Workplace Bullying


Although the word “bullying” might prompt images of schoolchildren, selected works in this portion of our digital resource explore the serious (and often silenced) incidence of social aggression in workplace settings. The research articles in this section reveal the communicative implications of workplace bullying, as well as communication-based insights for tackling such bullying and empowering employees to stand up against practices that hinder equitable, just, and respectful interaction and dialogue among all organizational members. Informed by diverse research traditions, these articles highlight the wealth of contributions that Communication scholars can offer through their practical and beneficial research and recommendations on bullying in workplace settings.


Cowan, R. (2009). “Rocking the boat” and “continuing to fight”: Un/productive justice episodes and the problem of workplace bullying. Human Communication, 12, pp. 283-302.

Cowan, R. (2011). “Yes, we have an anti-bullying policy, but ...: HR professionals' understandings and experiences with workplace bullying policy.” Communication Studies, 62, 307-327.

Cowan, R. L., & Fox, S. (2015),"Being pushed and pulled: a model of US HR professionals’ roles in bullying situations." Personnel Review, 44, 119 – 139.

Cowan, R. L. (2013). “**it Rolls downhill” and other attributions for why adult bullying happens in organizations from the human resource professional's perspective. Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 14, 97-104.  

Cowan, R. L. (2012). It’s complicated: Defining workplace bullying from the human resource professional’s perspective. Management Communication Quarterly, 26, 377-403.

Fox, S., & Cowan, R. (2015). Revision of the workplace bullying checklist: The importance of human resource management’s role in defining and addressing workplace bullying. Human Resource Management Journal, 25, 116-130.

Keashly, L. (2012). Workplace bullying: The case of teen workers. International Journal of Adolescent Medical Health, 24, 49-56.

Keashly, L. When Debate, Discourse, and Exchange Go Bad: Bullying in the Academic Workplace. Spectra, 51 (3), 23-28. 

Keashly, L., & Neuman, J. H. (2012). Bullying in higher education: What current research, theorizing, and practice tell us. In J. Lester (Ed.), Workplace bullying in higher education  (pp. 1-22). New York: Routledge. 

Keashly, L., & Neuman, J. H. (2010). Faculty Experiences with Bullying in Higher Education: Causes, Consequences, and Management. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 32, 48-70.

Lutgen-Sandvik, P., & Tracy, S. (2012). Answering five key questions about workplace bullying: How communication scholarship provides thought leadership for transforming abuse at work. Management Communication Quarterly, 26, 3-47. 

Lutgen-Sandvik, P. (2003).The communicative cycle of employee emotional abuse: Generation and regeneration of workplace mistreatment. Management Communication Quarterly, 16, 471-501. 

Lutgen-Sandvik, P. (2006).  Take this job and ...: Quitting and other forms of resistance to workplace bullying. Communication Monographs, 73, 406-433. 

Lutgen-Sandvik, P., Tracy, S. J., & Alberts, J. K. (2007). Burned by bullying in the American workplace: Prevalence, perception, degree and impact. Journal of Management Studies, 44, 837-862.

Lutgen-Sandvik, P., & Fletcher, C. (February, 2013). Nasty piece of work: Goals and communicative actions of parties in workplace bullying conflicts. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Western States Communication Association, Reno, NV.  

Lutgen-Sandvik, P., & McDermott, V. (2008). The constitution of employee-abusive organizations: A communication flows theory. Communication Theory, 18, 304-333.

Lutgen-Sandvik, P., & McDermott, V. (2011). Making sense of supervisory bullying: Perceived powerlessness, empowered possibilities. Southern Communication Journal, 76, 342-368.

Namie, G., & Lutgen-Sandvik, P. E., (2010). Active and passive accomplices: The communal character of workplace bullying. International Journal of Communication, 4, 343-373.

Theiss, S. L., Webb, L. M., & Amason, P. (2012). Workplace bullying: Academic administrators’ intervention strategies. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Western States Communication Association, Albuquerque, NM.  

Tracy, S. J., Lutgen-Sandvik, P., & Alberts, J. K. (2006). Nightmares, demons, and slaves: Exploring the painful metaphors of workplace bullying. Management Communication Quarterly, 20, 148-185. 

Tye-Williams, S., & Krone, K. J. (2014).  Chaos, reports, and quests: Narrative agency and co- workers in stories of workplace bullying. Management Communication Quarterly, 1-25.