Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 1 2000, page 7-24.
English resume

Harassment at work

What is it and what do we know about it?

Ståle Einarsen og Eva Gemzøe Mikkelsen

The concept of bullying or mobbing at work is still rather new in Danish working life research. In other Scandinavian countries the term ‘mobbing’ is commonly used to describe situations where someone is systematically and repeatedly subjected to aggressive and even violent behaviour, in a situation where the target, or victim, finds it difficult to defend him- or herself or to even escape the situation. The aim of this paper is to summarise the research and literature on the nature, the prevalence, the causes and the effects of this problem. Bullying at work is argued to be of two kinds, dispute-related or predatory. Disputerelated bullying is caused or at least precipitated by a workrelated conflict. Such cases seem to be caused by a combination of organisational and psychosocial factors at work such as leadership, work group climate and roleconflict. In cases of predatory bullying, the victim has personally done nothing provocative to reasonably justify the behaviour of a bully. The victim is accidentally in a situation where someone is demonstrating power or where a work group is in search of a scapegoat. In addition such experiences appear to cause severe psychological trauma in victims, who as a whole exhibit a host of psychological and psychosomatic health problems. A controversial issue in the study of workplace bullying is whether the personality of the victims can be seen as a cause or an effect of the experienced bullying.

Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv

(Journal for Working Life)




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in Danish frontpage Nyt om arbejdsliv
editor Jørgen Burchardt