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A study on the work environment, well-being and health
Helsinki: Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, People and Work Research Reports 56; 2003. (68 p. + app.)
Bogomtale fra forlaget.
This study examines the phenomenon of workplace bullying in various organizational
settings, with a special focus on the relationships between bullying, the work environment,
well-being and health. Cross-sectional questionnaire surveys were carried out
among 949 municipal employees and 1870 prison workers (896 prison officers). Longitudinal
data on 5,432 hospital employees comprised responses to two surveys over a
Bullying was most common in prisons (prevalence 20.1%), followed by municipal
institutions (10.1%) and hospitals (5.0%). Both being a target of bullying and
observing bullying correlated with a poor social climate, a poor managerial climate
and the amount of violence by inmates, suggesting that work environment-factors may
play an important role at the onset of workplace bullying. The victims of bullying
scored lower on self-esteem than the other respondents.
Both victims and observers of bullying reported more stress and job dissatisfaction
than employees from workplaces in which no bullying occurred. The longitudinal study
showed that prolonged bullying was associated with increased incidence of depression
(odds ratio 4.81) and cardiovascular disease (2.31). Depression also predicted subsequent
Gender differences in facing workplace bullying seemed to be small. Men and women
perceived bullying equally often across the samples studied. Female prison officers
felt subjected to sexual harassment more often than their male counterparts. Female
victims were usually bullied by their co-workers, whereas male victims reported supervisors/
managers and co-workers as bullies equally often.
The findings imply that measures should be introduced to deal with bullying in
the workplace and that improving the social climate and leadership practices would
help to prevent it in the future. Further longitudinal research and studies of group
processes that can strengthen or arrest the escalation of the bullying process are needed.