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 did as part of this degree was Business Research Methods. I absolutely loved the unit and decided this was what I wanted to do. My Masters thesis focused on flexible work practices and homebased 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 5 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 a book and numerous publications, as well as many calls to present seminars for professional associations and other groups.
After the release of my book in December 2007 I was 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 in this area with the aim of working towards educating both employers and employees about the nature, causes and consequences of 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.
My previous research on workplace bullying focused on the public sector. I am currently working in partnership with a professional association in WA to conduct a survey of workplace bullying of their membership. The aim of this research is to broaden my field of investigation, and to provide information for the professional association in question to develop anti-bullying policies.
I would like to acknowledge the significant efforts of my Masters and PhD supervisor, Associate Professor Peter Standen, who has acted as an excellent guide and mentor during my research journey.