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Proceedings of 31st International Business Research Conference
27 - 29 July 2015, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
ISBN: 978-1-922069-80-1
Workplace Bullying Behaviors: Morally Acceptable or
Lisa M. S. Barrow
Workplace bullying is an epidemic that is slowly eroding the foundation of many
organizations in Canada and the United States. Though many states and
provinces have sought to address this issue by legislative means, the efforts for
the most part have been ineffective. Bullying in the workplace presents an ethical
dilemma for organizations, leaders and employees. Researchers and
professionals are seeking to gain a better understanding of why some employers
and leaders appear to ignore behaviors of individuals that jeopardize the welfare
of the organization, employees and members of society.
Current and future organizational leaders have a moral and legal obligation to
ensure employees work in a respectful and safe environment. When individuals
rely on bullying behaviors, the employees’ work environment is no longer
respectful nor safe.
Since leaders create the ethical climates in their
organizations, they are in the best position to examine the implications of bullying
behaviors. Ethical climates are psychological structures that define perceptions
of right behavior and influence behavioral responses to ethical dilemmas.
Workplace bullying is an ethical dilemma as it promotes self-interest behavior as
the norm even though harm may come to others. The purpose of this study was
to determine whether future organizational leaders considered behaviors
associated with workplace bullying to be ethical. The research question is; Are
leaders who rely on bullying behaviors demonstrating morally acceptable
behavior? During a 6-month period, 300 university business students completed
an online survey. The survey consisted of 14 questions representing behaviors
that are commonly associated with workplace bullying. The participants were
asked to determine whether the behaviors were morally acceptable. The findings
suggest that university business students identify bullying behaviors as being
morally unacceptable.
Dr. Lisa M. S. Barrow, OBHREE, Brock University, Goodman School of Business, Canada