Management: Bullying in Workplace

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Cruel managers usually make employees feel powerless. This cruelty might be shown through bullying. Bullying (in the workplace setting) is a kind of behavior that is done repetitively and systematically towards an employee to intimidate, threaten or victimize him or her (McCarthy, 2013). One of the factors that contribute to workplace bullying is power. Some individuals may misuse their positions of power. Bullying in the workplace may come in different forms. One of them may be in form of physical intimidation, which may be aggressive. Some individuals may block doorways or brush against the victim intentionally. Bullying may also take an interpersonal view. This may be the case when the leader becomes abusive or humiliates an employee.

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Another form of bullying may be in the form of covert behavior that tends to undermine or disempower the employees (victims). This form of bullying is mainly work-related. This may be evident when the leader overloads the employees with work. Some may set deadlines that are almost impossible to meet or they may constantly change those deadlines. The leader may also ignore particular employees and cause their isolation. Some bullies may also deny employees access to important information or other resources in the workplace.

Power is one of the factors contributing to bullying in the workplace. There are several sources of this power. One of them is coercive power, which may give the individual the power to punish employees. Connection power may be possessed by the people one knows. Such people may include other powerful individuals within that organization. Expert power is also another source of power that may contribute to the incidence of bullying in the workplace. Such individuals usually have some acclaimed skill (expertise). Another source of power is informational power. Such individuals usually have access to important information. Legitimate power also has a positional association. This may be related to the title of the individual or the types of responsibilities the person has in the organization. Referent power is another source. Such individuals are well-liked and greatly respected in the workplace. Other individuals in the workplace have reward power. They can bestow rewards (benefits, pay rise, and job assignments) to individuals based on various qualifications. All these sources of power may be used wrongly by the individuals since they can manipulate the individuals.

Nancy, the Emergency Department Manager, may need to come up with solutions to the issue of bullying in her unit. One way she could do this is by holding the confirmed bullies accountable for their actions. She can remind such bullies of the behavior that the organization considers acceptable or not. If no such statements exist, Nancy can create one that applies to her team. She should also encourage the employees to report any incident of bullying in the workplace. To give them such courage, she will need to reassure them that they will be protected from the bullies. The bullies (most probably in leadership positions) should be given reasons as to why their behavior is not beneficial to the organization. For example, they could be informed that bullying harms the employees’ health and may have an impact on their loyalty and trust. Such employees are not motivated to work effectively and this would make them less productive.

Before attending the meeting, it would be necessary to inquire from the staff whether they would be willing to participate in the process of policymaking. Their level of participation would be an indicator of their readiness to adopt the concept of shared governance. It would also be important to know their thoughts about the current number of working hours as compared to the previous 8-hour shift. It would be important to share with the staff some of the findings of the research conducted to determine the viability of the 8-hour shift as opposed to the current shift. The results indicated that the patients were less satisfied with the nurse’s services and more medical errors occurred after nurses had worked more than eight hours. The nurses would need to suggest some of the possible causes of these errors. Getting the correct number of nurses who are in favor or against the 8-hour shift would also be necessary before going to the meeting. This would give the nurses’ opinions since they are part of the decision-making process.

For the team members to understand the role of shared governance, they should be informed that nurses also have control over their practice. They should be involved in the provision of expert information to exert influence over the choices that influence their practice. Many nurse leaders have struggled to achieve shared governance but to no avail. However, it is attainable. It is also important to inform them that for nursing to be effective, it must not follow the traditional hierarchical structure. Instead, it should be transformed into one that is empowering and inclusive. The nurses should be made to understand that this structure of practice should be designed in such a way that it fits the culture of that hospital.

Nurses should be informed that nurse executives and other individuals in leadership positions usually spend a lot of time as they try to find a solution to the challenges they face regarding health care and its administration. Therefore, there is usually a need to adopt governance models that would aid in such issues. Nurses should be accountable for what they do in their place of work. This would pave the way towards empowerment as they become involved in governance. Some nurses are resistant to change and may not accept empowerment. The root causes of this must be established by management to understand how to change the culture and transform their way of thinking. Therefore, the capacity of nurses in leadership roles should be developed. This would set the stage for the success of shared governance.

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Nurses would also be informed that studies have proved that shared governance is positively associated with empowerment (Barden, Quinn, Donabue, & Fitzpatrick, 2011). An increase in shared governance implies an increase in empowerment. Empowerment affects the nurses’ perceptions in various aspects. They become confident that they have access to opportunities, data, support, and the hospital’s resources. They would come to understand the importance of shared governance as a decision-making and communication tool. Shared governance creates a good working environment that would ensure employee (nurse) satisfaction. The nurses would also be empowered and this would ensure that they are an important part of the health care system.


Barden, A., Quinn, M., Donabue, M., & Fitzpatrick, J. (2011). Shared governance and empowerment in registered nurses working in a hospital setting. Nurs Admin Q, 35(3), 212-218.

McCarthy, A. (2013). Workplace bullying. Australian Nursing Journal, 20(7), 1-21.

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