Thesis Database

We have developed the following database of research theses on bullying from all academic institutions in the UK and Ireland. The aim of this database is to assist those who are interested in the field of bullying and want to see what research has already been done. We have attempted to ensure that we have included all relevant theses here; but if there is an omission please let us know by emailing

The database is here for information purposes. Those who want access to the texts of the theses need to contact the author, the relevant institution, or both.

A narrative study of adults who were bullied by a sibling in childhood
Rahemtulla, Zara
University of Essex

Background: It is argued that sibling relationships are often overlooked in favour of parent child relationships. Sibling interactions have the potential to be emotionally intimate and complex, and experiences can influence later psychological development. Research exploring the significance of sibling relationships is developing, with the majority of studies focussing on the protective nature of this relationship. There has been limited curiosity into the expression of adults’ stories of being bullied by a sibling in childhood. By exploring people’s stories, this study aims to consider what it means to be bullied by a sibling – that is, it will explore the broad question of “how do adults describe and make sense of their childhood sibling bullying experiences?” Method: A qualitative research paradigm was chosen for this study. The method of narrative inquiry was employed, using the Narrative Orientated Inquiry approach. Interviews were completed with seven adults who perceived themselves to have been bullied by a sibling in childhood. Results: Adults’ experiences were understood within the context of content and form. The content of people’s stories were considered alongside the way in which they told their story, facilitating an understanding of what and how they integrated their experiences into the construction of their narrative identities. Adults described their perceptions of sibling bullying and the barriers to defining experience, as well as the impact on their later, sibling relationships. The results also indicated that emotional expression associated with the event varied for every narrator, as they moved towards integration of experience. Discussion: The findings are discussed within existing theoretical models of sibling bullying and subject and identity positioning theory. The clinical implications are framed within psychoanalytic theory and in relation to the perceived acceptability of sibling bullying.

Multivariate approaches to school climate factors and school outcomes
Carrasco Ogaz, Diego Alonso
University of Sussex

School climate is a crucial concept used to explain school differences. Nevertheless, this concept is elusive in the literature, conveying different meanings. To address the relation between school climate and school outcomes, its historical roots are reviewed and a multivariate approach to it is proposed, in contrast to a unidimensional conception. In four papers, this strategy is used to study associations among various school climate factors (SCFs) and school outcomes, including teacher turnover, teacher job satisfaction, students’ math achievement, and students’ social attitudes. In paper 1, schools serving more socioeconomically disadvantaged students are found to present higher rates of teacher turnover. A complementary study shows that SCFs (supportive school leadership, positive school relationships, and academic monitoring) present differing effects on teacher turnover. In paper 2, the relationships between SCFs (teacher student relations and school discipline) and teachers’ job satisfaction and withdrawal cognitions (intentions to quit) are estimated. These SCFs appear to play a protective role with respect to teachers’ withdrawal cognitions, and these effects are indirect via their relationship to teachers’ job satisfaction. In paper 3, the relationship between the experience of bullying and students’ achievement is addressed. The relationship is found to be indirect, with key roles played by perceptions of school belonging and students’ classroom engagement. Finally, in paper 4 the relationship between civic knowledge and the endorsement of democratic values is estimated. This link is found to be partially mediated by ideological beliefs (authoritarianism), and the role of open classroom discussion (a SCF) as a moderator of these effects is demonstrated. This work demonstrates that in order to specify theory-driven models of different school outcomes, school climate should be conceptualized as diverse social-contextual effects operating in a complex multivariate setting with mediated and moderated pathways to outcomes.

