Workplace bullying among New Zealand veterinarians : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand
Workplace bullying is a global issue associated with devastating consequences for individuals
and is costly to organisations. Veterinarians play a vital role in New Zealand and whilst there
has been considerable research on workplace stress within the profession, little is known about
the extent to which workplace bullying occurs and the problems it gives rise to. This study
examined job demands (team conflict and destructive leadership) and job resources (ethical
leadership and perceived organisational support) and their relationship to employees’ physical
health, level of strain and organisational variables in the context of workplace bullying. In
addition, the buffering role of psychological capital against workplace bullying was examined.
This study investigated these relationships by means of an online survey, using multiple
regression analyses to test the main hypotheses.
Workplace bullying was prevalent amongst this sample of New Zealand veterinarians and was
associated with worse physical health, higher levels of strain, reduced self-rated job
performance and higher intentions to quit. Destructive leadership and team conflict had direct
effects on personal and organisational variables and created an environment where workplace
bullying was able to flourish. Workplace bullying did not mediate relationships to the extent
expected. Positive resources reduced the effects of workplace bullying on strain and selfreported
job performance but not on physical health symptoms, intentions to quit and
absenteeism. Overall, the results indicate negative work conditions are stronger than positive
work conditions and are associated with undesirable individual and organisational variables.
Workplace bullying is a potent stressor and is fostered by negative work environments. This
study concludes it is vital that organisations create positive work environments to prevent or
reduce bullying from occurring.