The cruel irony among dentist, doctors and nurses is that they are driven towards health profession to improve the quality of life of their patients, contributing to community wellbeing, brightening rays of life in those who are distressed, physically and mentally vulnerable, yet the majority of them have been bullied by their colleagues and supervisors.
Workplaces are where humans interact socially, compete enthusiastically, perform under time pressure, utilizing scarce resources, have differences in goals, opinions, personalities, priorities, belonging to different cultures, religion, faith. Where there is vast range of disparity, the aggression, the conflict, the hostility and envious behaviour patterns among people could not be ignored. Workplace bullying is a tenacious continuous form of misdeed, misconduct, exploitation in the workplace by employees, fellows, colleagues, subordinates, supervisors and or others that causes severe impact and compromises psychological, social and physical wellbeing of an employee. Research on workplace bullying has been increased since past two to three decades, as, apart from psychological and physical impact, loss of costs associated with this deleterious act have been recognized by human resource practitioners and organizational psychologists. Perceived social support provided by co-workers, fellows and colleagues is related to subjective prosperity, emotional and psychological benefits impacting influences on cognitive behavior/ attitude and upon individual patterns of performance at workplace as well. As a consequence of occupational stress, dentist in general practice experience more physical and mental health issues as compared to other health professionals 1. WPB and its antecedents had attained the attention of researchers since long 2. Few researches have been conducted exploring, investigating and finding, all the above variables together, therefore, this research will help opening new avenues for future recommendations.
By gaining support from transformational and chaos and complexity theories the study explains workplace bullying and its possible consequences. Transformational theory proposed by Jack Mezirow exists when a life changing event or dilemma occurs changing the assumptions, beliefs, behaviour, attitude, overall perspective of the person’s mind frame 3. If an employee continues to face the dilemma of workplace bullying his perspectives could change, leading towards poor performance, changing behaviour, beliefs because of the extent of damage caused by workplace bullying, in form of physical, mental and financial as well. Transformational theory is linked with victims of workplace bullying, they exhibit transformation because they don’t report the act, suffer, compromising their health, resources, energy, showing poor performance issues, engaging and participating less frequently 4. The concept behind that chaos and complexity theory is that a small change or small differences in initial conditions or state could possibly result in large differences or outcomes in a later state. Similarly, if an employee is encountered by repeated act of misconduct at workplace, the change in his state either physical or mental, if not managed or handled properly could possibly result in more disastrous effects. The study is intended to investigate the link of strong bonds of direct effects of workplace bullying on Employee’s outcomes, exploring the possible transformations that are linked with workplace bullying dilemma.
Most dental workplaces are aware WPB exists, but they are often unprepared when it happens. They tolerate bullying as style of leadership, also because of lack of effective policies and protocol in place or either are unable to identify or do not have authority to do
something about the situation 5. The present study aims to explore the unexplored outcomes and the consequences associated with the deleterious act of bullying. An attempt to conduct this study is also unique in a way that there are very limited studies conducted on workplace bullying specially surrounding the health sector work area. The significance of this research is to exemplify, investigate and bring to surface the appalling bullying culture, thus exploring the construct of bullying in the workplace and to explore the role of unexplored variable in bullying literature, perceived coworkers social support, the role played by fellows, colleagues to combat all the consequences of deleterious influences of workplace bullying, in the broad context, specially referring to dental practitioners.
Workplace Bullying and Employees’ Outcomes
The activity of workplace bullying usually happens when there is inequality and disproportion of capabilities and power, treating bullied employee as scapegoat and victim of systematic negative social act 6. Workplace bullying is the worst type of social stress being evident at workplaces 7. Different types of bullying evident at workplaces are 8:Serial Bullying, Pair Bullying, Gang or Group Bullying, Secondary Bullying, Residual Bullying, Client Bullying, Institutional Bullying, Cyber Bullying, Corporate Bullying, Unwitting or Pressure Bullying, Organizational Bullying, Vicarious Bullying, Legal Bullying, and Regulation Bullying. One of the common characteristics of bullies is narcissism. Narcissistic bullies love to take credits of others work, everything is all about them 9. Machiavellians are cold, insincere, manipulative type of bullies, they love to act behind the scenes. Open hostile bully, gets appeased and satisfied and they bloom and prosper on rivalry, conflict, determined and loves to dominate, have no fear of concealing the activity, usually use the tactic of name calling and confrontation. Health care workers might be vulnerable to this type of bully because of their helping and caring temperament. Disturbing bullies are psychopaths, with personality disorders, they lie, cheat, threaten, may have history of mental illness, addictions or history of bullying 10. The act of workplace bullying has been main focus of many researchers since long. In one of the studies, for investigating the prevalence and experience of bullying behaviour seen, a survey was conducted by Steadman, gathering data from two hundred and twenty-seven post graduate hospital dentists, the study concluded that 25% of respondents identified themselves as victims of bullying, 47% witnessed colleagues being bullied 11.
