The nature and prevalence of workplace bullying in the Western Cape : a South African study

Kalamdien, Donovan Jaco (2013-12)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Workplace bullying as a serious psychosocial workplace problem have been a subject of immense discussion in foreign literature since the mid-1980s. In a nutshell, workplace bullying refers to instances where an employee is systematically and continually being subjected to mistreatment and victimisation in the workplace by another or several others through recurring negative harmful acts. The negative effects of workplace bullying on the victim, bystander and organisation is well documented in research literature. However, in South Africa inquiry into the phenomenon is not nearly as extensive as in the global community. As a result, the purpose of the present study was to partially address the deficiency that exists in South African workplace bullying literature. The primary aim of the present study was to investigate the nature and prevalence of workplace bullying in two distinct workplaces, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and Power Group, in the Western Cape, South Africa. A quantitative non-experimental ex-post facto design is employed in the investigation. Data from both the SANDF (n=105) and Power Group (n=73) are presented (N-178). Descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations (SD), and percentages) are used to describe the total sample and the response data on different factors. The Chi-Square and F test were computed in order to test several differences between numerous variables for the total sample, SANDF, and Power Group. The results of the present study show that workplace bullying is a widespread problem in both the SANDF and Power Group. Between 30% and 50% of respondents had been bullied in their respective workplaces. The SANDF were found to have a higher reported prevalence of workplace bullying than Power Group. Victims are frequently subjected to work-related bullying on either a weekly or monthly basis for a period ranging between twelve months and two years. Significantly more men than women were reported as the perpetrator of workplace bullying. Those in leadership positions were more often reported as perpetrators of workplace bullying than colleagues/peers, subordinates, or clients. The results of the present study show no significant difference in the reported victimisation for gender, age, ethnicity, and level of responsibility. Those with a certificate or lower level of education were found to be at a higher risk of being bullied in the workplace than those with a diploma or higher level of education. In the case of Power Group, significant differences were found in the reported victimisation for levels of responsibility and levels of education. Workplace bullying is addressed more frequently at Power Group than in the SANDF, despite it being reported in both work environments. he present study found that neither the SANDF nor Power Group had a workplace bullying policy in the organisation.

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