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Bullying in the workplace

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alexander PhillipsORCiD


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© 2020Bullying is an under-recognized and often inadequately managed problem in the workplace. As well as bullying, individuals may be subjected to other problematic behaviours such as discrimination and harassment. Within the healthcare setting these can not only affect the victim, but can also have a potentially catastrophic impact on patient outcomes. Inadequately managed bullying can propagate within teams and disseminate, affecting organizational culture. Bullying impacts on training, with a Royal College of Surgeons survey indicating 60% of trainees had experienced bullying in the previous year and 94% of trainees had witnessed bullying of others. Notably it was uncovered that victims are more likely to be women or people from ethnic minorities. In order to address this problem, it is crucial that good leadership skills are developed from an early stage and workplace culture changes to facilitate transparency and encourage dissent. By enabling those affected to feel safe in speaking out, we can haul problematic bullying behaviours out into the open and tackle them head on. However, in order to effect this it is vital that those charged with investigating such problems treat bullying with appropriate seriousness. Despite the increasing appreciation of the problem that exists, a cultural change is required in order to help eliminate the problem and give those being bullied the self-assurance and conviction to raise concerns.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Munro CE, Phillips AW

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Surgery

Year: 2020

Volume: 38

Issue: 10

Pages: 653-658

Print publication date: 01/10/2020

Online publication date: 30/08/2020

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 0263-9319

ISSN (electronic): 1878-1764

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.mpsur.2020.07.012