Workplace bullying is particularly germane to healthcare because, as the study notes, it is "a prevalent phenomenon in the healthcare industry and nurses tend to have a greater likelihood of experiencing such harmful behaviors than other healthcare professionals. Furthermore, bullying in the healthcare industry is associated with a host of negative job-related and health-related outcomes."
The study's four authors, faculty members at the University of British Columbia, said their findings suggest that bullying violates the "deontic model of justice" which provokes a negative response regardless of the victim because the behavior violates accepted standards.
"We argue that working in an environment in which others are bullied will create a sense of moral uneasiness that will contribute to their own turnover intentions, regardless of whether one personally experiences bullying," the study said.
Nurses are more likely to empathize with a bullied colleague rather than with the abusive coworker or supervisor.