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A typology of bullying behaviours: the experiences of Australian nurses

Authors

  • Marie Hutchinson,

    1. Authors:Marie Hutchinson, PhD, Lecturer, School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Lismore, Lismore, NSW; Margaret H Vickers, PhD, Professor of Management, Family and Community Health (FaCH) Research Group, and School of Management, College of Business, University of Western Sydney, Sydney; Lesley Wilkes, PhD, Professor of Nursing, Family and Community Health (FaCH) Research Group, and School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Sydney; Debra Jackson, PhD, Professor of Nursing, Family and Community Health (FaCH) Research Group, and School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Margaret H Vickers,

    1. Authors:Marie Hutchinson, PhD, Lecturer, School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Lismore, Lismore, NSW; Margaret H Vickers, PhD, Professor of Management, Family and Community Health (FaCH) Research Group, and School of Management, College of Business, University of Western Sydney, Sydney; Lesley Wilkes, PhD, Professor of Nursing, Family and Community Health (FaCH) Research Group, and School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Sydney; Debra Jackson, PhD, Professor of Nursing, Family and Community Health (FaCH) Research Group, and School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Lesley Wilkes,

    1. Authors:Marie Hutchinson, PhD, Lecturer, School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Lismore, Lismore, NSW; Margaret H Vickers, PhD, Professor of Management, Family and Community Health (FaCH) Research Group, and School of Management, College of Business, University of Western Sydney, Sydney; Lesley Wilkes, PhD, Professor of Nursing, Family and Community Health (FaCH) Research Group, and School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Sydney; Debra Jackson, PhD, Professor of Nursing, Family and Community Health (FaCH) Research Group, and School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Debra Jackson

    1. Authors:Marie Hutchinson, PhD, Lecturer, School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Lismore, Lismore, NSW; Margaret H Vickers, PhD, Professor of Management, Family and Community Health (FaCH) Research Group, and School of Management, College of Business, University of Western Sydney, Sydney; Lesley Wilkes, PhD, Professor of Nursing, Family and Community Health (FaCH) Research Group, and School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Sydney; Debra Jackson, PhD, Professor of Nursing, Family and Community Health (FaCH) Research Group, and School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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Marie Hutchinson, Lecturer, School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Lismore, PO Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia. Telephone: +61 266203646.
E-mail:marie.hutchinson@scu.edu.au

Abstract

Aim and objective.  This study sought to explore the nature of bullying in the Australian nursing workplace.

Background.  While there is widespread concern about the extent and consequences of bullying among nurses, to date, there have been no published reports cataloguing the types of behaviours that constitute bullying.

Design.  Reported here are findings from the first stage of a three-stage sequential mixed methods study.

Methods.  The first, qualitative stage of this study employed in-depth, semi structured interviews with 26 nurses who had experienced bullying from two Australian area health services. Content analysis of the verbatim interview transcripts was performed using the nvivo 7 software program.

Results.  The analysis identified six major categories and constituent sub-categories. The typology of bullying behaviours reported here is one of these major categories.

Conclusion.  The typology of behaviours developed from the study provides detailed insights into the complexity of bullying experienced by nurses. The behaviours were labelled: personal attack, erosion of professional competence and reputation, and attack through work roles and tasks. These themes provide insight into the construct of bullying by providing a detailed catalogue of bullying behaviours that show that bullying is frequently masked in work tasks or work processes and focused on damaging the reputation and status of targets.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The detailed catalogue of bullying behaviours draws attention to the breadth of the bullying experience. It is anticipated the typology will be of use to nurses, managers and other professionals who are interested in responding to the problem of bullying in nursing.

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