Workplace bullying: Propositions from Heider's balance theory
Cambridge University Press
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Business
Individuals who allege bullying bring their own version of events to any investigation, and regardless of the allegations made, there is always more than one account of what took place. Perception influences the interpretations placed on our actions and that of others, especially in terms of whether these constitute bullying in the context in which they are observed. Since investigators, and researchers, are heavily reliant on self-reports, it is important to understand how subjectivities affect individual interpretation and responses. Based on Heider's Balance Theory, this conceptual article presents a series of propositions relating to subjective factors in perceiving an act as bullying. Research which explores these factors will facilitate better understanding of allegations of bullying. Potential implications for research, awareness raising, education and training, investigation and interpretation of allegations of workplace bullying are advanced.