An exploratory study on how workplace bullying is conceptualised in the Australasian media
Workplace bullying continues to be a prominent issue in both New Zealand and Australian workplaces. Victims of workplace bullying suffer a multitude of grievances on a personal and working level, reducing their job satisfaction and job performance, whilst increasing levels of absenteeism and likelihood of quitting the organisation. An organisation which enables workplace bullying to remain unresolved is breaching legal statutes in Australasia, which require that employers provide a safe environment for their workers. This paper reports on an analysis of some 200 media articles from Australasia regarding the issue of workplace bullying, with a view to understanding how bullying is represented in the media. From a work-environment hypothesis view, the analysis sought to determine whether bullying was portrayed as predominantly a product of the work environment, or as a largely interpersonal concern. The findings of this paper suggest that although reports of the words “culture” and “environment” are present, particularly in New Zealand articles, there is little evidence from media accounts to indicate that Australasian sources perceive the issue of workplace bullying as one that is derivative from an organisation’s workplace environment. The implications of this finding indicate that Australasian media sources are placing the blame of bullying behaviours on the actions of employees, rather than holding organisations responsible for creating an environment that enables workplace bullying behaviours to occur.