How young people make sense of developing and getting help for obsessive compulsive disorder
Keyes, Carly Victoria
University of Hertfordshire

There has been an abundance of studies that have adopted positivist approaches, employing quantitative methods, to research OCD ‘symptoms’ and their underlying neurobiology and neurochemistry. There appears to be a lack of research investigating how OCD is experienced by those living with the diagnosis, and in particular the experiences of young people diagnosed with OCD. Ten young people, aged 14-17 years old, with a diagnosis of OCD were recruited from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). The young people were interviewed and a Thematic Analysis (TA) was used to analyse data. Four themes were developed through the analysis. The first theme ‘Traumatic and stressful life events’ found that 9 out of the 10 participants experienced at least one of the following three life events just prior to the development of their OCD: ‘Hostility in the family’, ‘Illness and death’, ‘Bullying and friendlessness’. Four subthemes, ‘Lack of understanding of the behaviour’, ‘Being secretive’, ‘I thought I was going crazy’, and ‘Feeling different’, provided a richer understanding to the theme ‘Responses to signs of OCD’. The four subthemes ‘Feeling “right”‘, ‘I was taking on all the responsibility’, ‘It’s ruined everything’, ‘Everyday life is now in my bedroom’ explored the third theme ‘The battle of living with OCD’. The last theme ‘Ambivalent relationship to help’ described the conflict that most participants had over exposure therapy and accommodation of their OCD. Lastly, most participants felt the long waiting time for help was frustrating. The theme is fully explored by the following three subthemes: ‘Conflicts of exposure therapy’, ‘Conflicts about accommodation of the OCD’, and ‘Frustrations of long waiting lists’. The themes that emerged may provide important information for clinicians and the implications of the research findings are discussed. The strengths and limitations of the study are noted and there are suggestions for future research.

Workplace bullying: Aggressive behaviour and the impact on job satisfaction and productivity of employees in Ireland
Krzyznaowska, Katarzyna
National College of Ireland

The project aims at finding how workplace bullying affects employee productivity and performance at Ireland organizations. For that reason, quantitative research methods were employed and survey was distributed to companies, nurnsing homes, universities and posted in social media. It also finds out the impact of bullying on employee job satisfaction and productivity. The most appropriate method for the study is quantitative research design in which variables have been measured. The quantitative research design is helpful in attaining information in a numeric way, by applying this method, the variables and their relationships are being attained The analysis depicted that due to workplace bullying, the target experiences low productivity, high mental and physical stress which ultimately leads to less job satisfaction. If organizational culture and environment do not restrict such behavior, which causes bullying incidents within the company, then company may face long-term financial losses. Thus, it has been proven that negative working environment lead towards decreasing employee productivity. The correlation analysis further depicted that aggressive behavior has an impact on employee job satisfaction. The findings of the project concluded that, workplace bullying directly affect employee productivity and performance.

To ‘snitch’ or not to ‘snitch’: Using PAR to explore bullying in a Private Day and Boarding School.
O’Brien, Niamh.
Anglia Ruskin University

This study used a Participatory Action Research (PAR) framework to explore bullying in a private day and boarding school. Six students from the school were recruited and trained in research; we worked together to answer this question: What do young people in this private day and boarding school view as the core issue of bullying in the school and how do they want to address this? This thesis presents three cycles of PAR through inquiry, action and reflection: Cycle one, initiated by myself, investigated the bullying definition at the school and how this was understood by the school community. Online questionnaires and a focus group were used to collect data. Cycle two was initiated by the research team following analysis of cycle one data. The ‘core bullying issue’ was identified as that of the ‘snitch’ and how participants conceptualised ‘serious’ and ‘not serious’ bullying. Paper questionnaires and student-led interviews were used to collect data. Cycle three focussed on the tangible ‘action’ from the project: the development of a draft anti-bullying strategy for the school. This thesis has two separate contributions. Firstly there is a subject contribution about ‘snitching’; students had to navigate a complex web in their decision to ‘snitch’ or not to ‘snitch’. Deciding whether the bullying was ‘serious’ enough to ‘snitch’ impacted on their initial decision. Furthermore students needed to decide if ‘snitching’ was the right thing to do. Secondly there is a methodological contribution; I further developed an existing framework for evaluating the participation of children in research (Dual-axis Model of Participation, Moules and O’Brien, 2012), through adding the dimensions of ‘ideas’ and ‘knowledge’.

