Stand Up Against Workplace Abuse

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The impacts of workplace abuse, harassment, and bullying are well documented (see our recent post on the topic for relevant research). In addition to those who are the direct target of abuse, however, there are those who witness such injustices in the workplace. A new article in Business & Society asks if and when employees will stand up for their fellow workers, and how their actions make a difference:

BAS_v50_72ppiRGB_150pixWThis article presents the work of Dr. Manuela Priesemuth. This dissertation examines what happens when employees witness supervisory abuse in the workplace. In particular, it explores whether—and when—employees will respond to witnessing supervisory abuse by engaging in prosocial actions aimed at benefitting the target of abuse. Below, the author discusses the notion of abusive supervision, theoretical perspectives of work on third- party observers, and the conditions under which the author believes third- party observers of abuse are more inclined to engage in positive behavior toward victims; that is, it is argued that specific individual characteristics (moral courage of the observer), relational characteristics (close ties between the observer and target), and organizational characteristics trigger prosocial reactions in observers. Finally, the reflection commentary provides insights about the research journey in which the author participated.

Click here to read “Stand Up and Speak Up: Employees’ Prosocial Reactions to Observed Abusive Supervision,” published by Manuela Priesemuth of Wilfrid Laurier University in Business & Society, and keep up with the latest research from the journal by clicking here.

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