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Prevalence and forms of workplace bullying in the voluntary sector: is there a need for concern?

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This is an exploratory study, which investigates the nature and prevalence of workplace bullying in the voluntary sector. Findings are based on 178 questionnaires (response rate = 71%) completed by members of 29 voluntary organisations in Leicester in the United Kingdom. Fifteen per cent of the respondents reported being bullied over the previous year and 28% in the previous five years. Prevalence of bullying in the voluntary sector was higher than reported in the National Health Service trusts, fire service, higher education, manufacturing and civil service sectors. Victims most frequently experienced work-related harassment, more so than overt bullying behaviour or personal harassment. Bullying was mostly attributed to job level, office politics and the personality of others, rather than the victim's personal characteristics. Detrimental effects in terms of physical and psychological health, work performance, personal life and, to a lesser extent, sick leave were evident. Unfortunately, 81% of respondents indicated the absence of a policy that could deal with the phenomenon.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March, 2013

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  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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