Workplace bullying phenomenon: A review of explaining theories and models

Teodora Maidaniuc-Chirilă


The aim of the present theoretical article is to review the main theories and models explaining the appearance and manifestations of bullying behaviours in workplace contexts. A number of 63 articles were reviewed and several theories have been extracted. Among them we can mention the theory of escalated conflict (Glasl, 1982), workplace bullying process according to frustration-aggression theory (Berkowitz, 1989; Fox & Spector, 1999), the general model of aggressive affectivity (Anderson, Anderson & Deuser, 1996), social-interactionist theory of aggression (Felson, 1992; Felson & Tedeschi, 1993), the nervousness breakdown theory as a consequence of abusive behaviour (Wilkie, 1996), the theory of stress-emotions factors (Fox, Spector, & Miles, 2001), theory of mutual influences of three categories of situational factors (Salin, 2003), the scheme of cognitive –explicative model of aggression (Beugre, 2005) and the rule violation theory (Nielsen & Einarsen, 2018). All of these theories explain workplace bullying acts from different points of view such as the point of view of personality of aggressors and victims, the point of view of external, environmental factors, the point of view of different organizational behaviors and not in the final round from the point of view of different interactionist factors. The present paper can stand at the basis of different future empirical studies designed to investigate the role of different factors in appearance and manifestation of workplace bullying behaviors

workplace bullying, explicative theories, explicative models, definitions, workplace bullying incidence

Teodora Maidaniuc-Chirilă – Departmet of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iaşi, Romania, E-mail:

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