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South African Journal of Education

On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
Print version ISSN 0256-0100

Abstract

DE WET, Corene. Educators' understanding of workplace bullying. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2014, vol.34, n.1, pp.1-16. ISSN 2076-3433.

This article looks at educators' understanding of workplace bullying through the lens o a two-dimensional model of bullying. Educators, who were furthering their studies at the University of the Free State, were invited to take part in a study on different types of bullying. Deductive, directed content analysis was used to analyse 59 participants' descriptions of workplace bullying. The study found that the theoretical model provided a valuable framework for studying bullying in this context. The analysis of the educators' descriptions provided the following insights about the relational and organisational foundations of workplace bullying: (1) The relational powerless victims are subjected to public humiliation, disregard, isolation and discrimination. The bullying of educators results in escalating apathy and disempowerment, to the detriment of their professional and private wellbeing. (2) Bullying is likely to occur in schools where organisational chaos reigns. Such schools are characterised by incompetent, unprincipled, abusive leadership, lack of accountability, fairness and transparency. (3) There is interplay between relational powerlessness and organisational chaos, i.e. the absence of principled leadership, accountability and transparency gives rise to workplace bullying.

Keywords : content analysis; educators; school principals; workplace bullying.

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