South African teachers’ exposure to workplace bullying
De Wet, Corene
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Research on workplace bullying (WPB) in occupations, identified teaching as a high risk job. Yet there is a dearth of research on WPB among teachers. The aim of this study is to contribute to the limited body of knowledge on the prevalence of WPB within an international and South African schooling context. This article reports on results from an exploratory study on South African teachers’ exposure to WPB. Self-reporting questionnaires were completed by a convenient, voluntary sample of teachers (n=999). The respondents had to indicate their exposure to 43 pre-defined acts of WPB clustered into four categories. This study exposes the commonness of WPB among participating teachers: 90.8% of them were victims of WPB during the 12 months that preceded the study, and 89.1% of the victims had been exposed to at least two different categories of WPB. The perpetrators tried especially to undermine the victims’ professional status and isolate them. The study identified the constant evaluation of victims’ performance as the most common of the 43 negative acts. The results are discussed with reference to other studies. It is concluded that WPB is a serious problem in South African schools and needs to be addressed on policy and institutional levels.