Workplace Violence and Abuse Research Team

Workplace Bullying

Towards a Respectful Workplace (team website)

Its initial (2004) study, conducted in the form of three learning circles with individuals who self-identified as having been victimized at work, allowed the team to gain insights into New Brunswickers' experiences of bullying, intimidation, victimization, aggression, and other forms of violence and abuse in their workplaces. At this early stage, individual, group, and organizational remedies began to emerge. Findings of this phase of the team's work were summarized in a research report, of which both academic and plain-language versions are available.

From this starting point, the team identified the need to understand the issue from the vantage point of organizational stakeholders, including business owners, CEO's, senior managers, human resource personnel, EFAP staff, and union representatives. During 2005-06, the team sought and received approval from the University Research Ethics Committee and funding from the National Crime Prevention Strategy ($75,718) to carry out this second phase of its work. Through key informant interviews, the team will examine perceptions, successful practices, and areas which continue to present challenges. Through learning circles, potential solutions will be explored, and some of these will be tested through pilot projects undertaken by some of the participating organizations. An electronic listserv will provide ongoing support to participating organizations. The team hopes to emerge with a clearer sense of effective practices (prevention, intervention, and postvention), and with insights into the process of building and sustaining organizational commitment to change. A brochure describing this phase of the team's work is available.

The team is interested in exchanging information with other researchers working in related areas of interest. As a first step in this dialogue process, in January 2005, its members met with three researchers from the UNB psychology department who were engaged in related studies; one of them has since joined the team's advisory committee. A listserv for practitioners and researchers in the field of workplace bullying is currently being developed.

Dissemination of the team's early findings has continued during 2005-06. A presentation was made at the Advances in Qualitative Methods conference in Edmonton in February 2005 about the method of learning circles used in this research. In March, 2005, the research report of this study was completed, and two related articles have been published in Issues in Mental Health Nursing. Also in March 2005, a discussion forum on workplace bullying was co-facilitated by Marilyn Noble and Frema Engel at Beyond the Rhetoric, a national conference on bullying held in Ottawa. In November 2005, the team's work was presented at a research day hosted by the MMFC. Workshops on workplace bullying have been facilitated for staff at River Valley Health (April 2005), the New Brunswick Association of Employee Assistance Programs (April 2006), the New Brunswick High School Council of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association (May 2006), and the Atlantic Coordinating Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety (June 2006).

September 6-12, 2010 was proclaimed by the City of Fredericton as Respectful Workplace Week.

Research Team Members

  • Sue O'Donnell, Academic Co-Chair, Faculty of Nursing, University of New Brunswick
  • Anthea Plummer, Community Co-Chair, Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network
  • Wendy Johnston, Equality Representative, CUPE Maritimes
  • Dr. Judy MacIntosh, Faculty of Nursing, University of New Brunswick
  • Suzanne Maltais, Education, Research and Policy Officer, New Brunswick Nurses Union
  • Lindsay Manuel, Violence Prevention Initiatives, Women's Equality Branch
  • Brenda Moore, Learning Advisor, Learning Centre, Canadian Forces Base, Gagetown
  • Shelley Parker, NB Power, PhD (c) Psychology, University of New Brunswick
  • Wayne Walsh, P. Eng., Digital Earth Geomatics, President/CEO
  • Tracy Houlding, Family Enrichment and Counselling Services
  • Bill Patrick, NB College Craft and Design