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qualitative research

Nursing Academic Administrators’ Lived
Experiences With Incivility and Bullying
From Faculty
Consequences and Outcomes Demanding Action
Kathleen B. LaSala, PhD, RN, PNP, CNE & Vicki Wilson, PhD, RN & Elizabeth Sprunk, PhD, RN, CNE

There are an increasing number of nursing academic administrators who identify themselves as victims of faculty incivility.
This study examined experiences that academic administrators encountered with faculty incivility using a phenomenological
research design. Three major themes emerged: faculty inappropriate behaviors, consequences of faculty behaviors on
administrator targets, and administrators call for action. Findings revealed that incivility had devastating effects on administrators
personally and professionally.

Keywords: academic administrators; bullying; incivility; nursing education; nursing faculty incivility; workplace

I
ncivility in the workplace has been identified as a problem
in the nursing education setting, including student-to-
student, student-to-faculty, faculty-to-student, faculty-to-

administrators, and administrators-to-faculty. The purpose of
this phenomenological study was to gain an understanding
of the experiences of and impact on nursing academic ad-
ministrators who encountered nursing faculty incivility.

Relevant Scholarship
Clark1 defined academic incivility as rude or disruptive be-
havior, which often results in psychological or physiological
distress for the victim and may progress into threatening sit-
uations. Incivility has been attributed to the competitive and
hierarchical nature of academia and stress from heavy work-
loads.2 Examples of behaviors included exclusion, lack of
support, rudeness, slurs, gossip and sharing falsehoods, verbal
and physical attacks, name calling, vulgarity, or profanity.2,3

Bullying, a related concept, is more than the disrespect of
incivility because it is intentional and focuses on particular
individuals or groups.4 Bullying includes an actual or per-
ceived sense of power of one over another.

5
Consequences

of incivility and bullying may be loss of work time and pro-

ductivity, loss of employees, decreases in feelings of team-
work, work avoidance, lower job motivation, health care
costs due to stress, legal costs from increased litigation, and
loss of revenue due to loss of staff, faculty, and students.6

Work environments where incivility and bullying are present
are detrimental to retention and recruitment of nursing ad-
ministrators, an academic area that is already experiencing a
significant shortage.

2
In addition, these work environments

may represent a systemic issue negatively affecting the over-
all educational environment and relationships.7<10

Nursing incivility and bullying are reported in the liter-
ature in both practice and educational settings. There is limited
information, however, describing the consequences of inci-
vility and bullying of nursing academic administrators and
the organization. Therefore, there is a need for research to
explore these negative lived experiences through the eyes of
nursing academic administrators.

Purpose
The purpose of the study was to understand the lived experi-
ences and consequences of incivility and bullying as described
by nursing academic administrators, thus guiding further re-
search on this topic and development of policies, procedures,
and interventions in the academic setting. The benefit gained
from the study was an image of the experience, described
by the individual participants, merged together to create a
shared meaning of incivility and bullying as well as the con-
sequences of these behaviors experienced by nursing aca-
demic administrators.

Method
A phenomenological research design was used for the study
through semistructured interviews. Three researchers collected
descriptive data from participants who experienced the

120 Volume 41 & Number 3 & May/June 2016 Nurse Educator

Nurse EducatorNurse Educator
Nurse Educator

Vol. 41, No. 3, pp. 120-124

Copyright * 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

Author Affiliations: Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor
(Dr LaSala), College of Nursing, University of South Carolina, Columbia;
Professor (Dr Wilson), University of Northern Colorado, School of Nursing,
Greeley; and Associate Program Chair and Associate Professor (Dr Sprunk),
Mercy College of Ohio, Toledo.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Correspondence: Dr LaSala, College of Nursing, University of South
Carolina, 1601 Greene St, Columbia, SC 29208 ([email protected]).
Accepted for publication: November 8, 2015
Published ahead of print: December 15, 2015
DOI: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000234

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

phenomenon of incivility and bullying by faculty as a nurs-
ing academic administrator (dean, director, associate dean,
chair, and/or department head). After institutional review
board approval was received from the principal investiga-
tor’s academic institution, the following steps were initiated.
Potential participants received an e-mail letter inviting them
to participate in the study along with a description of the
study and informed consent process. After the participant
responded to the e-mail invitation and informed consent, a
mutually agreeable location and time were arranged for an
interview, with telephone interviews as an option. Partici-
pants completed a 10-question demographic questionnaire,
and the researchers conducted hour-long audiotaped inter-
views. Each interview began with an open-ended statement
of ‘‘Tell me about your experience with incivility and bullying
in the workplace aimed at you in your nursing administrative
role.’’ Prompting was used to obtain clarification and depth.

