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Keywords:

  • bullying;
  • mobbing;
  • frustration;
  • conflict;
  • integrated model

Abstract

Up to now, researchers have identified various individual and work-related factors as potential antecedents of workplace bullying. The aim of the present study is to integrate this line of research in view of explaining how these antecedents may develop into workplace bullying. Key informants, such as union representatives, employees with a confidence role concerning workplace bullying, human resource managers, prevention workers and social service employees, analysed bullying incidents or cases within their organization. We combined the various perspectives on the same incident into one plan. Then, all 87 case plans were united in a global model that reflects the development towards bullying. The results suggested three processes that may contribute to the development of bullying. Firstly, bullying may result from inefficient coping with frustration. Such coping mechanisms are likely to be active for perpetrators, and passive for victims. Secondly, bullying may be the consequence of escalated conflicts. Thirdly, bullying may result from destructive team and organizational cultures or habits. Individual and work-related antecedents may affect these processes in two ways: they may be at the origin of the three processes, and they may relate to the employees' coping style. Implications for theory and research are discussed. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.