Insights into Effective Interventions for the Prevention and Management of Workplace Bullying in the New Zealand Public Service
Workplace bullying is widely recognised as a severe workplace health and safety issue that can have harmful consequences for both individuals and organisations. Bullying is a difficult phenomenon for organisations to deal with generally, with effective prevention and management in public sector environments considered especially challenging. This thesis seeks to explore current workplace bullying prevention and management interventions within the New Zealand Public Service. In adopting a pragmatic exploratory mixed-model research method, research approaches aim to provide practical insights into anti-bullying interventions. Data for this research is collected from two sources; organisational anti-bullying policies, and semi-structured interviews with human resource practitioners and union representatives involved in the prevention and management of workplace bullying. Both human resource practitioners and union representatives were found to have multiple roles in the prevention and management of workplace bullying, and generally interpreted bullying allegations as being unsubstantiated. This research suggests that greater emphasis should be placed on primary intervention, and that mediation may be useful as both a secondary and tertiary intervention. The findings of this research also indicate that stakeholder interpretations, and in turn their practical responses to workplace bullying, may be influenced by a range of factors within the public sector environment; including the sedimentation of contradictory public sector approaches, the legislative and regulatory environment, personal experience, and role expectations.