Quality of Leadership and Workplace Bullying: The Mediating Role of Social Community at Work in a Two-Year Follow-Up Study

Laura Francioli, Paul Maurice Conway, Åse Marie Hansen, Ann Louise Holten, Matias Brødsgaard Grynderup, Roger Persson, Eva Gemzøe Mikkelsen, Giovanni Costa, Annie Høgh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The theoretical and empirical link between leadership and workplace bullying needs further elaboration. The aim of the study is to examine the relationship between quality of leadership and the occurrence of workplace bullying 2 years later. Furthermore, we aim to examine a possible mechanism from leadership to bullying using social community at work as mediator. Using survey data that were collected at two different points in time (2006–2008) among 1664 workers from 60 Danish workplaces, we examined the total, direct and indirect effects between quality of leadership and workplace bullying. Our results indicate that quality of leadership plays a role in establishing working conditions that lead to workplace bullying. Furthermore, social community at work fully mediates the effect of poor quality of leadership on workplace bullying. This longitudinal study adds to previous cross-sectional studies on the substantial role played by leaders in the bullying process. Within the leadership–bullying relationship, social community at work acts as a full mediator, adding a significant contribution to the discussion of mechanisms involved in the bullying process. Plausible explanations of this mechanism and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889–899
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Quality of leadership
  • Social community at work
  • Workplace bullying

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Law
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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