Workplace harassment due to organisational structure

Workplace harassment usually occurs because of problems with companies' organisational structure, rather than due to personality clashes between employees, suggests a paper published today in the British Psychological Society's Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.

University of South Australia researcher Dr Michelle Tuckey and her colleague Annabelle Neall carried out a research review of workplace harassment literature between 1987 and 2012. They found that where harassment in the workplace takes place, it is usually a result of flaws in the way the whole company works, not due to incompatibility between members of staff as is commonly assumed.

"We know a lot about the negative effects of harassment but in order to design better prevention initiatives, we need to discover more about the processes involved in harassment situations," the report's authors said.

They also called for more research on how firms can prevent - or might unwittingly be enabling - workplace harassment so more effective strategies for its removal can be developed.

The full journal title is 'A methodological review of research on the antecedents and consequences of workplace harassment' and can be accessed here

The Society publishes 11 academic journal titles in conjunction with our publishing partner Wiley-Blackwell. The Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology publishes empirical and conceptual papers which aim to increase understanding of people and organizations at work. Visit the Wiley online library for more information.

Society members can access via PsychSource, our searchable journals, books and multimedia database, developed in partnership with Wiley-Blackwell. Abstracts are free to all, full-text free to members

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