The prevalence of ill-treatment and bullying at work in Ireland
International Journal of Workplace Health Management
School of Business and Law
Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the prevalence of ill-treatment and bullying experienced by Irish workers and to explore individual and organisational predictors. The most recent national figures available are specific to bullying and predate the economic recession; therefore, this study is timely and investigates a broader range of negative behaviours. Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire survey study on a national probability sample of Irish employees was conducted (N = 1,764). The study design replicated the methodology employed in the British workplace behaviour study. Findings: The results showed that 43% of Irish workers had experienced ill-treatment at work over the past two years, with 9% meeting the criteria for experiencing workplace bullying. A number of individual and organisational factors were found to be significantly associated with the experience of ill-treatment at work. Research limitations/implications: This study provides national-level data on workplace ill-treatment and bullying that are directly comparable to British study findings. Practical implications: The findings indicate that a significant number of Irish workers experience ill-treatment at work, and that workplace bullying does not appear to have decreased since the last national study was conducted in Ireland. Social implications: This study is of use to the Irish regulator and persons responsible for managing workplace bullying cases, as it identifies high-risk work situations and contributing individual factors. Originality/value: This study provides national Irish data on workplace behaviour and ill-treatment following a severe economic recession.