Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Descriptors of Other Concepts Related to Interpersonal Conflict

 • Bullying: a constellation of repeated acts by one or more individuals, undertaken with an intention to cause harm and create a hostile work. It is a form of intentional workplace behaviour that is abusive, often subtle or hidden, and intensely harmful. Bullying is publicly belittling or finding fault with others; it is inherently societal and organizational, in that bullies may be supported by the workplace culture
• Workplace Incivility is a form of organizational deviance, characterized by behaviours that violate respectful workplace norms. Uncivil behaviours are characteristically rude and discourteous displaying a lack of regard for others. Examples include insulting comments, insensitive actions, unintentional slights, denigration of a colleague’s work, and spreading false rumors
• Horizontal violence embodies an understanding of how oppressed groups direct their frustrations and dissatisfactions towards each other as a response to a system that has excluded them from power. It commonly takes the form of psychological harassment, which creates hostility, as opposed to physical aggression. It involves verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, humiliation, excessive criticism, innuendo, and exclusion, denial of access to opportunity, disinterest, discouragement and the withholding of information. It can result in absenteeism and intentions to leave the nursing profession.
• Ostracism refers to the experience of feeling ignored, left out or excluded by coworkers. Examples of ostracism are ignoring individuals, ‘silent treatment’, and not being invited to social events. Ostracism is covert, silent and often invisible. It reflects the absence of behaviour and represents mistreatment that is not verbally communicated; nonetheless, it disengages the target from the social context and takes away all forms of interaction, essentially removing any resemblance of belonging to the social context or connection to others.