From bystander to ally among faculty colleagues: construction and validation of the bystander intervention behavior scale

Academic Article


  • PurposeBystander intervention mitigates the negative impact of bias incidents in the workplace. However, intervention tends to be viewed as binary: intervention occurred or it did not. Consequently, research has focused on conditions under which witnesses of bias incidents choose to intervene, and less is known about how witnesses may intervene. This paper elucidates the intervention behavior choices available to witnesses of bias incidents and develops a bystander intervention behavior (BIB) scale.Design/methodology/approachTo develop the scale, the authors used the three-phased act frequency methodology. In phase I, the authors surveyed faculty who had both witnessed a bias incident and seen someone intervene to address it. The authors asked these faculties to list the observed bystander intervention behaviors they had personally observed. In Phase II, different survey respondents and subject matter experts assessed the prototypicality of each of the behaviors in relation to the concept of bystander intervention. In phase III, the authors tested the validity and reliability of the resulting 18-item scale and assessed the ability of bystander intervention behavior to mitigate the negative impact of bias incidents on the academic workplace.FindingsThe BIB scale consists of two theoretically derived, empirically validated and reliable dimensions; it can be used as a summary score to evaluate the extent to which colleagues intervene indirectly and directly when a bias incident occurs in the academic workplace.Originality/valueThis scale is valuable in advancing efforts to mitigate the negative effect of bias in the workplace and training colleagues to intervene in various ways when bias occurs.
  • Authors


    Publication Date

  • March 18, 2022
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 273
  • End Page

  • 293
  • Volume

  • 41
  • Issue

  • 2