What’s The Research On Verbal Abuse?

Question:

I’m a Ph.D. student doing my research on verbal abuse in the workplace and was looking for some research or a study that will assist in this research endeavor. I’ve read your website and many of the questions that people ask are in line with what I’m trying to study. I’d appreciate any help you can offer.

Signed,

Looking For Abuse


Answer:

Dear Looking For Abuse:

It’s great to learn of your interest. I first became involved with the topic when doing a series of studies with Dominic Infante on verbal aggression (that includes verbal abuse and disrespecting the person) and argumentativeness (that includes willingness to argue but not to disparage the worth of the person with whom you are arguing). So with those two terms you can find a series of such studies in our journals. Also the term incivility has come into use and studies by other researchers outside our discipline have found that incivility escalates and that physical abuse is almost always preceded by it. Bullying is another term that has emerged, and especially in Europe, practioners have prescribed preventative rules and regulations about it. On the Internet you will find sources such as The Bully Bulletin.

Where are you doing your work and who is your advisor? I trust that you will keep me posted on your work and will from time to time be willing to serve as a guest respondent? Our archive search engine should provide access to questions and our advice on the topic of verbal abuse. Probably you could do a content analysis of the questions to learn more how those who write describe their experiences with those who abuse. Also, I’m sending you a chapter that I have written (as yet unpublished) for a book that targets nonacademic personnel. You will notice the golfing metaphor.

Will you let me know if these remarks provide a little guidance? Hopefully, you can get out into the workplace to see first hand how verbal abuse hurts working relationships and ultimately focus on those conditions and factors that prevent and help targets cope. WEGO comes from collaborative research and working.

William Gorden