Workplace bullying in nursing: towards a more critical organisational perspective



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: ERRATUM Volume 13, Issue 3, 239, Article first published online: 10 August 2006

Correspondence: Marie Hutchinson, School of Nursing, Family and Community Health, College of Social and Health Sciences, Parramatta Campus, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW, 2067, Australia. E-mail: <>


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.