Psychosocial safety climate as a lead indicator of workplace bullying and harassment, job resources, psychological health and employee engagement

Accid Anal Prev. 2011 Sep;43(5):1782-93. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.04.010. Epub 2011 May 4.


Psychosocial safety climate (PSC) is defined as shared perceptions of organizational policies, practices and procedures for the protection of worker psychological health and safety, that stem largely from management practices. PSC theory extends the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) framework and proposes that organizational level PSC determines work conditions and subsequently, psychological health problems and work engagement. Our sample was derived from the Australian Workplace Barometer project and comprised 30 organizations, and 220 employees. As expected, hierarchical linear modeling showed that organizational PSC was negatively associated with workplace bullying and harassment (demands) and in turn psychological health problems (health impairment path). PSC was also positively associated with work rewards (resources) and in turn work engagement (motivational path). Accordingly, we found that PSC triggered both the health impairment and motivational pathways, thus justifying extending the JD-R model in a multilevel way. Further we found that PSC, as an organization-based resource, moderated the positive relationship between bullying/harassment and psychological health problems, and the negative relationship between bullying/harassment and engagement. The findings provide evidence for a multilevel model of PSC as a lead indicator of workplace psychosocial hazards (high demands, low resources), psychological health and employee engagement, and as a potential moderator of psychosocial hazard effects. PSC is therefore an efficient target for primary and secondary intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bullying*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation
  • Occupational Health*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Reward
  • Safety*
  • Self Report
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*