Drama at Dunder Mifflin: Workplace Bullying Discourses on The Office

Erin M. Sumner, Jennifer A. Scarduzio, Jena R. Daggett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study examines the portrayal and affective framing of workplace bullying behaviors on the popular American television show The Office. Quantitative and qualitative content analyses were conducted on 54 episodes spanning the show’s nine seasons. Results revealed 331 instances of workplace bullying, for an average of 6.13 bullying behaviors per episode. Workplace bullying behavior on The Office was grouped into five categories: sexual jokes, public humiliation, practical jokes, belittlement, and misuse of authority. In general, instances of workplace bully were scripted as humorous and lacking significant consequences, which could further contribute to social discourses that perpetuate the problem of bullying in real-life workplaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-149
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • media narratives
  • primetime television
  • The Office
  • workplace bullying
  • workplace emotional abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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