Workplace bullying arguably comprises the most damaging behaviours an employee will experience at work. The detrimental impacts of workplace bullying extend beyond the individual, to the organisation and broader society. Conservative rates suggest at least one in ten employees are experiencing workplace bullying at any given point in time, with others suggesting that prevalence could be as high as one in two. The average duration of workplace bullying, often lasting longer than two years, and the repetitive nature of the behaviours, make it one of the most pervasive stressors to be experienced. Over the past three decades, the investment and research into understanding and preventing workplace bullying has grown significantly. Even so, much of the research to date has been conducted in a piecemeal approach, without application of an underpinning framework. This thesis applies three occupational stress models - Job Demands Control, Job Demands Control Support and the Job Demands Resources – to explore the relationships between workplace bullying and psychological distress, job satisfaction, and affective commitment in an Australian Defence Force (ADF) sample. This thesis further explores the consequences, protective factors, and sources of workplace bullying that to date have not been explored in an ADF environment. Multilevel modelling enabled analyses of the impact of working in high-bullying climates; findings that provide strategies to address these negative workplace behaviours. The emphasis of this final PhD presentation will be on the key findings of the research, as well as the theoretical and practical implications. Limitations and the future directions of the research will also be discussed.
Nicole Steele is a PhD Scholar at the School of Demography, with research interests in workplace stress and mental health. Her PhD explores workplace bullying and the consequences for targets, bystanders, and the broader organisation. Nicole has over 20 years’ experience working in the Department of Defence, and is currently the Director of Workforce Research and Analysis within the Australian Public Service Commission.