Bergen Bullying Research Group

Workplace bullying: From mechanisms and moderators to problem treatment

Lead by Professor Ståle Einarsen, the project "Workplace bullying: From mechanisms and moderators to problem treatment" has been awarded NOK 33 million in grant from the University and the Norwegian Research Council.

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Professor Ståle Einarsen at the Department of Social Psychology is principal investigator for the project "Workplace Bullying: From Mechanisms and Moderators to Problem Treatment", one of the projects that has received grant from the “Top research” program in The Research Council of Norway. The project has received NOK 22.5 million in support, and has a duration of five years. With the support of the Faculty of Psychology, the funding will be close to NOK 33 million.

Workplace bullying

Over the last decades, workplace bullying has been established as a prevalent social stressor with severe detrimental outcomes for exposed employees, organizations, and the society at large. Compared to other well-known psychosocial work stressors, bullying seems to have particularly strong relationships with both health problems and sick leave.

While existing research has provided some evidence for the prevalence, outcomes, and predictors of bullying, there are still crucial key knowledge challenges within the field that need to be solved in order to develop effective organizational interventions and clinical treatment procedures. In order to add to what is currently known, upcoming research must develop and examine more advanced theoretical models within multiple disciplines which include both the mechanisms and conditions which can explain how and when bullying arises, develops, and harms individuals and organizations. To progress our knowledge and understanding of causal associations, processes, mechanisms, and interventions, upcoming research should be based on a broad set of methodological approaches, e.g. with longitudinal data rather than relying on the cross-sectional questionnaire survey method alone. Hence, in order to fully understand the process development of bullying, as well as the mechanisms which govern its antecedents and consequences, there is a need for further empirical assessments of moderating and mediating variables using prospective and objective data from randomized samples

The overarching aim of the project is:

  1. To improve our understanding of the workplace bullying phenomenon through determining mechanisms (mediating and moderating factors) that influence and explain how and when workplace bullying occurs, develops, and impacts those targeted.
  2. To provide information that can be used to develop sound and effective interventions and rehabilitation approaches for targeted individuals and organizations.

The project will be carried out in cooperation with the Norwegian Institute of Occupational Health STAMI in Oslo and Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, as well as in cooperation with researchers in England, Finland, Belgium and at the University of Stavanger, Norway.

Project description of NRC grant Toppforsk project