Workplace victimization: aggression from the target's perspective

Annu Rev Psychol. 2009:60:717-41. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163703.


This article reviews research on workplace victimization, which we define as acts of aggression perpetrated by one or more members of an organization that cause psychological, emotional, or physical harm to their intended target. We compare several types of victimizing behaviors that have been introduced into the organizational psychology literature to illustrate differences and similarities among them. We then review studies looking at who is likely to become a victim of aggression. Predictors include personality, demographic, behavioral, structural, and organizational variables. We also review research on coping strategies for victimization, which include problem-focused and emotion-focused strategies. We conclude with a summary of challenges for victimization research. These include addressing the proliferation of constructs and terms into the literature, attempting to clarify inconclusive findings, and using theory to guide the selection of study variables.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Affect
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Communication
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Dominance-Subordination
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Problem Solving
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Values
  • Workplace / psychology*