• Liza Damgaard Thomsen
4. semester, Psykologi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)

Introduction: In 2014, 11.6% of the Danish workforce indicated that they had been subjected to workplace bullying. This has serious consequences for both society and the individual employee. Despite a wide range of knowledge on the area, the number of people affected by workplace bullying is slowly rising. This begs the question of whether we are approaching the subject, and the role of the bullying victim, from a particular discourse that might limit the options for addressing the issue as a profes- sion.
Aim: The aims of this study are three-part. The first aim is to examine which dis- courses are used to construct the role of the individual that is being bullied in the workplace. The second aim is to investigate which consequences these constructions have on the individual. The third and last aim is to use the previous collected know- ledge to give recommendations on how to improve the handling of workplace bully- ing.
Method: The method used in this study is discourse analysis. The analysis and fol- lowing discussion is based on the basis of Normans Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis. His three-dimensional model for analysis has been used selectively throughout the project, along with several of his tool for analysis. The project is con- structed in three sections, corresponding to the three aims of the study. The first sec- tion is a detailed textual analysis of three different internet pages concerning work- place bullying, focusing on the role of the individual and the underlying discourses. The second is a discussion concerning how these discourses affect the individual. In this section, new theory is brought in, for example Karasek’s demand-control-model, Bandura’s theory on self-efficacy and Vie, Glasø and Einarsen’s description of self- labelling. The final section presents three different recommendations to what can be done to improve on the handling of workplace bullying.
Results: In this study, it was found that the role of the individual victim of work- place bullying is constructed by four discourses; a victim-discourse, a passivity- discourse, a self-help-discourse and a collective-discourse. These four have both
positive and negative consequences for the individual, however mostly negative. Of these four, the victim-discourse and the passivity-discourse are the strongest, and dominate the material. Some of the discourses support a higher level of self-efficacy, this can help the individual to assess negative situations as challenges instead of threats, and in turn mobilize their actions accordingly. Some of the discourses contri- bute to a lack of control, which can have a negative effect on the individual’s ability to deal with the symptoms of workplace bullying. Some of the discourses can contri- bute to a higher level of guilt, which can affect the healing process. Based on the dif- ferent consequences three recommendations have been composed. The first is to change the way we construct the information material available for victims of work- place bullying, to support a more active construction. The second recommendation is for the manager to try to support the victim’s social relations, and thereby help to sustain their effort in coping with the bullying experience. The third and last recom- mendation is to remove the existing taboo concerning the co-responsibility the victim has for the circumstances surrounding the bullying. One way to achieve this is to try and draw attention to the important differences between being the fault of something happening, and having a part in the collective process.
Conclusion: In this study, it is concluded that the way we construct the individual suffering from workplace bullying, has more negative consequences than positive. It is hypothesised that this is on the grounds of a taboo concerning the individual’s co- responsibility. It therefore suggested that people working with workplace bullying try to create more responsibility and agency for the individual, without increasing the feeling of blame or guilt.
SprogDansk
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2017
Antal sider69
ID: 258640702