Project Description

Background: Over the past twenty years, organizational (mis)behavior has become a key focus of scientific concern. In European research, the focus was on one distinct form which is characterized by systematic psychological aggression against one targeted individual and has been labeled “bullying”. In the German-speaking world it has become known as “mobbing”.

Bullying is a complex, multicausal phenomenon. The investigation of Organizational impact factors is crucial, as for bullying to occur there must be elements within an organizational culture which tolerate or even reward this behavior (Brodsky 1976). Hence, research on organizational impact factors like implicit cultural (performance) norms, incentive systems and work design is of the utmost importance for early prevention. In this context, most research on bullying so far has focused on the targets`perspectives. However, in the course of escalation bullying often involves third parties and HR management. Apart from that, HR managers are usually responsible to draft and implement preventive measures like trainings, anti-bullying guidelines and policies in organizations. Hence, to provide a comprehensive organizational analysis, better insight into third parties and HR professionals´ views and/or their experiences with the complex phenomenon are necessary.

Research Approaches: In various dissertations, diploma theses and research projects we tackle organizational impact factors and implicit cultural norms which are likely to increase bullying prevalence. Heterogeneous organizational settings like military, academia or insurance companies are compared using both qualitative and quantitative approaches (e.g. interviews with third parties, surveys etc.). Besides, we give special attention to the experiences of HR professionals and to the aspect of (gender) diversity. With the findings, context-specific management tools for prevention and intervention can be developed.

Participation:  Organizations as diverse as possible regarding size, industry etc. are invited to take part in our research project "MoVe". Accordingly, we are interested in the experiences of HR managers irrespective of company size and regardless of whether formal policies or actual bullying complaints exist within the organization. Anonymity and use of data for sole scientific purposes is guaranteed! For further questions please contact Eva Zedlacher:

Project Members:


  • Austrian Chamber of Labour – Vienna
  • HDI Insurance (HDI Versicherung AG)
  • TU Wien


  • Koeszegi, S., Zedlacher, E., Hudribusch, R. (2013): The War against the Female Soldier? Effects of Masculine Culture on Workplace Aggression. Armed Forces & Society: forthcoming.
  • Zedlacher, E. (2013): Work Hard, Play Hard? The Relationship between Masculine Organizational Cultures and Workplace Bullying – A Theoretical Analysis with Empirical Investigation in Two Different Organizational Cultures. Doctoral Thesis, TU Wien, Vienna.
  • Hudribusch, R. (2010): Frauen im Österreichischen Bundesheer: Analyse einer Organisation im Spannungsfeld zwischen Kameradschaft und Mobbing. Doctoral Thesis, University of Vienna, Vienna.
  • Kocsisek C.: Bullying and Organizational Climate, Doctoral Thesis, Work in Progress