, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 89-108
Date: 15 Nov 2012

Prevalence and Forms of Workplace Bullying Among University Employees

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Abstract

Over the past decade, a growing number of Anglo-American and Scandinavian researchers have documented the extent to which the university environment provides opportunities for workplace bullying. By contrast, there has been a visible lack of similar studies in non-Western national contexts, such as the Czech Republic and other Central Eastern European (CEE) countries. The present article addresses this gap by reporting the findings of the first large-scale study into workplace bullying among university employees in the Czech Republic. The exposure to bullying was assessed with the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised (NAQ-R) in a sample of 1,533 university employees. The results showed that 13.6 % of the respondents were classified as bullying targets based on an operational definition of bullying (weekly exposure to one negative act), while 7.9 % of the respondents were identified as targets based on self-reports. This prevalence is comparable to bullying rates in Scandinavia but considerably lower than in Anglo-American universities. Differences between Anglo-American and Czech universities were also found with respect to the status of perpetrators (bullying was perpetrated mostly by individual supervisors in the Czech sample), perceived causes of bullying (structural causes perceived as relatively unimportant in the Czech sample), and targets’ responses to bullying (minimal use of formal responses in the Czech sample). The authors propose that cross-cultural differences as well as differences between the Anglo-American model of “neoliberal university” and the Czech model of university governance based on “academic oligarchy” can be used to explain these different findings.

The writing of this article was supported by the Czech Science Foundation research grant no. P407/10/P146 awarded to Katerina Zabrodska.