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Beware of Non-Supportive Leaders: Moderating Effects of Supportive Leadership on the Risks and Effects of Workplace Bullying
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3904-1948
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Akta dig för icke-stödjande ledare : Modererande effekter av stödjande ledarskap på risker och effekter kopplade till mobbning i arbetslivet (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

The aim was to investigate how supportive leadership affects workplace bullying—both in terms of risk factors that may lead to bullying but also in terms of the effects of bullying. The thesis includes three survey studies based on different Swedish cohorts and using different research design in terms of the number of data collection waves and timeframes.

Based on the association between workplace bullying and poor health—and drawing on the social learning theory, the theory of social information processing, the social identity theory, and the self-categorisation theory—a circular and multilevel interaction model was created. It is presented together with six hypotheses and an open research question.

The summarised and combined results can be divided into two major parts concerning (a) two studied risk factors (role ambiguity and individual poor health), and (b) the investigated moderator (supportive leadership).

The results showed that role ambiguity is a long term predictor of being exposed to bullying behaviours at work, and that a hostile work climate is a mediator for that association. The results also showed that poor general health is a predictor of future bullying exposure.

The results additionally showed that a supportive leadership fully moderated the effects on exposure to bullying behaviours by (a) ambiguous roles, mediated through a hostile work climate, and (b) poor general health. The result furthermore showed that a supportive leadership have an effect on the association between exposure to bullying behaviours and health. The effect was in terms of a moderated moderation also including co-worker support.

Finally, the results also pointed to direct positive effects of both supportive leadership and co-worker support on individual health as well as to a direct mitigating effect of a supportive leadership on workplace bullying.

Altogether, the thesis points to very important moderating effects of a supportive leadership and especially the fundamentally destructive effects in association with nonsupportive leadership.

Abstract [sv]

Syftet var att undersöka hur stödjande ledarskap påverkar mobbning på arbetsplatsen—både när det gäller riskfaktorer som kan leda till mobbning men också vad gäller effekterna av mobbning. Avhandlingen omfattar tre enkätstudier baserade på olika svenska kohorter och med olika forskningsdesign gällande datainsamlingar och tidsramar.

Baserat på sambandet mellan mobbning och ohälsa—och med utgångspunkt i social inlärningsteori, teorin om social informationsbehandling, social identitetsteori och teorin om självkategorisering—skapades en cirkulär interaktionsmodell med flera nivåer. Den presenteras tillsammans med sex hypoteser och en öppen forskningsfråga.

De sammanfattade och kombinerade resultaten kan delas in i två huvuddelar avseende (a) två studerade riskfaktorer (otydliga roller och individuell bristande hälsa), och (b) den undersökta moderatorn (stödjande ledarskap).Resultatet visade att otydliga roller utgör en långsiktig prediktor för att bli utsatt för mobbningsbeteenden på jobbet, och att ett fientligt arbetsklimat är en mediator för den kopplingen. Resultatet visade också att allmän bristande hälsa utgör en prediktor för framtida mobbningsexponering.

Resultaten visade också att ett stödjande ledarskap helt modererade effekterna av (a) otydliga roller medierat genom ett fientligt arbetsklimat och (b) bristande allmän hälsa på förekomsten av mobbning. Resultatet visade även att ett stödjande ledarskap har en effekt på sambandet mellan exponering för mobbningsbeteenden och hälsa. Effekten var i form av en modererad moderering som även inkluderande stöd från kollegor.

Slutligen pekade resultaten också på direkta positiva effekter av både stödjande ledarskap och stödjande kollegor på individens hälsa samt på en direkt mildrande effekt av ett stödjande ledarskap på förekomsten av mobbning på arbetsplatsen.

