The prevalence of coworker conflict including bullying in a unionized U.S. public sector workforce

Jane Lipscomb, Matt London, Kate M. McPhaul, Mazen El Ghaziri, Alyson Lydecker, Jeanne Geiger-Brown, Jeffrey V. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Workplace violence is an enormous problem worldwide; incidents where the perpetrator is a current or former employee are an important dimension. This large cross-sectional survey examined the prevalence of this problem among a U.S. state government unionized public sector workforce. Using participatory action research methods, we conducted a web-based survey of members of that workforce from a single northeast U.S. state, receiving 11,874 completed surveys (response rate: 71.8%). Overall, 10.0% of the respondents indicated that they had been bullied at work during the prior 6 months, with 71.9% of those who reported regular bullying identifying the perpetrator as a supervisor and/or top management. The prevalence of bullying was similar to the rates reported in Europe and Scandinavia (5%-30%). Those reports also identified the person(s) responsible for the behavior as being predominantly of higher status within the organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)813-829
Number of pages17
JournalViolence and victims
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015


  • Type III workplace violence
  • emotional abuse
  • negatives acts
  • participatory action research
  • workplace bullying

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • Law


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