Data Analysis Procedures
Demographic data were analyzed by distribution and fre-
quency for regional location, age, gender, marital status, years
in nursing education and academic administration, and em-
ployment. The audio-taped interviews were transcribed and
analyzed by each researcher. Colaizzi’s11 phenomenological
method was used to analyze the qualitative data. Significant
quotes related directly to the phenomenon of incivility and
bullying were highlighted, extracted, and numbered. For-
mulated meanings were created by making general restate-
ments of the significant statements extracted. Researchers met
to achieve consensus with theme clusters created, assigning
meanings into similar groups. The essence of the phenome-
non of nursing academic administrators’ experiences of inci-
vility and bullying was completed with a thorough analysis
of the exhaustive descriptions.

Participants
The target population was nursing academic administrators
who self-identified experiences with incivility and bullying
targeted against them in the workplace. A convenience, pur-
posive sample of 14 administrators from nationally accredited
nursing programs was obtained via an e-mailed letter with
snowball sampling, allowing others to be identified as poten-
tial participants. Demographic data revealed that the partici-
pants were from all regions of the United States, all female,
and primarily white with an average age of 59.4 years and
varying marital status. Participants were experienced nurse
educators with a mean of 26 years (range, 11-40 years) and
administrators, having served in this role for an average of
13.5 years (range, 3-30 years). Currently, 5 participants re-
mained in nursing academic administration (35%), 8 were no
longer in nursing academic administration (57%), and 2 had
left nursing education altogether (14%). One participant was
retired. All but 1 participant was from a baccalaureate or
higher degree educational program.

Results
Three main theme clusters emerged: faculty inappropriate
behaviors, consequences of faculty behaviors on administrator
targets, and administrators call for action. The Table outlines
the theme clusters and the behaviors/reactions associated
with each.

Faculty Inappropriate Behaviors
All participants described being subjected to inappropriate
behaviors from nursing faculty that violated the American
Nurses Association Code of Ethics.12 Behaviors ranged from
rude and disrespectful behaviors such as eye rolling and non-
verbal actions to verbal abuse, gossip, yelling, and violent
arguing. Excerpts from participant interviews included ‘‘[fa-
culty were] raising their voices and shouting at me’’ and ‘‘talk-
ing over me in meetings, using computers with backs turned
away, coming in late, having side conversations, and not-
engaging.’’ Another person stated: ‘‘There was nasty gossip,
snide remarks, and smirks.’’

Participants reported threatening and intimidating be-
haviors, including verbal and written threats, stalking, and
even shunning the individual. Examples of comments in-
cluded, ‘‘They told lies about what was said and done,’’ ‘‘She
was sending emails and letters with my name on them. I had
to get legal recourse,’’ ‘‘I would receive anonymous phone
calls of threats. Threatened to ruin my career or sue me,’’ and
‘‘One of the individuals told me that she dreamt she had
beaten me with a baseball bat.’’ Participants shared distress
over the false accusations and allegations made against them,
often without recourse for accountability or the opportunity
to respond. There was a belief that falsehoods that remained
unchallenged were possibly believed by others. Several
individuals shared that these situations made it difficult to
accomplish their work. Comments included, ‘‘She would go
around me to the provost, president, and even tried to con-
vince the state board of nursing,’’ ‘‘The faculty wrote untrue,
incorrect things in my evaluation, but there was no account-
ability for the truth,’’ and ‘‘Some of the issues they falsely
reported about were issues I had to address confidentially
and therefore could not share a rationale.’’

