The relationship between destructive leadership, organizational culture, and workplace bullying

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för psykologi

Abstract: An increased focus on bad leaders and toxic workplaces in recent years has led many to question how a single leader can have such a large effect on an organization. It is becoming more apparent that a relationship exists between leadership, workplace culture, and employee behavior that may explain how destructive leadership can become so widespread. This study examines the effects of perceived destructive leadership on how employees view the ethical culture of their workplace, and how they treat their fellow coworkers. 97 participants participated in an online questionnaire asking them about their perception of their leader, the culture of their workplace, and the extent to which they had bullied coworkers within the past six months. The results showed that destructive leadership significantly predicted an unethical workplace culture, and that an unethical workplace culture significantly predicted higher rates of employee bullying. However, there was no significant direct relationship found between destructive leadership and employee bullying. These findings suggest that it is not only leaders that can perpetuate destruction throughout an organization, but that culture and employees play a significant role as well.

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