An investigation into the mediating effect of psychological empowerment on the relationship between workplace bullying and stress
Hamilton, Daniel
Dublin City University
Perceptions of the mainstream school experience for students with a diagnosis of autistic spectrum conditions: an exploratory study in a u.k local authority
Lythgoe, Christina
University of Bristol

Baird et al (2006) suggest that Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC) affect approximately 1 % of UK students. Nearly three-quarters of students with ASC attend mainstream school provision (DfE, 2012). The research explores perceptions of provision for ASC in mainstream schools. The research involved a 20% sample (36) of the total population of students who attended primary and secondary mainstream schools in the LA and who had a diagnosis of ASC. Students were placed at school action plus on the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (DfES, 2001 ) or had a statement of special educational needs. This sample was drawn from both primary and secondary schools. This exploratory research is innovative in that attempts were made to secure both a geographical spread in the sample and a wide range of student needs. Semi-structured interviews allowed students, their parents and mainstream school staff to share perceptions of school. A mixed methods approach is adopted and both qualitative and quantitative data was collected and is discussed. Research findings indicated that students typically wanted a little more help in school. Those that wished for less help were often motivated by wishing to be seen as more independent. Students were often able to identify challenging areas of school life and frequently rated these areas as “very difficult” suggesting they caused anxiety. Typically, curriculum areas were rated as causing much more difficulty by students than social factors. Written recording was noted as a challenging feature of school. Parents appeared less concerned about curriculum difficulties compared to their children. The research identifies how some students do not always welcome help from peers and adults in school, preferring to be asked about whether they want help. Some students identified sensory issues, specifically noise, as causing difficulties. Noise made by other people was specified as challenging. The provision of a quiet area and the use of key visuals were identified as supportive by both students and staff. All staff using interventions to address emotions, for example, opportunities for students to discuss worries, reported that these were effective interventions. A high proportion of staff felt that ASC strategies are beneficial to students without ASC. Several parents valued Teacher Assistant support. They believed a good understanding of the individual was vital to including their child in school as was differentiation of response. They felt that lack of flexibility, poor communication with school or the approach adopted by certain staff could be a barrier. Parents were concerned about bullying, teasing and social issues, to a much greater degree than were their children. Some parents felt that research involving students with ASC at school should also consider the home environments. Staff and parents mentioned a good inclusive school ethos and flexible support as helpful. This research is original in considering the complexities of insider research as experienced by an Educational Psychologist researching school staff and parental views. The findings are discussed using conceptual frameworks of inclusion, child voice, Theory of Mind and a reconsideration of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943). This research argues that safety needs are magnified as key motivators for those with ASC.

Teacher-on-teacher workplace bullying in the post-primary sector of the Irish education system
Murray, Genevieve Therese
Trinity College Dublin
An ethnographic study of the ways in which faith is manifested in two primary schools
Awad, S.
Liverpool John Moores University

Fostering religious commitment in schools and considering children’s cultural diversity arguably enhances pupils’ tolerance and integration, which may have the potential to reduce racism and discrimination. Faith schools are religiously and culturally diverse institutions and typically appreciated for their core values, good behaviour and academic standards. However, their impact on school culture and ethos is under explored. Although, the role of faith has gained attention both in policy and practice, relatively little is known about its impact in the context of primary education. As such, this research explores the complex influence of faith on school culture and ethos. In addition, critical analysis is undertaken to investigate the impact of faith on pupils’ behaviour and understanding in school. The main research aims are to: explore the multiple ways in which faith is manifested in two schools, determine the influence of faith on school culture and ethos, and establish the impact of faith on pupils’ behaviours and understanding in school. This research takes an ethnographic approach to explore how faith is manifested in two primary schools in the North West of England. The ethnography enabled a deeper immersion in to the school culture as data were generated through observations, interviews, focus groups and documentary analysis in two schools: A denomination school, Church of England, and a community school with an Islamic ethos. The research was conducted in the North West of England which has many diverse faith-based schools. Critical Race and Feminist Theories were used as lenses of analysis to examine faith in school. Critical Race Theory is a framework employed to examine the role of race and power in education. This research provides rich ethnographic description and analysis of faith as understood, practiced and experienced in the two schools. The findings reveal two major themes, first, a mismatch between school policy/values and its practice. Second, a lack of integration of staff and children into the school. Despite schools’ efforts to embrace diversity and encourage integration, schools policies were found to be empty rhetoric with regards to fostering religious commitment and cultural diversity. Exploring the issue of recognising cultural diversity within schools, findings indicated that both schools did not acknowledge or teach other cultural traditions, therefore, impacting on issues of integration. Poor behaviour, bullying and racism amongst children were major issues at both schools. Data analysis suggests the source of misbehaviour was due to the lack of emphasis placed on teaching about different religions, insufficient knowledge of cultural traditions and lack of visits to places of worship. This research concludes that there is a need for schools to develop awareness of religions and cultural diversity; thereby, encouraging integration, community cohesion and respect for similarities and differences.