Sammantaget pekar avhandlingen på mycket viktiga modererande effekter av ett stödjande ledarskap och särskilt på fundamentalt destruktiva effekter i samband med ickestödjande ledarskap.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2022. , p. 120
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Sciences, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 845Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 247
Keywords [en]
Workplace bullying, Supportive leadership, Health, Role ambiguity, Hostile work climate, Moderation, Longitudinal
Keywords [sv]
Arbetsplatsmobbning, Stödjande ledarskap, Hälsa, Otydliga roller, Fientligt arbetsklimat, Moderation, Longitudinell
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-189741DOI: 10.3384/9789179295325ISBN: 9789179295318 (print)ISBN: 9789179295325 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-189741DiVA, id: diva2:1708845
Public defence
2022-12-15, Key 1, Building Key, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
AFA Insurance, 160285Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2019-01232Available from: 2022-11-07 Created: 2022-11-07 Last updated: 2024-03-08Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Exposure to bullying behaviours and support from co-workers and supervisors: a three-way interaction and the effect on health and well-being
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exposure to bullying behaviours and support from co-workers and supervisors: a three-way interaction and the effect on health and well-being
2020 (English)In: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, ISSN 0340-0131, E-ISSN 1432-1246, Vol. 93, no 4, p. 479-490Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose Workplace bullying can be very stressful and it has detrimental effects on health and well-being which makes it an important area of study. Social support has traditionally been seen as important in moderating work-related stress. It was hypothesised that the negative association between exposure to bullying behaviours, and health and well-being is moderated by (a) perceived support from close co-workers and (b) perceived supportive leadership. In the study, we also investigated a three-way interaction between exposure to bullying behaviours, perceived support from close co-workers and perceived supportive leadership. This association has not been studied before and add new knowledge to the research field. Methods We used a moderated moderation analysis of workplace bullying, co-worker support and supervisor support using cross-sectional data from a work environment survey with 1383 respondents (75% response rate). Results The moderated moderation analysis confirmed the moderating effect of perceived co-worker support but not the moderating effect of perceived supervisor support. There was a three-way interaction, but not in the case of the lowest 12.6% of perceived supervisor support scores. Conclusions These results indicate that the negative effect of workplace bullying on health and well-being is weaker if victims perceive that they have co-worker support, but this protective effect seems to be conditional on the perceived level of supervisor support. In other words, lack of supportive leadership may block the beneficial effect of perceived co-worker support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SPRINGER, 2020
Keywords
Workplace bullying; Health outcomes; Social support; Co-workers; Leadership; Moderation
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-165161 (URN)10.1007/s00420-019-01503-7 (DOI)000523015500007 ()31828422 (PubMedID)
Note

Funding Agencies|Forskningsradet om Halsa, Arbetsliv och Valfard [2019-01232]

Available from: 2020-04-20 Created: 2020-04-20 Last updated: 2022-11-07
2. When do poor health increase the risk of subsequent workplace bullying? The dangers of low or absent leadership support
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When do poor health increase the risk of subsequent workplace bullying? The dangers of low or absent leadership support
2022 (English)In: European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, ISSN 1359-432X, E-ISSN 1464-0643, Vol. 31, no 4, p. 485-495Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Studies have shown that mental health problems may lead to workplace bullying, a so-called reversed effect. The current study investigated if this effect can be found also for poor health in general. When the reverse effect occurs is unclear. Supervisor support has been shown to moderate different antecedents and consequences associated with bullying. It was hypothesized that poor health would be a risk factor for bullying and that a supportive leadership style would moderate this risk. Using a two-wave design with 958 participants, logistic regression was used to test the association between health and workplace bullying. A moderation analysis tested supportive leadership style as a moderator. The study resulted in two novel findings: (a) a supportive leadership style has a strong mitigating effect on bullying behaviours, both directly and as a buffer; (b) poor health in general, including poor physical health, about doubles the risk of becoming a victim of workplace bullying. Together, these two findings make a boundary condition for the reverse effect clearer. The reversed effect only seems to be present when the level of leadership support is low or absent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge; Taylor & Francis, 2022
Keywords
Supportive leadership; health; workplace bullying; reversed effect; moderation; longitudinal
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-181459 (URN)10.1080/1359432X.2021.2003781 (DOI)000719282500001 ()
Note

Funding Agencies|AFA Insurance [160285]; Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and WelfareSwedish Research CouncilSwedish Research Council for Health Working Life & Welfare (Forte) [2019-01232]

Available from: 2021-11-30 Created: 2021-11-30 Last updated: 2022-11-07
3. Role ambiguity as an antecedent to workplace bullying: Hostile work climate and supportive leadership as intermediate factors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Role ambiguity as an antecedent to workplace bullying: Hostile work climate and supportive leadership as intermediate factors
2024 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Management, ISSN 0956-5221, E-ISSN 1873-3387, Vol. 40, no 2, article id 101328Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous studies have shown role stress to be an important antecedent of workplace bullying. The present study investigated when and how a long-term effect of role ambiguity on exposure to bullying may be present. Based on the work environment hypothesis, we hypothesized that (a) there is a long-term effect of role ambiguity on exposure of bullying, (b) that this relationship is mediated by hostile work climate, and (c) moderated by supportive leadership. Using a three-wave design, with a time lag of 41–45 months, we showed support for all three hypotheses. The study underscores the importance of clear work-related roles as well as the importance of supportive leadership to prevent the onset of bullying following role stress and hostile climates.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2024
Keywords
Hostile work climate; Mediated moderation; Role ambiguity; Supportive leadership; Workplace bullying
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-201373 (URN)10.1016/j.scaman.2024.101328 (DOI)
Note

Funding agencies: The AFA Insurrance under Grant number 160285, and the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and Welfare under Grant number 2019-01232.

Available from: 2024-03-05 Created: 2024-03-05 Last updated: 2024-03-08

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