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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00386

Effort-Reward Imbalance: A Risk Factor for Workplace Bullying

  • 1University of Bergen, Norway
  • 2Department of Psychosocial Science, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Norway
  • 3Department of Management and Organization, Hanken School of Economics, Finland

Previous research shows that work environment factors are important antecedents of workplace bullying, because of the stress they may induce. While previous studies have typically used Karasek’s (1979) Job Demand Control -model and Demands Resources (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007), the present study investigates whether another important occupational stress model, that is the Effort-Reward Imbalance Model (Siegrist, 1996), is also associated to workplace bullying. A survey study in 19 Belgian organizations (n=5727) confirmed that employees experiencing an imbalance between efforts and rewards were more likely to be targets of bullying. In line with previous research, this study illustrates that stressful situations increase the risk of workplace bullying. It extends previous research by showing that also stress stemming from perceived injustice may increase employee vulnerability to bullying. More specifically, it is the first to point to a relationship between efforts-reward imbalance and bullying.

Keywords: workplace bullying, Effort-reward imbalance at work (ERI) model, Injustice, stress, Work-environment

Received: 08 Aug 2018; Accepted: 07 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Gabriele Giorgi, Università Europea di Roma, Italy

Reviewed by:

Dina Guglielmi, University of Bologna, Italy
Milica Vukelic, University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Psychology  

Copyright: © 2019 Notelaers, Törnroos and Salin. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Guy Notelaers, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway,