Exploring workplace bullying in the Indian context can be substantial given the Indian socio-cultural framework and increasing westernization. The hierarchical nature of Indian society is connected to the issue of power which constitutes a critical feature of workplace bullying. Although hierarchy in social systems is a universal phenomenon, the degree to which Indians are disposed to structural relationships hierarchically is incredible (Sinha & Sinha, 1990). In addition to power distance, embedded between individualism-collectivism, particularism, relational orientation (favouritism and nepotism), acquiescence, and absence of egalitarianism (Hofstede, 1980; Sinha, 2009; and Triandis, 1994), the Indian society directly or indirectly offers a fertile ground for the onset and tolerance of workplace bullying.
Further, the in-group idea or the joint family concept among Indians and the human code of conduct has endorsed them to show reverence to age and status (Sinha & Sinha, 1990). In addition, the Indian social network surrounded by mutual obligations favoring acquiescence has endorsed paternalism within Indian organizations (Sinha, 1990). The Indian culture also entertains particularism where peoples’ treatment is based on who the person at the receiving end is (i.e., social standing, family or are known to be associated with some particular group) thereby, resulting in a type of culture where the tolerance of society towards bullying behaviour is found to be high (Triandis, 1994).
Supplementing to it, the fluctuating corporate culture in Indian firms manifested by highly competitive work environments and increased work pressure also favour bullying within Indian organizations. The increased globalization has given rise to enhanced internal and external competition within organizations. The rapid transitions occurring in Indian organizations along with the inability of the workforce to adjust to these changes have increased the magnitude of negative workplace behaviours.
One of the key issues for human resource development (HRD) experts is to primarily understand the workplace bullying acts and identify how it negatively affects individuals and organizations. This knowledge will facilitate them to work strategically with the organization to address this vice. Though workplace bullying is a widely studied phenomenon in Western countries, it has not received ample academic attention in the Indian context. Keeping in mind this background, a study delving into several aspects that influence the incidence and perception of bullying behaviours at workplace with a focus on organizational, individual and supervisory factors may significantly contribute to a comprehensive understanding of bullying dynamics within Indian organizations.
In light of the various supervisory, organizational and individual factors stated, the current study attempts to explore the interplay of these facets in the domain of workplace bullying and employee citizenship behaviour.