Publication Details

Kelly, D, Workplace bullying - a complex issue neeing IR/HRM research?, in Pocock, B, Provis, C and Willis, E (eds), 21st Century Work: Proceedings of the 20th Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand, University of South Australia, February 2006, 274-284. Proceedings available online here.


Workplace bullying encompasses a wide array of targeted, persistent and destructive behaviours, usually by managers towards their subordinates. It is an extensive and seemingly growing phenomenon which is costly to individuals, workplaces and organisations. The costs for organisations include productivity loss, turnover, and increased legal and insurance costs. There are also considerable costs to individuals and the ethical capital of organisations, but this is more difficult to measure. Curiously IR and HRM scholars have rarely undertaken systematic investigation or analysis of the issue, despite the fact that it appears to be an issue squarely within the purview of these disciplines. The paper concludes that further research from IR/HRM perspective would benefit transdisciplinary investigation and analysis of bullying in ways that might assist in devising organisation and public policy and practices which, in turn, could reduce the extent and impact of bullying.