Approaching the study of cyberbullying towards social workers from a systems perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


To date, cyberbullying research has been conducted without coherent, shared conceptual and operational definitions and with no clear, agreed theoretical ground. Hence, there is great confusion as to how to classify, measure and analyze this phenomenon. In response, this article proposes applying the systems approach developed in safety engineering, as a possible theoretical framework for investigation into cyberbullying. Central to the systems approach is the conceptualization of the relationship between people and technology as a joint system, with the focus of exploration being on how it interacts with the wider environment. Looking at cyberbullying through the systems lens dramatically broadens the analysis of the factors that influence behavior, with greater attention paid to the social arrangements. The current article illustrates how the core systems concepts of “socio-technical systems,” “emergent,” “multiple levels of analysis,” and “local rationality” can be transferred to the context of client cyberbullying towards professionals – specifically social workers – and contribute new knowledge and understanding to what seems to be developing into a serious problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-64
Number of pages5
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Client
  • Cyberbullying
  • Social workers
  • Systems approach
  • Theoretical framework

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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