Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 95, Supplement 1, pp 17–27 | Cite as

Discouraging Bullying: The Role of Ethical Leadership and its Effects on the Work Environment

  • Jeroen StoutenEmail author
  • Elfi Baillien
  • Anja Van den Broeck
  • Jeroen Camps
  • Hans De Witte
  • Martin Euwema


Bullying is one of the most impactful deviant actions that affects workers’ personal health and work experience. Bullying is a quite distinctive deviant behavior as targets are subjected to transgressions that could last for months or longer. Even though a number of actions can be taken to resolve bullying between all parties, from the viewpoint of the target it is hard to resolve the situation. As a result, hierarchical influence may be necessary to prevent bullying in the first place. A possible solution, therefore, is focusing on how leaders can impact the bullying behavior. This research argued and showed that ethical leadership is negatively associated with being bullied through tackling one of its most important antecedents of bullying: the design of the work environment. That is, ethical leaders could be shown to improve employees’ workload (quantitative work environment) and poor working conditions (qualitative work environment), which was related to decreased bullying.

Key words

bullying ethical leadership workload work conditions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeroen Stouten
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elfi Baillien
    • 2
  • Anja Van den Broeck
    • 2
  • Jeroen Camps
    • 1
  • Hans De Witte
    • 1
  • Martin Euwema
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.HUBrusselBrusselBelgium

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