Publication Details

Osborne, D. 2009, ''Pathways into bullying'', in B. Martin (eds), Educational Integrity: Creating an Inclusive Approach. Proceedings of the 4th Asia Pacific Conference on Educational Integrity (4APCEI), APFEI, Wollongong, pp. 1-61.


This paper contributes to the topic of educational integrity by presenting an empirical contribution that develops grounded substantive theory in the field of workplace bullying. Intrinsically there is a strong link between educational integrity and bullying because bullying is a violation of integrity. Educational integrity is underpinned by broad principles of honesty trust, equity, respect, responsibility and inclusion. The study investigated the process of becoming bullied, being bullied and the consequences for individuals and organisational cultures. Grounded theory (GT) analysis of informants’ constructions was based on action. Pathways of dissent and difference characterised by ‘standing up’ or ‘standing out’ emerged as reasons for becoming and being bullied. Holding different values and being different from the cultural norms underpinned pathways. Unlike causes, pathways continued and strengthened throughout the bullying or mobbing process. A concept I have called sham dealing emerged empirically from the GT analyses as a core type of bullying encounter. Instead of fair dealing, sham dealing was experienced. Sham dealing types of managerial actions have the appearance of genuine dealing but are characterised by a deceptive misuse of legitimate process. Sham dealing occurred in workplaces and also within the arena of the formal claims process. Sham dealing is experienced as an additional form of bullying. Empirical evidence of sham dealing explicitly contradicts any premise that managers or leadership within organisations are acting with integrity in dealing with bullying. Targets need to be warned to expect an escalation of bullying, in the form of sham dealing, if they make a complaint about bullying. Currently work-related stress due to bullying is increasing but not being counted. The bullies and their allies are being rewarded. The study findings indicate recognising more bullying claims and reducing the adversarial nature of the formal claims process is the

Link to publisher version (URL)