Bullying within the primary school context: a complementary mixed method enquiry into the how and why of the manifestation of bullying within the primary school structure in Ireland through teachers’ perspectives
Mary Immaculate College
A qualitative exploration of how people with learning disabilities understand and respond to bullying
Byrne, Frederick T.
University of Surrey

Despite reports that people with learning disabilities (PWLD) are more vulnerable to being bullied than the non-LD population, there is a paucity of research into bullying of PWLD. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 adults with LD, using bullying vignettes, to explore how PWLD understand bullying; their knowledge of coping strategies for dealing with bullying; and what PWLD understand the consequences of bullying to be. Interview data was analysed using thematic analysis and categorised into four super-ordinate themes; Bullying is a bad thing; Reasons for the bullying; Coping strategies; and Consequences of own bullying experiences. The findings are discussed in relation to attribution theory (Heider, 1958) and socio-moral reasoning theory (Gibbs, 1979; 2003). Recommendations for clinicians working with PWLD involved in bullying are made; including considering the application of the concept of the “provocative-victim” (Sheard, Clegg, Standen, & Cromby, 2001); exploring how individual’s understanding of bullying experiences in terms of attributions made and socio-moral reasoning; exploring coping strategies and addressing aggressive or avoidance-based strategies, and consequences of bullying such as social and psychological problems. Recommendations are made for future research with larger, more representative samples.

An exploratory study of the ways in which guidance counsellors could prevent bullying through the implementation of resiliency strategies in post primary schools
University of Limerick
Understanding adolescent shame and pride in a school context: the impact of perceived academic competence and a growth mindset
Cook, Ellen
University of Southampton

Shame has important implications in educational contexts for educators, children and young people. The first paper presented here is a review of the current literature on shame and explores the implications of this self-conscious achievement emotion within educational contexts. The systematic literature review demonstrated that shame experiences can have both a dysfunctional and functional role, are independent of acculturation status and are influenced by parental attitudes. Crucially, shame management can reduce bullying within schools. The review concludes by drawing attention to implications of these findings for educators and educational psychologists. The second paper, reports empirical research carried out in the field of self-conscious achievement emotions. This study investigated whether holding a growth (intelligence) mindset could reduce shame experiences and/or promote pride experiences, within a secondary school context. The study also focused on the role of perceived academic competence (i.e. the perception that one has sufficient skills and knowledge) on young people’s feelings of shame and pride. Secondary school students (N = 121, Mage= 14.3 years) completed the Scale of Personal Conceptions of Intelligence to measure their mindset, and then completed a 10-day online diary, to rate their daily shame and/or pride experiences. Participants also rated their daily perceptions of academic competence. Results revealed a negative relation between growth mindset and daily shame intensity, and a positive relation between growth mindset and daily pride intensity. Both associations were mediated by perceived academic competence. That is, a growth mindset predicted increased perceived academic competence, which, in turn, predicted reduced shame and increased pride. The findings have far-reaching implications for educators. This research also makes a novel connection between growth mindset, perceived academic competence and self-conscious emotions, within a school setting.

