Workaholism and the Enactment of Bullying Behavior at Work: A Prospective Analysis

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Despite the fact that workaholism and workplace aggressive behavior share many correlates, such as neuroticism, hostility, and negative affectivity, little is known about their relationship, with most evidence on both phenomena coming from cross-sectional studies. In the present study, we contributed to a better understanding of the antecedents of enacted workplace bullying behavior (i.e., perpetration of bullying), and the potential interpersonal implications of workaholism, by investigating their cross-lagged relationship. Data from a two-wave one-year panel study conducted with 235 employees in a national healthcare service organization showed substantial cross-sectional and cross-lagged positive relationships between workaholism and enacted workplace bullying. Whereas Time 1 workaholism was a significant predictor of Time 2 enacted workplace bullying, reversed causation was not supported. To shed light on the role of a potential mechanism explaining the link between workaholism and enactment of bullying, we examined whether job-related negative affect (e.g., anger) mediated their longitudinal relationship. However, whereas increased negative affect from T1 to T2 was positively associated with T2 enacted workplace bullying, the relationship between T1 workaholism and increased job-related negative affect was not significant, contrary to the hypothesized mediation. Taken together, our findings suggest that workaholism may be an important antecedent of enacted workplace bullying. Study limitations and future perspectives are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2399
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2022

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - workaholism, workplace bullying behavior, cross-lagged relationship, negative affect, cross-lagged mediation

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