Workplace bullying as an organisational issue: Aligning climate and leadership

Geoff Plimmer*, Diep Nguyen, Stephen Teo, Michelle R. Tuckey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-227
Number of pages26
JournalWork and Stress
Issue number2
Early online date26 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


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