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“He just didn’t seem to understand the banter” : bullying or simply establishing social cohesion?

Alexander, Matthew and Maclaren, Andrew and O'Gorman, Kevin D and Taheri, Babak (2012) “He just didn’t seem to understand the banter” : bullying or simply establishing social cohesion? Tourism Management, 33 (5). pp. 1245-1255. ISSN 0261-5177

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Within the professional kitchen bullying is reported as widespread, aggressive and related to a significant retention problem. This research explores negative behaviour in professional kitchens and its impact on organizational commitment. A mixed methods approach is used employing a survey among chefs followed by semi-structured interviews. An exploratory factor analysis examines the underlying constructs of bullying and job satisfaction and data are analysed through Partial Least Squares. Our research highlights that bullying behaviour is experienced most by younger, more junior chefs. However verbal bullying, the form most strongly reported, has no effect on either satisfaction or commitment. Emergent themes of communication and inclusion illustrate bullying behaviour to be a cohesive aspect of kitchen culture. Our findings suggest behavioural impacts, rather than bullying characteristics, must be considered within their context in order to establish whether or not they are actually damaging to an industry.