In a report by Boorman on NHS employees, the author concluded that almost 80% of staff of the healthcare assumed that condition of their physical and mental health impacted influences on how they treat and handle their patients 12. Stress due to workplace bullying is subdivided into many forms, stress generated by WPB, that poses significant threat and danger to personal status (including psychological and physiological states), professional status of victim employee, stress generated due to socially excluding or isolating, stress related to unmanageable and unbearable workload, stress due to destabilization and imbalance. Employees that work with narcissist tend to exhibit higher level of stress, that in turn increases staff turnovers 13 14. A study, highlighting the impact of workplace bullying on job performance, turnover intention, OCB and stress, concluded that the intention to leave was the most critical and compelling influence of workplace bullying, increase in stress was related to increased incidents of workplace bullying, whereas, decrease in workplace bullying was associated with better task performance and enhanced citizenship behaviour among data collected from three hundred and twenty bank employees 15.
On the basis of above discussion, hypotheses proposed are:
H1a: Workplace bullying is positively related to Job Stress
H1b: Workplace bullying is positively related to Turn over Intention
H1c: Workplace bullying is negatively related to Job Performance
H1d: Workplace bullying negatively related to OCB-I
Perceived Co-worker Social Support and Employee’s Outcomes
Perceived co-worker social support is deliberated as the individual’s impression and subjective judgement, notion and recognition that coworker or fellow would provide aid, give backing, offer co-operations and would provide help during and at the time of distress 16. It is multidimensional construct, different forms of Social Support provided by co-workers are: Structural Support, degree with which one is linked with the social network that surrounds him and Functional Support, particular specific functional means that are provided and contributed by the community to whom the individual integrates. May be in a form of emotional, informational, instrumental and companionship support 17.
Recent studies concluded that the benefits that are associated and connected with perceiving the social support are more than the actual received one (enacted) emphasising that functional support provided is critical in stressful conditions. PCS plays an important significant role on employee outcomes, helps to combat stressful conditions at work thus reducing turnover intention Perceived co-worker support has received considerable attention in past, and is significantly associated with performance, organizational citizen ship behaviour and other factors contributing towards employee’s wellbeing. The co-worker social support plays crucial and decisive role in employees’ motivation, enhancing behaviour patterns and work-related outcomes 18.
Thus, it is hypothesized:
H2a: Perceived co-worker social support is negatively related to Job Stress
H2b: Perceived co-worker social support is negatively related to Turnover Intention.
H2c: Perceived co-worker social support is positively related to Job Performance.
H2d: Perceived co-worker social support is positively related to OCB-I
Moderating Role of Perceived Co-worker Social Support Between Workplace bullying and Employees’ Outcomes
Sarasons highlighted the relationship between social support, personalities and performance particularly in sports, described the concept linked between perceived support and its relation to development of skills and performance at work 19. Park and Kim 20 found, in a study of employees of health care, that high social support was positively linked and associated with higher levels of work performance. One of the studies conducted on nurses working in NHS, concluded that 40% of nurses, who experienced workplace bullying, confirmed that the level of job satisfaction diminished to critical levels, intentions to turn over the employment were ignited, raised levels of anxiety and depressions and compromised performance issues were reported and co-workers support endorsed lacked the capabilities of coping with deleterious act of bullying as reported by respondents 21.
The above discussion concludes following hypotheses:
H3: Perceived co-worker social support moderates the relationship between workplace bullying and Job stress in such a way that high Perceived co-worker social support weakens the relationship
H4: Perceived co-worker social support moderates the relationship between workplace bullying and turnover intention in such a way that high Perceived co-worker social support weakens the relationship
H5: Perceived co-worker social support moderates the relationship between workplace bullying and job performance in such a way that high Perceived co-worker social support weakens the relationship
H6: Perceived co-worker social support moderates the relationship between workplace bullying and OCB-I in such a way that high Perceived co-worker social support weakens the relationship