Workplace bullying in the Australian health context: a systematic review

Sharlene Chadwick, Joanne Travaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: During the past decade, there has been increased attention into bullying behaviours in workplaces. Research to date has varied in design, the definition of what constitutes bullying behaviour, as well as the methods used to collect data and measure bullying incidence and prevalence. Nonetheless, studies demonstrate that bullying is a significant issue, which warrants an increased research focus to develop greater understanding of the concept, its effects and implications in, and for, the workplace. The purpose of this paper is to focus on capturing a range of international and Australian literature regarding workplace bullying behaviours in a health context from a management perspective. As a result, this paper identified the gaps in the literature when expanded specifically to an Australian health context.

Design/methodology/approach: The purpose of this review is to summarise the existing literature, both internationally and in Australia which examines workplace bullying behaviours in a health context from a management perspective. This describes the review of the literature on workplace bullying in a health context undertaken from January to April 2014. The “Preferred Reporting Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses” method was used to structure the review, which covered a wide range of literature from databases including MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL and InformIT, as well as reports, and grey literature.

Findings: The review included 62 studies that met the inclusion criteria and reported either: factors contributing to workplace bullying, at least one significant example of workplace bullying behaviour or the impact of workplace bullying behaviours in a health context.

Originality/value: There is limited data on workplace bullying behaviours in an Australian health context. The literature supports there is value in future research to develop consistent definitions, policies, procedures and frameworks, which could help to prevent or address workplace bullying behaviours based on work being undertaken internationally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-301
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Health, Organisation and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • bullying
  • bullying behaviours
  • health managers
  • workplace bullying
  • workplace harassment

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