The formation, implementation and reception of gender and sexualities education in english primary schools
Hall, Joseph James
University of Hull

This thesis examines the formation of gender and sexualities education and its implementation and reception in two state-funded English primary schools. The first part identifies how childhood discourses circulating in Section 28 debates influenced the trajectory of UK government legislation and guidance for gender and sexuality education. I demonstrate how anti-homophobia and anti-bullying emerged as a desexualised policy paradigm following parliamentary debates in which the Western cultural myth of ‘childhood (sexual) innocence’ was preserved. The second part explores how Stonewall (a leading Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual third sector organisation) and two pioneering English primary schools use these initiatives to create and implement gender and sexualities education. I show how social actors within these schools interpret national government policy in different and with contrasting outcomes. The final part examines how pupils (5-11 years old) respond to gender and sexualities education in the context of everyday school life. In doing so, I expose a socio-spatial underpinning to children’s simultaneous performances of acceptance and recuperation of heteronormativity where a performative self that cites recognisable liberal pluralistic equalities discourse in ‘formal’ school space can be distinguished from a performative subject that is simultaneously compelled to perform normative (hetero)gender/sexuality in ‘informal’ school space in order to achieve viable subjecthood. As such, this study provides the first comprehensive overview of gender and sexualities education in the UK, from its inception to its reception, and highlights the possibilities – as well as the limitations – of neoliberal equalities programmes based around anti-homophobia and anti-bullying.

A study of trainee teachers and their awareness and perceptions of sexual diversity in primary schools
López Pereyra, Manuel
The University of York

Research on sexual diversity in primary schools has shown that primary school children are aware of and exposed to harassment, bullying and discrimination in schools. This study was undertaken to explore the extent to which trainee teachers are aware of and perceive sexual diversity discourses in primary schools. I focus on concern about the ways primary schools address the nature of gender stereotyping, homophobic bullying and same-sex families. Within these themes, I explore trainee teachers’ perceptions of addressing sexual diversity issues in the primary school classroom. A total of eleven trainee teachers and three educational non-governmental officers were interviewed and 198 trainee teachers responded to the questionnaire from twenty-one different universities across the United Kingdom. A feminist and queer approach was used in the research design; the analysis and interpretation of the data collected was done through interpretative phenomenological and thematic analysis. Trainee teachers’ positive perception of sexual diversity is reflected in the questionnaire data, 76.3 % of trainees think it is necessary to teach primary school children about gay and lesbian families. Nonetheless, the questionnaire data suggest there is a lack of training on addressing sexual diversity issues in the schools. The interview data showed that trainee teachers perceive themselves as role models with the responsibility of being inclusive to all students. Also, trainees acknowledge the lack of confidence to address and deal with sexual diversity issues in the school classroom. Overall, this study enhances our understanding of gender and sexualities in primary schools and extends our knowledge of trainee teacher experiences in primary schools. Drawing on these findings, future research is needed into what trainee teachers programmes should promote as teaching practices that involve diversity and inclusive pedagogies.

When is a bully not a bully?: a critical grounded theory approach to understanding the lived experience and organisational implications of being accused of being a workplace bully
McGregor, Frances-Louise
University of Huddersfield

This research addresses the question “When is a bully not a bully?” through grounded theory using a purposive sample of volunteer participants who had been accused of workplace bullying. The aim of the study was to critically evaluate the lived experience and organisational implications of being accused of being a workplace bully, from the perspective of the (alleged) bully. The research did not set out to consider if an (alleged) bully had been guilty or innocent of the allegation put to them; it was considered that if this was deemed a criteria by the potential participant it may reduce engagement with the study. This study will contribute to the body of knowledge around the phenomenon of bullying and offers an insight into both research and further development of good organisational practice. Whilst the research on other parties involved in the issue and management of workplace bullying have developed, Einarsen (2014), Jenkins, Zapf, Winefield and Sarris (2012), Notelaers (2014) and Samnani and Singh (2012) express concern that research which explores and examines the perpetrator’s experience is scarce and needed as a priority in acknowledging the gap in current research and to develop a fuller understanding of the phenomena of workplace bullying. In a qualitative study with eight participants from a particularly difficult to access group, the researcher offers an early contribution to the current gap in literature, research and understanding of the perspective of the alleged workplace bully. Participants engaged in individual, confidential, unstructured interviews with the researcher and spoke candidly about their perceptions and the impact the accusation had on them. This was then analysed, evaluated and developed through a classical grounded theory approach to develop the theoretical model guilty until proven innocent. In discussing the participants’ concerns in this model, the research widened understanding and academic knowledge and narrowed the gap of information of the (alleged) bully’s perspective. In dealing with allegations, (alleged) workplace bullies identify with concerns of feeling bullied back, emotional reactions, self-coping mechanisms and managerial responsibility and action, from which the grounded theory guilty until proven innocent emerged. The main findings of the research emerged from the participant’s interviews; key highlights included being isolated by their organisations and subject to negative acts which would, in themselves be considered bullying behaviours. Participants then described how they would separate themselves from the organisation, despite feeling a sense of disconnected loyalty towards it. The structure of HR functions and the anti-bullying related policy had a significant influence on the negative treatment participant’s experienced, with a continual theme around the presumption the participant was guilty from the outset, by virtue of an allegation being raised. This perception was reinforced in the different way (alleged) bullies were supported and treated by their organisations from the claimants. The participants had been negatively affected by identifiable victim effect (Hamilton & Sherman, 1996), dispute-related claims (Einarsen, 1999; Keashly & Nowell, 2003) and the claimant being managed under a separate formal management procedure. The study also suggested that allegations of bullying could in themselves be a form of bullying and that there may be an element of discrimination in this on the grounds of protected characteristics. The main recommendations consider the structure of HR functions and the need for a visible and accessible personnel element necessary to begin to balance the support available for all parties, including the alleged, the alleger, bystanders, witnesses, line managers, HR and investigation managers. Further research, which tests the grounded theory of guilty until proven innocent with larger samples will extend and develop this study and test some of the resolutions and solutions offered.

