270781 Prevalence of Coworker Conflict, including Bullying, in the U.S. Public Sector Workforce

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jane Lipscomb, PhD, RN , School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Matt London, MS , Health and Safety Department, NYS PEF, Albany, NY
Mazen El Ghaziri, MPH, BSN, RN , School of Nursing -Work and Health Research Center-, University of Maryland Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Kate McPhaul, PhD, MPH, RN , Community and Public Health Nursing, University of Maryland Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Background: Workplace violence, regardless of the setting and the perpetrator, is an enormous problem worldwide. A widespread and costly segment of this problem include those actions which are perpetrated by a current or former fellow employee, so-called Type III violence in the U.S. The University of Maryland, with support from NIOSH, undertook a study to measure the prevalence of coworker conflict in a large public sector workforce.

Methods: A cross-sectional web-based survey of coworker conflict was conducted in 2009. We describe the prevalence of coworker conflict by demographic category, by the position of the person responsible for the behavior, and the self-reported impact of behaviors on the worker and organization.

Results: A total of 12,546 completed surveys were received, for an overall response rate of 72%. Overall, 10% of the respondents indicated that they had been bullied at work during the prior six months. Among those reporting weekly bullying, a coworker was identified as the perpetrator of the behavior by only 14.4%, while 77.1% of those who reported regular bullying, identified the perpetrator as a supervisor, top management or both. When asked to what extent the work conflict negatively impacted their work, them personally and their intention to remain in their current job, we found a clear dose response relationship across the measures of bullying with nearly 50% of subjects of weekly bullying reporting “'very much” for all three impacts

Conclusions: The problem of co-worker conflict is severe and widespread and consistent with estimates of the problem internationally.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the scope and impact of co-worker conflict, including bullying.

Keywords: Violence Prevention, Workplace Stressors

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI on the research described in this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 5083.0: Violence in the Workplace