying as an organisational issue: Aligning climate and leadership

Author Identifier

Diep Nguyen

ORCID : 0000-0002-5454-8835

Stephen Teo

ORCID : 0000-0001-5025-7937

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Work & Stress


Taylor & Francis


School of Business and Law




New Zealand Public Service Association


Plimmer, G., Nguyen, D., Teo, S., & Tuckey, M. R. (2022). Workplace bullying as an organisational issue: Aligning climate and leadership. Work & Stress, 36(2), 202-227.


Although workplace bullying has been long recognised as an organisational level phenomenon, few studies have explored how different organisational factors come together to influence bullying risk. In this study, we integrate theories on organisational psychosocial safety climate (PSC) and social information processing to understand how PSC is related to bullying exposure, mediated through leadership. We conceptualise and find support for how both organisational and supervisory factors align to shape the likelihood of bullying. Both constructive and laissez-faire leadership are incorporated into the model to explore the positive and negative pathways from PSC to bullying in a high-risk sample: 1,231 employees from 47 New Zealand public sector agencies who face high levels of emotional labour demands in their work. Findings from multilevel modelling corroborate the direct negative effect of PSC on bullying and confirm the predicted mediated pathways through both types of leadership to bullying, which is negatively associated with job satisfaction. Our findings shed light on how organisational factors at different levels combine to influence bullying, highlighting the potential (and need) for a multi-faceted approach to the prevention of bullying and mitigation of its negative effects.



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