The digital public sphere: developing a culture of democracy in contemporary nigeria
Oladepo, Oluwatomi Temilola
University of Warwick

The rise of digital media in Nigerian public life is evident in a variety of contexts – from how mainstream journalists gather news and information, to how young people express their dissatisfaction with the government on matters of concern, such as the case of the 276 kidnapped Chibok Girls (April 2014). This thesis is an investigation into the growing use of digital media in Nigeria, and identifies significant developments in Nigerian democracy through a growing ‘digital public sphere’. New communication skills of dialogue and deliberation are being cultivated through an improvised and often creative use of digital media, and ‘netizens’ [citizens active on the Internet] are purposively generating social, political and cultural consciousness. To explore this embryonic digital public sphere in Nigeria, field research was conducted in the form of historical, political and interview based research with active digital media users. The interviewees featured journalists, citizen journalists, bloggers, public officials, social activists, religious leaders, and cultural producers, and revolved around current uses of digital media technologies, online dialogue and key issues, and digital media as a tool for democracy in Nigeria’s future development. Largely on the basis of the interview data, this thesis argues that despite a discernible ‘culture’ of democracy cultivated through pervasive use of digital media, a digital public sphere can only be realised in a democratic-enabling political environment. This would necessitate public officials engaging in public dialogue; protections from harassment, insults and cyber-bullying; and the digital media infrastructure being developed, accessible and affordable. Furthermore, this thesis identifies how an effective digital public sphere will only function where the agencies of mass media are willing to take more active roles in collaborating with citizens online in order to cultivate transparency in public affairs, and also disseminate vital information, and work for widespread digital access.

Social cognitions that normalise sexual harassment of women at work: the role of moral disengagement
Page, Thomas Edward
University of Kent at Canterbury

