Irish workplace behaviour study
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This study replicated the BWBS in Ireland, employing the same questionnaire and sampling methodology, in order to establish the prevalence of negative acts in the workplace in a nationally representative sample of Irish employees. The focus of the study is workplace ill treatment received at least once over the previous two years. Workplace ill treatment takes many forms. Workplace bullying is perhaps the most well researched aspect of workplace ill treatment, and has become the dominant way of conceptualising trouble at work. Workplace bullying is a problem for practitioners, academics, and most significantly, it is a problem for those who experience or witness it. There is incontrovertible evidence that ill treatment, impacts negatively on worker health. Many studies cumulatively attest to the toxic effects of ill treatment in work on both physical and mental health and well being. Despite this, ill treatment remains prevalent in workplaces in many countries and organisational response is typically poor. I n 20011 and 20072, national surveys on workplace bullying were conducted in Ireland. These studies found prevalence rates of 7% and 7.9% respectively, employing a self labelling method, in which respondents were asked, following the presentation of a definition, to state whether or not they have been bullied in the past six months. A number of contextual factors make a new survey timely. The British Workplace Behaviour Survey (BWBS) was administered by face-to-face structured interview to a representative sample of UK employees between 2007 and 2008, gathering data on demographic factors, job and workplace characteristics, respondents’ views about their levels of control over the pace and nature of their work, and about why people think they are ill-treated in their workplaces. The survey employed a behavioural checklist, amended following cognitive testing, and including eight items on ‘unreasonable management’, 11 items measuring ‘incivility and disrespect’ and two items on ‘physical violence’. The cognitive testing element was critical to improving the validity of the instrument, and minimised the possibility of errors in conceptualisation and interpretation of items. Respondents were also asked if they had witnessed or perpetrated any of the 21 items.
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