The worse you behave, the more you seem to be rewarded!: bullying in nursing as organizational corruption

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Hutchinson, M, Vickers, MH, Jackson, D & Wilkes, L 2006, 'The worse you behave, the more you seem to be rewarded!: bullying in nursing as organizational corruption', Proceedings of APROS 11: Asia Pacific Researchers in Organisation Studies: 11th International Colloquium, Melbourne, Vic., 4-7 December, Asia-Pacific Reasearchers in Organisation Studies, Melbourne, Vic. APROS, pp. 447-487.


This paper reports findings from the first, qualitative stage of a large national study of bullying in the Australian nursing workplace.1 The stories reported demonstrate bullying as corrupt practice. The forms of corruption revealed include: the misuse of power, deals being struck, nepotism, and professional misconduct. Corruption in organizations has not previously been linked with or compared to bullying. By exploring bullying as corrupt behaviour this paper challenges the commonly held assumption that bullying can be principally considered as discrete, isolated events that result from the behavior of deviant individuals, organizational pressures, or poor work design. Instead, the narratives reported will reveal the manner in which established relationships and processes between bullies enabled behavior that was predatory, co-operative, and planned, with corrupt activities hidden within legitimate organizational procedures. These findings reveal the dynamics of institutional power relations, and the manner in which actors can engage in corrupt conduct that includes bullying, providing important implications for the management of workplace bullying and further research in this field.