Sexual harassment against women represents aggressive behaviour that is often enacted instrumentally, in response to a threatened sense of masculinity and male identity (cf. Maass & Cadinu, 2006). To date, however, empirical and theoretical attention to the social-cognitive processes that regulate workplace harassment is scant. Drawing on Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1986), the current thesis utilises the theoretical concept of moral disengagement in order to address this important gap in the literature. According to Bandura (1990, 1999), moral standards and self-sanctions (i.e., negative emotions of guilt or shame) can be selectively deactivated through various psychosocial mechanisms. The use of these moral disengagement strategies enables a person to violate their moral principles, and perpetrate injurious behaviour without incurring self-censure. This thesis investigates the general hypothesis that moral disengagement facilitates and perpetuates workplace sexual harassment. A new conceptual framework is presented, elucidating the self-regulatory role of moral disengagement mechanisms in sexual harassment perpetration at work. Eight empirical studies are reported in this thesis. Studies 1 to 3 present the development and preliminary validation of the Moral Disengagement in Sexual Harassment Scale (MDiSH); a self-report measure of moral disengagement in the context of hostile work environment harassment. These studies document the excellent psychometric properties of this new scale. The MDiSH exhibited positive correlations with sexual harassment myth acceptance, male gender identification, and hostile sexism. In Study 3, participants were exposed to a fictitious case of hostile work environment harassment. The MDiSH attenuated moral judgment, negative emotions (guilt, shame, and anger), sympathy, and endorsement of prosocial behavioural intentions (support for restitution) associated with the harassment case. Conversely, the MDiSH increased positive affect (happiness) about the harassment, endorsement of avoidant behavioural intentions, and attribution of blame to the female complainant. Using the amalgamated samples of Studies 1 and 2, the MDiSH was winnowed down to create a short form of the scale (MDiSH-S). The analyses reported in Chapter 3 attest to the strong psychometric properties of this measure. Study 4 explores the influence of social identification on the relationship between moral disengagement and judgments of hostile work environment harassment. U.S. participants were presented with a harassment case in which the perpetrators were described as being either in-group or out-group members. Moral disengagement (as measured using the MDiSH) neutralised judgments of the harassing behaviour. However, participants were not more inclined to justify and positively re-appraise harassment that was committed by in-group perpetrators. Study 5 reveals that moral disengagement leads people to make more favourable judgments about the perpetrators of hostile work environment harassment. The neutralising effects of moral disengagement on judgments of the harassing conduct were partially mediated by a positive evaluation of the harassers (but not social identification with them). The final three studies (Studies 6, 7, and 8) investigate the role of moral disengagement in accounting for men’s self-reported proclivity to commit quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. These studies examine the causal pathway between moral disengagement and harassment proclivity, and the psychological mechanisms (emotions and moral judgment) that underlie this relationship. Taken together, the results suggest that moral disengagement mechanisms are important social cognitions that people use to deny, downplay, and justify workplace sexual harassment. The findings of this thesis also provide preliminary support for the notion that moral disengagement is a self-regulatory process in sexual harassment perpetration at work (cf. Page & Pina, 2015). The thesis concludes with a discussion of theoretical implications of the findings, methodological limitations, practical implications, and suggestions of future research avenues.

Understanding the developmental decline in helpful bystander responses to bullying: the role of group processes and social-moral reasoning
Palmer, Sally B.
University of Kent at Canterbury

Within this thesis the challenge of reducing bullying among children and adolescents in schools is reviewed (Chapter 2). The focus of this research was to examine the developmental decline in prosocial bystander responses to bullying (when a “bystander” is an individual who witnesses the bullying incident). To do so, a “developmental intergroup approach” (cf. Killen, Mulvey & Hitti, 2013; Rutland, Killen & Abrams, 2010) was applied to the context of bystander intentions. This approach suggests that intergroup factors such as group membership and identification, group norms, intergroup status and social-moral reasoning influence attitudes and behaviours during childhood and adolescence (e.g., Abrams, Rutland & Cameron, 2003; Rutland & Killen, 2011; Chapter 3). The present research examines whether this approach could shed light on why, with age, children become less likely to report helpful bystander intentions when faced with bullying and aggression among peers (e.g., Rigby & Johnson, 2006). Three studies were conducted, following an experimental questionnaire-based design (e.g., Abrams, Palmer, Rutland, Cameron & Van de Vyver, 2013; Nesdale & Lawson, 2011; Chapter 4). Study 1 (Chapter 5) showed support for examining group membership and group identification, group norms and social-moral reasoning) when understanding the developmental decline in helpful bystander responses. Two hundred and sixty 8-10 year olds and 13-15 year olds read about an incident of intergroup verbal aggression. Adolescent bystander intentions were influenced by norms and perceived severity of the incident. A significant moderated mediation analysis showed that the level of group identification among participants partially mediated the relationship between age and helpful bystander intentions, but only when the aggressor was an outgroup member and the victim was an ingroup member. Moral (e.g., “It’s not right to call them names”) and psychological (e.g., “It’s none of my business) reasoning differed by age and intention to help the victim or not. In Study 2 (Chapter 6) the role of intergroup bystander status and type of bystander response was manipulated. Two types of bystander norm (attitudinal and behavioural) were measured along with an exploratory examination of perceived leadership. Participants (N=221) read about an incident of verbal aggression where a bystander (who belonged to a high- or low-status group), either helped or walked away from an incident of verbal aggression. Helping bystanders were viewed more positively than those who walked away, but no effect of status on bystander evaluations was observed. However, moral reasoning was prioritised for high-status compared to low-status bystanders, regardless of their bystander behaviour. Additionally, bystander response (but not status) moderated the relationship between the behavioural norm and perceived leadership qualities. To further examine the role of norms a norm for helping versus not getting involved was manipulated in Study 3 (Chapter 7). Participants (N=230) read about deviant ingroup and outgroup bystanders who observed an incident of intergroup verbal aggression. Group membership was either school group or ethnicity (ingroup British and outgroup Travellers). Not only were participants sensitive to the group membership of the bystander, but they evaluated those who transgressed a helping norm more negatively than those who transgressed a norm not to get involved. Importantly this study also showed, for the first time, that children and adolescents are aware of group-based repercussions (e.g., social exclusion) if they do not behave in line with group norms. The studies presented within this thesis show strong support for considering group processes when examining the developmental decline in bystander responses to bullying and aggression and developing age-appropriate anti-bullying interventions. Further implications for theory, practitioners, policy and future research are discussed (see Chapter 8).

