Predictors of Workplace Bullying and Cyber-Bullying in New Zealand

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Apr 27;13(5):448. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13050448.


Background: The negative effects of in-person workplace bullying (WB) are well established. Less is known about cyber-bullying (CB), in which negative behaviours are mediated by technology. Drawing on the conservation of resources theory, the current research examined how individual and organisational factors were related to WB and CB at two time points three months apart.

Methods: Data were collected by means of an online self-report survey. Eight hundred and twenty-six respondents (58% female, 42% male) provided data at both time points.

Results: One hundred and twenty-three (15%) of participants had been bullied and 23 (2.8%) of participants had been cyber-bullied within the last six months. Women reported more WB, but not more CB, than men. Worse physical health, higher strain, more destructive leadership, more team conflict and less effective organisational strategies were associated with more WB. Managerial employees experienced more CB than non-managerial employees. Poor physical health, less organisational support and less effective organisational strategies were associated with more CB.

Conclusion: Rates of CB were lower than those of WB, and very few participants reported experiencing CB without also experiencing WB. Both forms of bullying were associated with poorer work environments, indicating that, where bullying is occurring, the focus should be on organisational systems and processes.

Keywords: bullying; conservation of resources; cyber-bullying.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bullying / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Workplace / psychology*
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data*