Sharon L. Liu


This empirical study investigated bullying among adult U.S. women in the Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology/Medical Device (PBMD) Industry. A concurrent triangulation mixed method was used. An online survey was sent out consisting of : (a) a modified Einarsen, Hoel, & Notelaers (2009) Negative Acts Questionnaire; (b) open-ended questions about being bullied, witnessing bullying, and how the respondent coped with bullying; (c) demographic questions of the respondent and the bullying perpetrator (if applicable); and (d) questions on whether the respondents had been bullied, witnessed bullying, or perpetrated bullying. Bullying in the PBMD industry is a problem as evidenced by the fact that 61% of the women in this study had either been bullied or had witnessed bullying. The workplace experience is significantly different for women who have been bullied vs. those who have not. Most of the bullying occurred between first-line supervisors (46%) and coworkers (39%). In 39% (19/48) of the bullying cases, management exacerbated the situation, was itself the root of the problem, or did not respond to bullying behavior. When respondents turned to Human Resources (HR) for support, they typically perceived that HR sided with management against them. The most successful coping method involved responding directly to the bully. When management responded unhesitatingly and in a direct manner to the bully, making clear that bullying behavior would not be condoned, the outcome was positive. Based on my research, a number of approaches can be used by management and HR to decrease bullying, starting with increasing awareness of risk factors for bullying behavior, e.g., recognizing that women tend to use indirect exclusionary work-related behaviors to bully other women. Furthermore, differences between the target and bully with respect to age, years of experience and years in the company increase the risk of bullying.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organization change; Bullying in the workplace; Women employees; Pharmaceutical biotechnology industry; Medical instruments and apparatus industry

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

DePorres, Daphne;