Understanding individual experiences of cyberbullying encountered through work

2016-09-15T10:17:48Z (GMT) by Wayne Heatherington Iain Coyne
Little research has explored individual experiences of cyberbullying in working contexts. To start bridging the gap in our current understanding, we used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to explore individuals’ shared experiences of cyberbullying encountered through work. In-depth interviews, conducted with five cyberbullied workers from the pharmaceutical, charity and university sectors, resulted in five superordinate themes: attributions of causality; crossing of boundaries; influence of communication media richness on relationship development; influence of communication explicitness and openness; and strategies for coping. Overall, some similarities emerged between cyberbullying experiences and traditional bullying research, yet the complexities associated with managing relationships, both virtually and physically, were central to individuals’ subjective experiences. Practical implications in developing effective leadership and business policies to support virtual groups and manage behaviours are discussed.