Act now: you have control over workplace bullying

Tay, Chye Thiam Austin Aloysius (2019) Act now: you have control over workplace bullying. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

This thesis research aims to identify and test the efficacy of a self-administered intervention that victims of workplace bullying can use to help themselves if they have fallen into a state of psychological inflexibility. Some such individuals will resort to using an active or passive approach to confront a bully. While these approaches can be useful to temporarily alleviate the negative experiences arising from workplace bullying, they do not help to address the negative thoughts and emotions, such as self-blame and shame, that can manifest themselves because of bullying. Individuals dwelling in their negative experiences are essentially allowing themselves to get stuck in their thinking, which can eventually lead to depression and stress. There is currently no self-administered intervention that deals with this. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was chosen to be examined as a possible solution for this problem in this thesis research. ACT has been found to be useful in helping individuals who suffer from depression, stress and anxiety disorders, all of which are symptoms suffered by victims of workplace bullying. In the ACT model, there are six inter-related processes (acceptance, defusion, being present, self-as-context, committed action and values) and the culmination of all these processes helps individuals to become psychologically flexible. Three studies were conducted in this thesis research and the participants were from Asia, specifically from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Study 1 involved a total of 50 participants using a questionnaire, sent using Qualtrics, an online software. It was conducted to identify whether those who have been exposed to workplace bullying are indeed low in psychological flexibility. This was found to be the case in this research. In Study 2, ten participants from those who had participated in the questionnaire were identified to have been bullied and to have scored low in their psychological flexibility score. The ten participants were randomly allocated into either an intervention group or a control group. Those who were in the intervention group received three sessions of skills training, and, apart from two participants, the remaining participants were found to have shown some change in their psychological flexibility. Using a qualitative approach in Study 3, thematic analysis was conducted and revealed that the participants did show a change in their mindset and were able to apply what they had learned to attain psychological flexibility. This thesis research reveals preliminary evidence of the efficacy of ACT for individuals who have been exposed to workplace bullying. This thesis should pave the way for further research in the area of workplace bullying, to explore and focus on intervention that bullied targets can use to help themselves to navigate through the residual psychological thoughts and emotions they carry as a result of their bullying experiences.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Date of PhD award confirmed as 2019 by registry
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Business, Economics & Informatics > Organizational Psychology
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2019 13:44
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2019 13:44
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/436

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