Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why do humans bully each other?

The key to understanding workplace bullying is operant conditioning versus rational or critical thinking (Emerson, 1976).  Employees bully each other because people are conditioned to bully each other by previous role modeling by the family group, their culture, and the society, and then role modeled by senior employees (Bandura, 1973).  Workplace bullying, or human aggression in interpersonal relations at work, is done when results are needed.  The perpetrator, without thinking of individual motivating factors, without really understanding the consequences to the other person in most instances, continues with this same behavior because past experience has produced the desired results.  Stress increases human aggression or withdrawal.  We do not create the behavior in nursing by being oppressed, the individual comes into nursing as an individual with conditioned responses to interpersonal interaction.  We reinforce it by modeling lateral or horizontal violence to the next generation of nurses.  And, as in reciprocal theory, we treat others as we have been treated.

As an astute observer of mankind once said  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” has, in fact turned the workplace environment fraught with bullying into a "do it to others before it is done to you."  Trust is lost in adverse reciprocal interaction when output continues to be unequal in the exchange (Blau, 1987).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Workplace bullying: multiple views: Workplace bullying (WPB)

Workplace bullying: multiple views: Workplace bullying (WPB): " Human interaction within the context of WPB is like particle collision on a human level. There is a sequence of random acts expected and ..."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Knowledge or wisdom?

I was reading an interesting book called "The Isaiah effect: Decoding the lost science of prayer and prophecy" by G. Braden (2000). Sometimes I just read a different view  to add clarity to my own values and viewpoint.  You never know what little snippets of information you can get from alternative reading, other than all the scientific research we need to read for evidenced-based nursing practice. Braden (200) writes that knowledge is an element of our experience from information, data, statistics, even patterns of behavior observed.  We collect all this knowledge and pass it on in books, traditions, demonstration (role modeling), or story-telling. However, what really drives learning is the application of that knowledge through the  experience lived and by the learning through the consequences of those experiences.  After all that, wisdom comes from those direct experiences. Reminds me of when my daughter would try to touch the stove and I would take her hand away and say "HOT!!!" Until she touched it (minor burn), she did not acquire the wisdom to never touch "HOT!" based on my passing knowledge to her.  She had to have the consequences.

So, what has this got to do with workplace bullying?  Nurses deal with the consequences every day.  It is important to understand that there are root causes associated with why nurses bully nurses.  It is not all about the individual attributes of nurses, perpetrator, or the organization.  We need to look at all the factors that cause unacceptable behavior to flourish in the workplace.  And, nurses are part of that picture.  Those particles I wrote about before.  Keep in mind how you yourself "cope" with the bullying.  I think how nurses cope and how they act in conflict communication is important to the whole story.  Until next time.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Workplace bullying (WPB)

 Human interaction within the context of WPB is like particle collision on a human level. There is a sequence of random acts expected and unexpected, some brief, some extended, and other particles having had relevance in the past and nothing to do with the current context.  These particles all collide and explode together between target and perpetrator within that WPB event. One particle subtracted from the event is not  capable in preventing the continuing collision and explosion.

Programs targeted towards educating nurses about the behavior in no way assist nurses in recognizing the behaviors in themselves. We are all victims; we are all bystanders and; depending on those particles colliding,  we are perpetrators of workplace bullying.  It is important to find the predators, the ones who hunt for the next victim, because they need to have power and control over a person (very similar to intimate partner violence). When a predatory perpetrator is disciplined, they then believe they are the victims.  After all, the behavior has been enabled, rewarded, ignore, justified, or rationalized. However, it is equally important to change the adverse culture which enables and encourages the bullying behavior as a method to avoid empowering their employees for fear of losing control.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Communication or suffocation

A colleague suggested that it isn't workplace bullying I should study, communication strategies between nurses should be my focus. After many searching inside of myself, it is still how to discover before bullying becomes so toxic it affects the nurse's ability to be productive, think clearly, enjoy work and interpersonal relationships at work.

If you have been bullied at work on a weekly basis by one person or a group of people over six months, you are going to see changes in your ability to work productively, your health and well-being are impacted, your relationships at work and at home are also impacted.  And, you have to make the decision to walk,confront and report the bully up the chain of command, knowing it may lead to worsening of the bullying behavior, re-frame the behavior, or avoid the bully.  

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Workplace bullying: Target, perpetrator, or organization

I have been doing a lot of reading on workplace bullying. I'm a nurse, I've been the target. I've been a manager and been perceived as a bully.  I have also been part of an organization that bullies and oppresses the different, the curious, and yes, the slackers who should not be there in the first place. So, I am going to continue to explore the issues, present all sides (if I can) and wonder out loud if this is just meant to be because of the societal pressures.  Feel free to join in.