The nhs: a health service or a ‘good news factory’?
Pope, Rachel Anne
The University of Manchester

Evidence exists that the NHS has had, over many years, persistent problems of negative and intimidating behaviour towards staff from other employees in the NHS. The evidence also suggests the responses to this behaviour can be inadequate. Pope and Burnes (2013) model of organisational dysfunction is used to investigate and explain these findings. A qualitative approach was taken to research the organisational responses to negative behaviour, and the reasons and motivations for those responses. Forty three interviews and six focus groups were conducted. The Framework Method of thematic analysis was chosen for the main analysis and fourteen Framework Themes were identified. ‘3 word summaries’ of the culture were analysed. Further analysis was undertaken of words relating to fear, rationalisations/justifications, what people don’t want to do, the culture, and assumptions/beliefs. The model of organisational dysfunction has been extended. The findings show that participants consider the NHS to be a politically driven, “top down”, “command and control”, hierarchical organisation; a vast, enclosed, bureaucratic machine/system under great pressure. They believe there is a culture of elitism, fear, blame, bullying and a lack of accountability; a culture where power, self-interest and status matters. There is constant change. Saving money and achieving targets are seen to be the priority. A lack of care and humanity is described and negative behaviour seems to have become tolerated and normalised. Bullying is mentioned many times, and viewed as “rife” and “endemic”. Good practice/behaviour can be punished, and bad rewarded, as can failure. Corrupt and unethical behaviour is identified as are totalitarian and Kafkaesque characteristics. Participants describe resistance to voicing concerns and any information which puts individuals or organisations into a ‘negative light’. Employees who raise concerns can be victimised. The “top-down bullying culture … suppresses constructive dissent”. There can be rhetoric, “empty words” and “spin”, rather than reality. A desire for “good news” and the rejection and hiding of “bad news” is described. There seem to be “islands” and “pockets” with a positive culture, however, the generalised evidence suggests the NHS is systemically and institutionally deaf, bullying, defensive and dishonest, exhibiting a resistance to ‘knowing’, denial and “wilful blindness”; a dysfunctional, perverse and troubled organisation. The NHS could also be described as a coercive bureaucracy and under certain definitions, a corrupt entity. The NHS appears to be an organisation with a heart of darkness; a “self perpetuating dysfunctional system”. There may be widespread “learned helplessness”. Overall, the needs of the NHS and the protection of image appear more important than the welfare of staff or patients. It does seem to be a “good news factory”. The NHS appears to have “lost its way” and its focus/purpose as an institution. The dysfunctional organisational behaviours manifest in the NHS need to be addressed urgently as there is a detrimental, sometimes devastating, impact on the wellbeing of both staff and patients. The NHS needs to embrace an identity of being a listening, learning and honest organisation, with a culture of respect.