Business Briefs: Workplace Bullying, More Meeting Advice & Avoiding Embitterment

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Welcome to Business Briefs! The world of academic publications features fascinating findings from real-world experiments in business and the marketplace. Here are some key takeaways and applicable nuggets of knowledge that may be helpful for your business.

Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying can be understood as repeated negative action towards colleagues who cannot defend themselves, and it can include incivility and socially undermining behavior. In a 2022 study of 28,923 employees from 144 organization, researchers explored how the workplace itself impacts in-house bullying. 

Research has already established that the workplace environment contributes to bullying, and that high-stress workplaces are especially prone. In this study, the researchers were interested in High Involvement Work Practices (called HIWPs) – practices that increase employee access to company information and participation in decision making. HIWPs improve employee empowerment.  

The study found that HIWPs were generally associated with lower levels of bullying across the board, with a few caveats:  

  • There was a big connection between job insecurity and bullying exposure, and in cases where job insecurity is the source of stress, HIWPs have no impact on bullying. 
  • HIWPs work only when social support from a supervisor is also present. 

Read more here

Putting Workplace Bullying in Context – Ivana Vranjes, Guy Notelaers, & Denise Salin, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology

Meetings Again

Meetings are one of the least popular features of worklife. 

And they’re also profoundly influential when it comes to employee well-being. The literature indicates that the perceived effectiveness of meetings is linked to a sense of well-being of work. That is, meeting satisfaction and work satisfaction go hand-in-hand. 

So researchers decided to develop a meeting survey as a tool to improve meetings. Ideally, the survey could be administered to employees, and the results could be used to improve meetings, thereby improving job satisfaction. They test drove their survey’s content on 349 participants, and they found that the following issues in meetings should be assessed by attendants:

  • Did the meeting leaders keep things moving and integrate attendees?
  • Were attendees self-disciplined, on-time, engaged, on-topic?
  • Was trust and respect exhibited between attendees?
  • Was the content clear and focused?
  • Were the participants motivated to be there?

A satisfied workplace has employees who can answer YES to all those questions.

Read more here

A Tool for Reducing the Time Loss and Dissatisfaction Associated with Meetings: Validation of the Staff Meeting Effectiveness Questionnaire – Louis Bélisle, Maxime Paquet, & Nathalie Lafranchise, Communication Research and Practice


“Embitterment” is frequently described as a profoundly negative reaction that’s typically fueled by a sense of injustice or disappointment. 

And for some employees, the term captures their feelings towards their workplace. 

Researchers collected 46 articles on embitterment, to identify paths to address its presence in the workplace. They noted there are two basic types of injustice workers may encounter. There’s organizational injustice, where rules and policies may create unfair reward systems. There’s also informal injustice, which describes conditions where a supervisor may be dishonest or incompetent.

The literature also indicated that organizational injustice and over-controlling supervisors were the biggest predictive factors for employee embitterment. Further, those factors were the most likely to lead to “affective rumination” (repetitive negative thoughts) and detachment. 

And that the best way to counter balance embitterment?

  • Enhancing general coping skills for unsolvable problems and irreparable wrongs
  • Meeting employee needs for respect and recognition. 

Read more here

Embitterment in the Workplace – Michael Linden & Christopher P. Arnold, SpringerLink