Dignity at work

Enhancing dignity, respect and wellbeing at work

About 15% of employees experience workplace bullying, with evidence illustrating negative impacts on individual and organisational performance, health and wellbeing.

The total cost to UK organisations of this behaviour is estimated at £13.75 billion.

Co-founder of a collaborative network, Dignity and Respect at Work Intervention Group (DRAWING), Dr Iain Coyne has worked with an international NGO to develop online dignity at work training and workshops that have changed the organisation’s global policies, processes and induction procedures. He has also influenced policy and practice at Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn.

Our impact

Dignity and Respect at Work Intervention Group (DRAWING)

  • Dr Coyne co-founded the collaborative network of 27 public and private sector organisations, DRAWING, which aimed to develop evidence-based interventions to tackle workplace bullying.

International NGO - enhancing dignity and respect

  • Since 2018, Dr Coyne has worked with a global NGO on improving policy and practices on dignity and respect at work.
  • The organisation has revised its international board procedures, developed a conflict and dispute resolution policy, and improved senior staff induction around conflict and dispute resolution in several countries.
  • The organisation has also devised an intervention to enhance dignity and respect – outlined in its strategic change plan.

Wider impacts

  • Following work with Dr Coyne, SOHAS has developed a Dignity and Respect Policy Statement that is shared with all new colleagues and has a reported positive impact on the organisation’s working culture.
  • UCU has been a member of DRAWING since 2017 – this involvement supports its 100,000 members to address problems and grievance procedures in a more holistic way.
  • DRAWING training has helped the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn NHS Trust to improve awareness and understand how to deal with bullying at work.

The research

Dr Coyne’s research into workplace bullying spans almost two decades.

In recent years, he has greatly added to our understanding of workplace cyberbullying and highlighted its negative impact on job satisfaction.

As well as exploring the experiences of victims – applying the concept of fairness – he has explained bystander behaviour in relation to bullying, finding support for perpetrator behaviour is greater when activity is online and work-related than when offline and personal.

His empirical investigations have highlighted the importance of fairness and dignity in the perceptions and response of bullying victims and bystanders. These findings support his recommendations to organisations developing bullying interventions that establish a positive working environment and foster mutual respect, dignity and fairness.

To date, his work has influenced employment relations policy and practice in four service-orientated organisations, improving the working lives of more than 1,000 people and enhancing the services they provide.

Iain’s “work is an important part of a new and innovative employee experience plan... to transform [NGO] into a healthier, kinder and more trusting working environment.”

The Head of Internal Communications and People Engagement - International NGO

Development partners

  • International NGO
  • Dignity and Respect at Work Intervention Group (DRAWING)

Meet the experts

Photograph of Iain Coyne

Dr Iain Coyne

Reader in Organisational Psychology