The “Too Hard Basket”: managing workplace bullying

Pamela Lockhart, Ramudu Bhanugopan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the use of employee assistance programs (EAP) as a form of perceived organisational support (POS) to address workplace bullying (WB), from the perspective of employees who have been the victims of bullying. Design/methodology/approach: Using an on-line survey, data were collected from 397 employees across a range of positions and industry sectors in Australia, who indicated they had been subjected to bullying.

Findings: The results of the study indicate that WB is rife, and although anti-bullying policies were in existence participants felt that these were mere tokenism. The level of POS and use of EAPs were considered to be inadequate and, interestingly, in some cases offered more support to the bully than the victim.

Research limitations/implications: With the increased rate of WB, organisations are seeking different ways to address this. This study highlights that the ability of EAPs to provide support to employees in these circumstances appears to be limited. The findings suggest that if management wish to use EAPs to support employees in cases of WB, they must invest more in them.

Originality/value: This study seeks to extend research into the management of WB through EAPs and POS and posits that there is a high level of dissatisfaction with management’s response and support with regard to bullying incidents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-522
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis
Issue number2
Early online date16 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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