Bullying and Negative Behaviour in Commercial Kitchens

  • Wendy Bloisi

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis investigates bullying and negative behaviour among chefs working in commercial kitchens. The idea for this study arose due to evidence from the hospitality industry and amongst chefs in particular which suggested that negative behaviour and bullying were widely accepted practices. However, much of this evidence has been either anecdotal from media reporting or based on small scale studies.The industry has also complained about high labour turnover and the need for a trained workforce. Therefore, this study examines the behaviours to which chefs are exposed and if negative behaviours cause them to leave the industry.This thesis has used a questionnaire to measure responses from chefs who were either in training in catering colleges or working in the industry. Questionnaires were distributed to first year student chefs (n = 202), final year student chefs (n = 153) and working chefs (n = 304). Working chefs and final year student chefs were given questionnaires that included a behavioural method of measuring bullying, known as the NAQ-R, a self labelling method of measuring bullying and items about kitchen specific behaviours. Working chefs and final year student chefs were also asked about positive aspects of work and job satisfaction. First year student chefs were also given a personality instrument as well as being asked their opinions of kitchen specific behaviours.The findings suggest chefs' exposure to regular bullying was in line with another major UK study (Hoel, 2002). However, occasional bullying was much higher. An examination of industry specific behaviours revealed that chefs tolerate a range of behaviours from verbal abuse on the one hand to physical and sexual abuse on the other. There were also positive aspects about the freedom of work and job satisfaction but this study was unable to find any evidence as to what made chefs stay in the industry.The study found that as student chefs become socialised into their role they were more likely to tolerate negative work behaviours and could identify reasons for their use although, this did not mean that they necessarily agreed with them. In fact, as the working chef sample was very different in ethnicity, gender and nationality from the student sample it could mean that due to negative behaviours on graduation students may not work as chefs.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorHelge Hoel (Supervisor) & Sharon Clarke (Supervisor)


  • Chefs
  • Bullying
  • Negative behaviour

Cite this