Date of Award

11-2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

William J. Leary

Second Advisor

Carole Warshaw

Third Advisor

Cheryl Serrano

Abstract

The purpose of this phenomenological research project was to study and review through naturalistic inquiry, the perceptions of former federal agents and officers as to whether they believe they were bullied at their workplace, and if so, what did those participants do to cope or adjust to the bullying behavior. Multiple sources for data collection were deployed to explore and examine whether former agents perceive they were bullied at work and what mechanisms those employees found were helpful as coping strategies.

This research project used a non-random, purposeful sample selected from contacts established through the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. The participant samples included eight former federal agents and/or officers identified as Special Agents, no longer employed by their respective federal law enforcement agencies.

Interviews, literature review and document analysis incorporating audio-recorded interviews of unstructured, and open-ended interview questions of each participant in a one-on-one setting, was utilized. Each participant provided feedback, and verification of their interviews for verification purposes and to maintain control over the potential for researcher bias, by cross checking the researcher's interpretations and conclusions.

The emerging themes focused upon one dominant area during the analysis with similarities among the participants: leadership within the federal law enforcement agencies.

The analysis identified that participants perceived they were bullied by their agency leadership and management and all used different but somewhat similar coping strategies.

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