Bullying rife in UK workplaces

Bullying
is endemic in UK workforces, and new research suggests that nurse managers are
significant perpetrators, according to a senior lecturer at the University of
Central Lancashire.

In
his talk, ‘The Janus Effect: Perpetrators and Targets’, Malcolm Lewis, from the
university’s Department of Postgraduate Medicine and Health, revealed that many
of the nurse managers he interviewed for his project into nurse managers’
perceptions of bullying had: difficulty in defining bullying, inhabit a
‘parallel world’ of nursing and managing, and develop strains in dealing with
the professional nursing world and the managerial world.

Although
many nurse managers acknowledge bullying in nursing and the wider NHS, they are
also frequent perpetrators in the workplace, leading to the Janus (two-headed)
effect.

His
investigations also reveal there is a ‘widespread definition problem’
surrounding bullying, with many people being unable to identify they had been
bullied until after the event, which, according to his findings, can last from
three months to seven years.

Lewis
also revealed a ‘climate of fear’ in speaking out against bullies, which
contributes to both a manager’s and a victim’s isolation.

The
research also suggests that around 90 per cent of bullies are ‘serial bullies’,
meaning that moving them to another position will only move the problem.

Managers
are certainly not immune to bullying, with 95 per cent of those questioned
reporting witnessing or being subjected to bullying from senior managers, their
peers and subordinates – often in clique groups.

He
warned that because nurses have often got to be seen as coping with problems,
bullying is kept ‘local and hidden’, but it can result in a lack of confidence,
sickness absence and victims leaving the job or even the profession.

Comments are closed.