Purpose – This study aims to investigate perceptions of bullying‐like behaviours in South Korea, from young children to adults; why they happen and how people judge them. Design/methodology/approach – Focus groups were conducted across different age ranges, from preschool to workplace employees, in Seoul. A total of 113 participants were shown cartoons or descriptions of negative behaviours and asked “why these happened”, and “what do you think about them?” Interview transcripts were analysed by grounded theory. Findings – Similarities and differences across ages were found for two themes, origins and judgments of behaviours. Situational and interpersonal factors were seen as important in causing the behaviours, both in school and the workplace. Pupils aged 15‐17 and mothers considered the behaviours less acceptable than younger pupils; whereas, ten to 15‐year‐old pupils and workplace employees gave more justification of the behaviours and were more likely to attribute the situation to victim's responsibility. Originality/value – This is the first study investigating perceptions of bullying‐like behaviour from a life‐span perspective and also provides findings on the particular nature of Korean bullying or wang‐ta .
Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 10, 2011
Keywords: Bullying; Aggression; Age differences; Wang‐ta ; South Korea ; Attitudes