Workplace bullying is a significant issue confronting the nursing profession. Bullying in nursing is frequently described in terms of ‘oppressed group’ behaviour or ‘horizontal violence’. It is proposed that the use of ‘oppressed group’ behaviour theory has fostered only a partial understanding of the phenomenon in nursing. It is suggested that the continued use of ‘oppressed group’ behaviour as the major means for understanding bullying in nursing places a flawed emphasis on bullying as a phenomenon that exists only among nurses, rather than considering it within the broader organisational context. The work of Foucault and the ‘circuits of power’ model proposed by Clegg are used to provide an alternative understanding of the operation of power within organisations and therefore another way to conceive bullying in the nursing workforce.