Prevalence and Role Stressors as Antecedents to Workplace Bullying in Multinational Corporations Human Resource Shared Service Centers in Malaysia

Santhosh K ST Samanthar, Zoharah Omar, Khairuddin Idris, Aminah Ahmad


Workplace bullying has shown a steep rise globally in the last three decades, reporting its pervasiveness among various sectors and industries. It is universally recognized as a significant work stressor causing severe health, well-being, and psychosocial problems for employees, the economy, and society. The claim comes as no surprise with the contemporary debate among organizations, especially MNCs HRSSC, striving to succeed globally and stay competitive through cost savings and increased productivity. However, SSC formation has swayed the HRD professions’ to strategic HR roles to focus on the organization’s profit-making goal, eventually at the expense of employees’ well-being by indirectly condoning workplace bullying. For these reasons, the present study investigates the prevalence of workplace bullying at MNC HRSSC in Malaysia to find out how the Western countries that pioneered the studies reveal the severity of workplace bullying manages organizations in Asian countries that are still at the early stage comparatively of recognizing the phenomenon. The study will examine the prevalence, the experience level of role stressors, namely role ambiguity and role conflict, which are relatable to the MNC HRSSC setup, and their consequent representation as antecedents to workplace bullying. A cross-sectional study was adopted to conduct descriptive and inferential statistical analysis with n=460. The descriptive statistical analysis used IBM SPSS (v24.0) to determine the prevalence of workplace bullying by adopting a two-step cluster analysis and the strict operational definition criterion and the role stressors experiences level. At the same time, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to determine the correlation and influence between the predetermined organizational antecedents (role ambiguity and role conflict) and workplace bullying. Data were collected using a 14-items Role Questionnaire (RQ) and 22-item Negative Act Questionnaires-Revised (22-items NAQ-R). Findings show a high prevalence rate of workplace bullying (66.7%), a high level of role ambiguity (72.6%), and role conflict (70.2%), resulting in a positive & significant relationship with workplace bullying. Thus, these results autonomously conclude that workplace bullying is prevalent among MNC HRSSC with a high level of role ambiguity and role conflict experience, which are significant antecedents based on the General Strain Theory (Agnew, 1992) underpinning theory. Therefore, the study recommends that local HRD professionals and policymakers review employees’ job descriptions to determine one’s role and set KPI accordingly. Global Business Services representing the MNC and the local HRSSC management team must develop and implement robust anti-bullying policies and programs and sustain them in practice to curtail the negative consequences.

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Copyright (c) 2022 Santhosh K ST Samanthar, Zoharah Omar, Khairuddin Idris, Aminah Ahmad

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International Journal of Human Resource Studies  ISSN 2162-3058


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