Preventive Action Most Effective Way to Prevent Workplace Bullying

Preventive Action Most Effective Way to Prevent Workplace Bullying

Hanken Magazine met with Hanken professor Denise Salin to talk about work place bullying. The chances of stopping bullying are higher with early intervention, she says.

Bullying consists of repeated negative actions that happen over a longer period of time, describes Denise Salin, Professor in Management and Organisation at Hanken.
“The bully can be a manager, but also one or several colleagues who gang up. There are different interpretations of what repeated means, but the point is that these actions are not individual occurrences but rather constitute systematic behaviour”, says Salin.

Denise Salin är professor i företagsledning och organisation vid Hanken.jpg
Denise Salin, is professor in Management and organisation. Her research field is workplace bullying.


According to the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health about 5 percent of employees experience workplace bullying. Bullying can entail receiving tasks beneath one’s competence, an unreasonable workload or unjustified criticism. Personal bullying can be spreading rumours, or expressing offensive comments. Social isolation is also a common phenomenon.


According to Salin, role conflicts and uncertainties surrounding roles in the work place are the largest risk factors for bullying.


“Another related aspect is a passive leadership, allowing more room for bullying”, says Salin.

Bullying affects both the working environment and the health of the person subjected to it. There is a vast amount of research within the field, all unequivocal. However, besides the actual victim, other colleagues also feel the negative effects of bullying. According to Denise Salin, preventive work is the most effective way to put an end to bullying. Since bullying tends to increase over time, the chances of stopping bullying are higher with early intervention.

This is a shortened translation of an article from the Hanken Magazine 2/2019. Read the whole article in Swedish here. You can read the magazine online here (in Swedish).