Research Repository

Too hot to handle? Trust and human resource practitioners' implementation of anti-bullying policy

Harrington, Susan and Rayner, Charlotte and Warren, Samantha (2012) 'Too hot to handle? Trust and human resource practitioners' implementation of anti-bullying policy.' Human Resource Management Journal, 22 (4). pp. 392-408. ISSN 0954-5395

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In this article, we examine the dynamics of trust in the triadic relationship between HR, employees and managers when dealing with allegations of workplace bullying. Previous research has shown employees to be dissatisfied with HR practitioners' responses to complaints of workplace bullying, and we explore the novel angle of the HR practitioners' perspective through semistructured interviews. Paralleling extant employee accounts, the findings suggest that HR practitioners rarely judge situations as bullying where a manager is accused. Trust between employee, manager and HR practitioner is essential for the successful resolution of bullying claims, yet this study suggests multiple directions of distrust. By virtue of their role alignment and previous experiences of handling bullying, HR practitioners were found to prioritise their relationships with managers, automatically distrusting employees' bullying claims. Despite also distrusting managers to effectively deliver HRM practices, it appears that bullying complaints are ‘too hot to handle’ for HR practitioners given the risks to their relationships with managers.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Jo Wiltshire
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2013 13:25
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013 13:25

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