GRA 2273 Workplace Mistreatment and Conflict Resolution

GRA 2273 Workplace Mistreatment and Conflict Resolution

Course code: 
GRA 2273
Leadership and Organizational Behaviour
Course coordinator: 
Mats Glambek
Stig Berge Matthiesen
Course name in Norwegian: 
Workplace Mistreatment and Conflict Resolution
Product category: 
MSc in Leadership and Organisational Psychology
2023 Autumn
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Constructive, beneficial, and cooperative interpersonal relationships are often seen as essential for organizational success. But what happens at the other end of the scale, when relations at work are not only low-quality but also turn toxic, destructive, and abusive? Several decades of research show that workplace mistreatment has significant, detrimental consequences for organizations and individuals alike. Whether in the form of bullying, sexual harassment, ostracism, abusive supervision or other, related phenomena, the harmful consequences of workplace mistreatment are often stronger and more significant than the equivalent beneficial consequences of constructive interrelationships. Relatedly, conflicts in working life may escalate and become destructive and person-oriented if not handled adequately. For organizational scholars and practitioners, knowledge about antecedents and vulnerability factors is essential if mistreatment and escalated conflicts are to be prevented. Further, when destructive interpersonal phenomena occur, the knowledge and skills needed to investigate and treat the problem are crucial.

This course will review the literature on different forms of workplace mistreatment as well as workplace conflicts and conflict resolution. The course will focus on both antecedents and consequences and the nature of these concepts in themselves. From a preventive viewpoint, students will learn about organizational policies, management styles, and bystander roles. Finally, the course will discuss different ways in which workplace mistreatment and conflicts can be handled and investigated by organizational practitioners when the problem has surfaced.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

By the end of the course, candidate has advanced research-based knowledge about the following issues:

  • Conceptual differences between different forms of workplace conflicts and mistreatment, such as (but not limited to) workplace ostracism, workplace bullying and sexual harassment.
  • The scientific measurement of workplace mistreatment.
  • The nature and strength of individual outcomes of workplace mistreatment.
  • Key individual, group-level and organizational antecedents (risk factors) of workplace mistreatment and workplace conflicts.
  • Measures to prevent of workplace mistreatment and escalated workplace conflicts.
  • Strategies relating to managing whistleblowing and performing investigations of ongoing workplace mistreatment.
  • Strategies relating to ongoing workplace conflict interventions.
Learning outcomes - Skills

By the end of the course, the candidate should be able to:

  • Recognize and differentiate between different forms of workplace mistreatment.
  • Interpret the results of measures of workplace mistreatment.
  • Present/convey scientific knowledge about individual outcomes of exposure to workplace mistreatment.
  • Identify risk factors for workplace mistreatment at individual, group- and organizational levels.
  • Apply knowledge from the literature to develop strategies to prevent workplace mistreatment and conflict escalation.
  • Apply knowledge from the literature to develop strategies to investigate workplace mistreatment and escalated conflicts.
  • Develop plausible hypotheses about antecedents and outcomes (main effects) of workplace mistreatment and conflicts.
  • Develop plausible hypotheses about moderators and mediators of main effects in the workplace mistreatment and workplace conflict literature.
General Competence

By the end of the course, the candidate should be able to critically reflect on the course content and the research that it builds on. The candidate should also be able to evaluate and participate in debates about course topics. This includes (but is not limited to) topics such as the nature, antecedents and consequences of workplace mistreatment and escalated workplace conflicts as well as how they are and should be prevented, investigated, and handled.

Course content

Topics covered in this course include:

  • Introduction to workplace mistreatment and conflicts: Conceptual fault lines and scientific measurement.
  • High-intensity anti-social mistreatment: Bullying and abusive supervision in the workplace.
  • Low-intensity anti-social mistreatment: Ostracism, incivility and discrimination at work.
  • Consequences of workplace mistreatment and escalated conflicts: Individual, organizational and societal outcomes.
  • Antecedents of workplace mistreatment and conflicts.
  • Sexual harassment pre- and post #metoo.
  • Conflicts in the workplace
  • Preventing workplace mistreatment: Primary interventions.
  • Whistleblowing, investigations, and secondary interventions.
Teaching and learning activities

The course is structured as a combination of lectures, discussions, in-class activities, and digital learning resources. It requires a substantial amount of preparation by the students and active involvement during class. Parts of the synchronous teaching may be delivered digitally (e.g., Zoom) in some instances.

Please note that while attendance is not mandatory, it is the student's responsibility to obtain any information provided in class that is not included in Its learning, textbook, or articles.

The course is finalized with a 3-hour school exam, counting 100% of the final grade (A-F). The exam is individual.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Exam categoryWeightInvigilationDurationSupport materialsGroupingComment exam
Exam category:
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
GRA 22731
Grading scale:
Grading rules:
Internal examiner
Examination when next scheduled course
100Yes3 Hour(s)
  • Bilingual dictionary
Individual .
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Grouping (size):Individual
Support materials:
  • Bilingual dictionary
Duration:3 Hour(s)
Exam code:GRA 22731
Grading scale:ECTS
Resit:Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Student workload
30 Hour(s)
Synchronous teaching (classroom and/or Zoom).
Digital resources
Digital teaching resources (asynchronous) posted on the course page on It's learning.
Prepare for teaching
30 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
91 Hour(s)
3 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.