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Workplace Bullying Prevention: A Critical Discourse Analysis
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    To analyze the discourses of workplace bullying prevention of hospital nursing unit managers and in the official documents of the organizations where they worked.


    Workplace bullying can be a self-perpetuating problem in nursing units. As such, efforts to prevent this behavior may be more effective than efforts to stop the behavior. There is limited research on how healthcare organizations characterize their efforts to prevent workplace bullying.


    This was a qualitative study.


    Critical discourse analysis and Foucault’s writings on governmentality and discipline were used to analyze data from interviews with hospital nursing unit managers (n=15) and organizational documents (n=22). Data were collected in 2012.


    The discourse of workplace bullying prevention centered around three themes: prevention of workplace bullying through managerial presence, normalizing behaviors and controlling behaviors. All three are individual level discourses of workplace bullying prevention.


    Current research indicates that workplace bullying is a complex issue with antecedents at the individual, departmental and organizational level. However, the discourse of the participants in this study only focused on prevention of bullying by moulding the behaviors of individuals. The effective prevention of workplace bullying will require departmental and organizational initiatives. Leaders in all types of organizations can use the results of this study to examine their organizations’ discourses of workplace bullying prevention to determine where change is needed.

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