Cyberbullying in global virtual teams

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Abdullah Oguz (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Prashant Palvia

Abstract: Workplace mistreatment towards employees has been a material issue, investigated by various disciplines increasingly since the 1990s. With the advent of the Internet, and utilization of a wide variety of online media, workplace bullying, as one of the severe types of mistreatment, has expanded to cyberspace beyond the physical boundaries of an office. It has also acquired distinct characteristics such as the anonymity of perpetrators and spatial and temporal permanence of materials posted online. Workplace cyberbullying includes any behaviors intended to inflict harm or discomfort on a coworker or a group of coworkers who cannot easily defend themselves. Within the workplace environment, global virtual teams (GVTs) have become increasingly common since they could provide convenience to individuals, teams, and organizations to perform their tasks and responsibilities from different locations across the world by relying totally on virtual communication and collaboration tools. While task-related and interpersonal conflicts have been extensively investigated in the extant literature for GVTs, cyberbullying remains as an unknown phenomenon which might hinder the effectiveness and performance of GVTs and organizations. This research fills the gap in the literature on cyberbullying in GVTs, which are globally dispersed, and culturally and functionally diverse teams that rely on advanced technology for communication, collaboration, and coordination. This research creates an opportunity to understand the extent of cyberbullying in GVTs, to elaborate on its antecedents, moderators, and consequences, and to explicate the role of ICTs on the occurrence and prevention of cyberbullying. The routine activities theory is utilized to explain how opportunities for cyberbullying victimization are produced, and everyday workplace routines and lifestyle behaviors expose victims to risk. In this dissertation, three studies were carried out. In the first study, a qualitative thematic analysis of a large data corpus was conducted. The second study consisted of fifteen semi-structured interviews conducted with GVT members. These two studies led to the production of an instrument that aimed to measure the antecedents, moderators, and consequences of cyberbullying victimization of GVT members. This online survey instrument was distributed to employees who participated in at least one GVT in the last three years and experienced or witnessed cyberbullying behaviors. All three studies probed into the cyberbullying behaviors, which could be detrimental to GVTs and their members. Routine activities theory has provided us with the underpinnings that have enabled the determination of the antecedents, which could lead to cyberbullying victimization in GVTs. Organizations can benefit from this research and its outputs to assure healthier and more effective GVTs. Besides, future studies and organizations could utilize this novel theoretical framework and GVT cyberbullying instrument to investigate workplace cyberbullying and other types of cyber mistreatment and aggression.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Bullying, Communication medium, Cyberbullying, Global virtual teams, Information systems, Routine activities theory
Bullying in the workplace
Virtual work teams

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