An Examination of Workplace Bullying in the Public Sector: A Multilevel Moderated Mediation Model

Diep Nguyen, Stephen Teo, Thanh Truc Le

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Workplace bullying is a negative psychosocial factor discouraging public servants to stay engaged and committed to the organization. This study contributes new insights into the understanding of the antecedents and outcomes of workplace bullying in the public sector. Drawing from three theoretical perspectives such as Social Learning, Social Information Processing, and Affective Events, we tested the multi-level relationships between ethical leadership, workplace bullying, and affective commitment of public servants under the moderating effects of power distance orientation and displaced aggression. Using data collected from 289 public servants nested in 59 teams in a province of a Southeast Asian country, there was empirical support for the importance of ethical leadership in decreasing workplace bullying and increasing affective commitment. Employees with high-power distance orientation who work with ethical leaders are more likely to accept workplace bullying behaviors. In situations where workplace bullying is high, employees who express a moderate level of displaced aggression will report a lower level of affective commitment. These findings highlight the importance of a consideration of contextual contexts and emotional reactions in understanding workplace bullying and its outcomes."

Original languageEnglish
Article number11509
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


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