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My Research Journey: Associate Professor Maryam Omari

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

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My research journey started in the early 1990s when I decided to do a Masters by research. I was one of the first two students who enrolled in this new course at ECU. The first unit I took as part of this degree was Business Research Methods. I absolutely loved the unit and decided that was what I wanted to do. My Masters thesis focused on flexible work practices and home-based work. I completed my thesis part-time over four years. My study resulted in a number of publications, a technical report and a co-authored book chapter.

Around five years after the completion of my Masters thesis, I enrolled in a PhD at ECU. I finished my PhD within three years whilst working full-time. My thesis is titled ‘Towards dignity and respect at work: an exploration of bullying in the public sector’. My research led to numerous publications and conference presentations, as well as many calls to present seminars for professional associations and other groups.

As a result of my work, and as workplace bullying is highly topical, I have been invited to participate in a number of radio, newspaper and television interviews. I was able to disseminate the main messages from my research to a wider audience through these means. It has been heartening to receive many messages of support, encouraging me to pursue my research on workplace bullying with the aim of working towards educating both employers and employees about the nature, causes, consequences of and remedies for workplace bullying.

Workplace bullying remains an under-researched area of investigation. My PhD study was the first of its kind internationally to collect information from those verbally or formally accused of being a perpetrator. This angle gave a unique perspective on the complexities associated with bullying scenarios.

Since my research on workplace bullying focused on the public sector, I have worked with the Law Society of Western Australia to conduct a survey of workplace bullying of their membership. The aim of this research was to broaden my field of investigation, and to provide information for the Law Society to develop anti-bullying policies and interventions.

I am currently working on a cross-cultural study of workplace bullying. This research aims to unearth divergence and convergence as seen through a cultural lens. The comparisons will be between Australia and Turkey.

I would like to acknowledge the significant efforts of my Masters and PhD supervisor, Associate Professor Peter Standen and good friend, colleague and research partner, Dr Megan Paull who have acted as excellent guides, mentors and sounding boards during my research journey.

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