chapter  8
26 Pages

Social Antecedents of Bullying: A Social Interactionist Perspective

ByJoel H. Neuman, Robert A. Baron

As described in previous chapters, workplace bullying involves persistent patterns of behavior in which one or more individuals engage in actions intended to harm others (e.g., Hoel et al., 1999). It is our contention that bullying, although not always identifi ed as such, involves acts of interpersonal aggression-any form of behavior directed toward the goal of harming or injuring another living being who is motivated to avoid such treatment (Baron and Richardson, 1994). While both phenomena involve actions that are intentional in nature, the persistence of aggression over time, evidenced in

CONTENTS

A Social Interactionist Perspective.................................................................... 203 The Social Antecedents of Aggression ............................................................. 203

The Norm of Reciprocity .......................................................................... 204 Injustice Perceptions .................................................................................. 205 Norm Violations ......................................................................................... 205 Distributive Justice .................................................................................... 206

The Link between Unfair Treatment and Workplace Violence and Aggression .................................................................................................. 208

The General Affective Aggression Model: A Modern Perspective on Human Aggression .................................................................................... 209 Frustration, Stress, and Aggression ......................................................... 211 Stress and Aggression ............................................................................... 213 Individual Dignity and Self-Worth ......................................................... 213 Instrumental Forms of Aggression .......................................................... 214

From Perceived Injustice to Workplace Bullying: The Role of Norms, Effect/Danger Ratio, and Displacement ................................................ 216 Effect/Danger Ratio .................................................................................. 216 Displaced Aggression ................................................................................ 217 Norms Supporting Workplace Bullying ................................................. 217

Conclusion ........................................................................................................... 218 References ............................................................................................................. 220

episodes of bullying, serves as a distinguishing characteristic. That is, while a single act of intentional harm-doing constitutes an act of aggression, it would not, by defi nition, constitute bullying. In short, and of central importance to the present chapter, we believe that workplace bullying involves repeated acts of interpersonal aggression directed against specifi c targets in work settings, or what we would refer to as workplace aggression-efforts by individuals to harm others with whom they work (Neuman and Baron, 1997a). Furthermore, we propose that anything that serves as an antecedent to aggression may contribute to-and increase the likelihood of-workplace bullying.