Academic Article


  • 2012

The aim of this study is to examine whether and how laissez‐faire, transformational, and authentic leadership styles are related to the occurrence of bullying in work groups. It is hypothesized that the investigated leadership styles have direct associations, as well as indirect associations through group cohesion and safety perceptions, with indicators of bullying among subordinates. Using a cross‐sectional survey design, the variables were assessed in a randomly selected sample comprising 594 seafarers from two Norwegian shipping companies. Laissez‐faire leadership was associated with an increased risk of exposure to bullying behavior, self‐labeled victimization from bullying, and perpetrated bullying. Transformational leadership and authentic leadership were related to decreased risk of exposure to bullying behavior. Authentic leadership contributed to the variance in bullying beyond laissez‐faire and transformational leadership. Analyses of indirect effects showed that the association between transformational leadership and bullying was fully mediated through safety perceptions, whereas a partial indirect association through safety perceptions was found for authentic leadership. This study makes a significant contribution to the literature by providing evidence for how leadership styles predict workplace bullying. The findings highlight the importance of recruiting, developing, and training leaders who promote both positive psychological capacities and positive perceptions among their subordinates.

Nielsen, Morten Birkeland
Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 54(2): 127–136
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