Work harassment and local government employees: Australia and USA

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Xerri, M, Farr-Wharton, R, Brunetto, Y & Lambries, D 2016, 'Work harassment and local government employees: Australia and USA', International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 54-71.

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The purpose of this paper is to compare the impact of management and colleagues on the perception ofwork harassment and outcomes of local government employees in Australia and the USA. Completed surveys from local government employees (265 from the USA and 250 from Australia) were analysed using structural equation modelling and an ANOVA. The results depict support for the overall measurement and structural models showing that workplace relationships impact on work harassment, and in turn employee outcomes (psychological wellbeing and Organisational Citizenship Behaviour-Individual (OCB-I)), although not all paths were accepted for each country. Statistically significant differences were found between the Australian and USA samples for both the measurement and structural models, with the sample from the USA showing much higher levels of satisfaction with workplace relationships, higher levels of psychological wellbeing, OCB-I, and lower perceptions of work harassment. The findings provide implications that Australian and US local government employees, positioned closest to the public, experience work harassment probably as a result of chronic under-resourcing both in terms of manpower and other resources, and coupled with unrealistically high-performance targets. The results depict that such work harassment is resulting in lower psychological wellbeing (USA only) and lower extra-role behaviour associated with OCB-I (Australia and USA). The value of this paper is that it benchmarks the impact of workplace relationships on work harassment for local government employees across two Anglo-American countries.

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