Unacknowledged Conditions and Workplace Bullying

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Laura C. Dzurec, PhD, MS, BS, RN, PMHCNS-BC, ANEF
School of Nursing, Widener University, Chester, PA, USA

Where it exists and is allowed to fulminate, workplace bullying is known to have significant and devastating effects on individual employees and on the workplaces that employ them.  The purpose of this study was to examine the interplay of often-unacknowledged conditions of workplace bullying--those conditions that subtly drive individuals to become victims of their bully counterparts--as they collectively act to perpetuate workplace bullying acts.  Themes apparent in a broad, international literature were accessed through the author’s use of hermeneutics and recursive metasynthesis.  The sampling frame for this study incorporated both findings of the previous studies of our research team and findings from papers referenced to conduct those studies.  Organizational and personal factors representing ‘unacknowledged conditions’ that facilitated workplace bullying were apparent in the themes emerging from this analysis.  These themes included characteristics describing personal states and traits of both bullies and their intended victims; qualities of organizations as wholes that contribute to the perpetuation of workplace bullying acts; behaviors and actions of adminstrators that tacitly and/or implicitly sanction workplace bullying; significance of organizational and governmental policy to address the typically-unstated drivers of workplace bullying; and features of bullying outcomes that result when, collectively, these 'backseat drivers' commingle, whether overtly or covertly, to facilitate the devastating acts of workplace bullying.  Implications for structuring practical and effective programs of intervention, based on findings of the analysis, are presented.