Mobbing in the workplace by peers and managers: mobbing experienced by nurses working in healthcare facilities in Turkey and its effect on nurses

J Clin Nurs. 2007 Aug;16(8):1444-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2006.01814.x.


Aim: This research was conducted as a descriptive and cross-sectional study with the purpose of determining the mobbing experienced by nurses who work in healthcare facilities in Turkey, its emotional, social and physiological effects on the nurses and the actions that the individuals take to escape from the mobbing.

Background: The term 'mobbing', which includes workplace terrorizing, pressure, frightening, belittling and psycho-terror, is defined as the presence of systematic, directed, unethical communication and antagonistic behaviour by one or more individuals. These actions that occur frequently and continue for a long time are the most serious and effective causes of workplace stress. The person who is the target of the mobbing is left without help, without protection and alone in the workplace. Individuals who are exposed to psychological abuse experience physiological, psychological and social problems that are related to high levels of stress and anxiety.

Design and method: The research participants were 505 nurses of whom 325 (64%) worked in public and 180 (36%) in private hospitals. All of the participants were female. A questionnaire developed by the researchers in the light of information in the literature was used for data collection and had four sections including the participants' demographic characteristics and questions asking about mobbing behaviours, reaction to mobbing incidents and actions taken to escape from the mobbing. The data were collected between October and December 2005 by giving an envelope to the participants and then collecting the responses in the closed envelope.

Findings: The overwhelming majority (86.5%) of the nurses participating in the research reported facing mobbing behaviour in the workplace in the last 12 months. The nurses working at private hospitals faced statistically significantly more mobbing behaviours than those at public hospitals (p<or=0.02). It was determined that the nurses who faced mobbing behaviours gave various physiological, emotional and social reactions to these incidents. The most common behaviours exhibited by the participants to escape mobbing was 'to work harder and be more organized' and 'to work more carefully to avoid criticism'. In addition 10% of the participants stated that they 'consider committing suicide sometimes.'

Relevance to clinical practice: Mobbing behaviours in the workplace need to be defined and appropriate policies and procedures need to be developed and shared with all employees to prevent the development of these behaviours. In addition, managers should adopt an open managerial approach to prevent the development of these behaviours.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Agonistic Behavior*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Burnout, Professional / etiology
  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Hospitals, Private
  • Hospitals, Public
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Nurse Administrators / organization & administration
  • Nurse Administrators / psychology
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Occupational Health
  • Organizational Culture
  • Peer Group
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Turkey
  • Violence / prevention & control
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Workplace / organization & administration
  • Workplace / psychology*