Negative behaviours in the workplace: A study of two primary care trusts in the NHS

Bernard Burnes, Rachael Pope

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to the need to treat negative workplace behaviours which are not perceived as bullying as seriously as those which are. The paper also aims to examine whether or not the National Health Service (NHS) appears to experience a higher level of negative behaviour than private sector organisations and whether lower frequency behaviour has similar levels of effect as higher frequency behaviour. Design/methodology/approach - A mixed-method approach is used whereby a mainly quantitative questionnaire is complemented by the inclusion of qualitative questions and the collection of qualitative data collected within the two NHS Trusts concerned. Findings - The evidence collected draws attention to the considerable impact that workplace incivility, which may or may not be classed as bullying, has on the well-being of employees and the effectiveness of organisations. Where aggression is present, the levels of effect are shown to be higher and the behaviour is always classed as bullying. The evidence also shows that the NHS does appear to experience a higher level of negative behaviour than private sector organisations, and that lower frequency behaviour does indeed appear to have similar levels of effect as higher frequency behaviour. Originality/value - This article shows that the focus placed by many researchers and organisations on countering/eliminating behaviour purely perceived as bullying is unlikely to be effective unless they also adopt a similar approach to the full range of negative behaviours that employees experience/witness in organisations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)285-303
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Public Sector Management
    Volume20
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Keywords

    • Bullying
    • Employee behaviour
    • National Health Service
    • National Health Trusts
    • United Kingdom
    • Workplace

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