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.


  1. This topic has a personal interest. As I was the victim and others in cardiology research. The perpetrators were the manager and a research coordinator; who would single one victim at a time then when bored with that person they move on to another. Many have left due to these two and many want to but feel stuck. The director has been informed, however nothing has been done. I believe this is a horrible environment to work in and productivity along with the morale is very low.

  2. Thanks so much for the comment. This sounds like predatory bullying. I tend to look at this from a violence perspective. Nurses bully nurses, especially the new nurse for several reasons. One is moral reasons - the senior nurse does not trust the new nurse and is concerned about patient safety. He or she justifies the bullying for the new nurse's own good. There is also ritualistic bullying, where the new nurse has to pay her dues by taking the "problem" patients, the heavier workload. Another is recreational - the bully or bullies are bored and tease or verbal strike at the target. It is much harder when they pair up to strike out. I would suggest reading Crucial Conversations to help you all practice responses to stop the behavior. Good luck. I encourage you to follow my posts and let me know how it all works out.