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Workplace Bullying and Outcomes in Former Communist Context

Conference paper presented by Gintare Visockaite at the International Congress of the International Commission on Occupational Health - Work Organization and Psychosocial Factors

Workplace bullying has been well documented as an extreme social stressor, resulting in destructive outcomes to individuals and organizations (e.g. Salin, 2003). However, majority of such evidence is collected with Western samples and less is known about these issues witnin post-transitional or communist contexts. Furthermore, currently available literature is largely concerned with conceptualisation of workplace bullying and understanding the antecedents and outcomes, while focus on more complex relationships to explain the phenomenon is rising.
The present study aimed to contribute new knowledge on workplace bullying, outcomes, and unique influences to this relationship in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Respublics. First, we wanted to establish the prevalence of exposure to negative behaviours, likely considered as ‘bullying’ in Western societies, and their impact on individual and organizational well-being. Second, we sought to find the moderating effects to this relationship by individual differences, likely shaped by former communist context. We aimed to achieve this by applying the theory of Self-concept, explainig the understanding of the self through three levels of social interactions: individualst - emphasizing own uniqueness, relational – focusing on important others, and collectivist – concerning group memberships (Johnson, et al., 2006).

Our results demonstrated that 4.7% of respondents were bullying victims according to binary scoring of NAQ-R (experience of two or more negative acts weekly and daily within the last six months). The exposure to workplace bullying had negative impact on commitment and resulted in higher strain and turnover. Furthermore, our participants appeared to be characterised by higher relational (mean=5.31, SD=0.81) and collectivist (mean=4.93, SD=0.87) than individualist (mean=3.31, SD=1.16) self-concept levels. As for moderators, no signifficant interactions were found with individualist level. Meanwhile, high relational level appeared to escalate negative impact of workplace bullying on all outcomes. In contrast, high collectivist level was likely to buffer the impact of workplace bullying on all outcomes.