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Lege Artis Medicinae

AUGUST 30, 2018

[Mobbing and bullying among physicians - when colleagues become enemies]

KAPOCSI Erzsébet

[Workplace mistreatment, mobbing, bully-ing, or psychoterror has become a prioritised field of research in social sciences in the past two-three decades. Mobbing means more than a simple conflict situation between two individuals; it is a complex problem that could and should be investigated in various individual and organisational contexts. In spite of its large-scale theoretical and empirical research, the phenomenon still does not have a uniform definition; it is most commonly de-scribed via its social manifestations. Although the interpersonal constellation of mobbing is diverse, its trigger factors, stages and participants show similar patterns. The description and the evaluation of consequences is also uniform in the literature: workplace mobbing is accompanied by considerable health impairment, and it has severe psychosomatic and mental health effects on both the targeted individuals and the whole community. The latter group has to deal with poor performance, impaired morale and dissatisfaction. All these factors add up and lead to significant financial damage as well. The prevalence of mobbing is especially high in health care. Hierarchy, continuous overload, as well as emotional and physical stress all favour the development of mobbing. In turn, the professional-social culture of medicine that is based on traditions contributes to its acceptance, understatement and denial. The first time medical students have to face psychoterror is typically during their university years. The positive aspects of socialisation and finding their vocation cannot always compensate for the negative experiences. The model role of physicians, their behaviour towards colleagues and students can be protective, but it can also trigger further mobbing. Prevention is essential both at the organisational and individual level, and it requires complex measures whose effect will only be felt in the long term. ]