Psychological abuse in higher education in relation to leadership and ethical climate

Erdemir, Burcu
In today’s fast changing world, educational organizations and the individuals working in them have become a part of a competitive work atmosphere. In such kind of an environment, opposition with colleagues and supervisors is almost inevitable for some people. This friction sometimes reaches to such an unbearable extent that faculty academic staff has nothing left to do but run away from that organisation. This phenomenon is known as “mobbing, bullying or psychological abuse at workplace”. It not only causes psychological and financial loses to individuals but also deals a serious blow to the effectiveness, reputation and finance of organizations. Though the issue has a dark and negative nature, the existence of preventive measures and related solutions can present themselves as lights of hope for targeted individuals and organizations. This study aimed at exploring the strength of relationship between psychological abuse and the predictors of leadership and ethical climate in higher education through ordinal logistic regression analysis. The data were collected from 547 academicians in different faculties of 10 universities in Ankara, Turkey, in 2014. The findings of the study suggested that there was a negative relationship between the outcome variable of psychological abuse and the predictors of leadership and ethical climate; academicians with the title of instructor (okutman) constituted the largest group to have been exposed to psychological abuse; academicians from all positions experience some kind of mobbing behavior; the older academicians get, the probability of being exposed to abusive behaviors decreases; females are more likely to be mobbed compared to males; mobbing is seen more in Education and Communication faculties and in total 21 % of the academicians have become the victims of psychological abuse in their departments.


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Constant pressures emanating from internal and external environments of the academy have resulted in many changes, one of which is the workplace mobbing, an old issue for the broader field of organization science but a relatively new phenomenon in the academic context. This study investigated the relationship between workplace mobbing and academic leadership and the results indicated that the more positive leadership there is in an institution, the less mobbing behaviors are observed.
Citation Formats
B. Erdemir, “Psychological abuse in higher education in relation to leadership and ethical climate,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2015.