A distressing behavior identified by many was a ganging
up/mob behavior of specific faculty members. These were

Table. Theme Clusters and Behaviors/Reactions

Theme Cluster Behaviors/Reactions

Faculty inappropriate behaviors Rude and disrespectful
Threatening and intimidating behaviors
False accusations and allegations
Ganging/mob behaviors
Purposeful sabotage
Manipulation
Passive-aggressive behaviors

Consequences of faculty
behaviors on administrator
targets

Impact on professional relationships
Tarnished reputation
Lack of support from others
Harm to physical health
Harm to psychological health
and well-being

Negative impact on professional career
Administrators call for action Need for awareness and education

Need for organizational standards,
policies and expectations

Need for consequences for uncivil
behavior

Need for administrative action and support

Nurse Educator Volume 41 & Number 3 & May/June 2016 121

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

identified frequently as senior or tenured faculty who viewed
themselves in positions of power, were resistant to change,
or feared loss of control. Examples included, ‘‘Behavior was
tolerated and even encouraged because results got doneI
people left (up to 20)Ibut it was tolerated,’’ ‘‘I worked in
a circle of powerful women—they did not want me,’’ and
‘‘There was a power differential (real or perceived)Ithey
were threatened by new people.’’ Participants also identified
behaviors including purposeful sabotage and manipulation,
some outright egregious and other behaviors more passive-
aggressive. Behaviors included not responding to e-mails or
requests, cancelling meetings, not following policies, not
putting items on the agenda or refusing to address items on
the agenda, and often tabling items for future meetings to
delayed action.

Consequences of Faculty Behaviors on
Administrator Targets
Many of the participants felt that the incivility experience
had a negative impact on their professional relationships,
specifically sharing concepts of loss of trust, distancing one’s
self, strained relations, and lost confidence in interactions.
Respondents reported, ‘‘It has made me more leery,’’ ‘‘I had
no trust for senior faculty and a definite distrust of the people
that should have been my mentors. I had a lot of bitterness. I
had an edge to me,’’ and ‘‘I think for the faculty who knew
me well and respected me and what I was doing, it didn’t have
any effect, they were supportive. But other administrators
began to look at me, I think, a bit askance.’’

Administrators shared experiences of seeking support
from higher administration, sharing the details when it oc-
curred. An equal counterpoint to receiving support was a
feeling of frustration and abandonment when support was
withheld or the situation was ignored. Concern existed that
institutions did not have policies, procedures, or a willingness
to deal with incivility issues. ‘‘Extreme behaviors were tol-
erated by the university and had been for years. Human Re-
sources personnel say they provide you with an opportunity
to address conflict and issues, when in reality they don’t do
anythingIthey tolerated the bad behaviors and allowed
people who were trying to change and challenge that bad
behavior to be dismissed because they become the ones con-
sidered disruptive.’’ Administrators often found themselves
as the scapegoats for the institution being blamed or ignored
in the face of challenges.

All participants revealed negative physical and psycho-
logical outcomes of the incivility experience. Consequences
ranged from mild stress symptoms to major depression, chest
pain, and cardiac problems. Example comments included,
‘‘My blood pressure was upII wasn’t sleeping, I was losing
weight, just on edge, paranoid,’’ ‘‘I didn’t have the energy to
take care of myself because of the stress at work was so
high,’’ and ‘‘I had nightmares, I physically withdrew. I didn’t
want to be near anyoneII felt physically nauseous, almost
anxiety ridden during faculty meetings.’’ The impact was
detrimental to their health and mental well-being. Several
required medication and hospitalization.

In addition to physical and emotional consequences,
participants also shared how incivility had an impact on their
professional careers. They reported questioning their desire
to be in nursing academic administration and education and

the need to move on to other positions. More than half of the
participants left academic administration, and several left
nursing education altogether. Individuals reported threats and
actual harm to their reputation and credibility. Individuals
sabotaged their efforts to do their work after they went to
faculty roles or tried to assume positions elsewhere. For
example, an administrator asserted, ‘‘I think it was the be-
ginning of my wondering whether I really needed to stay
in administration’’ and ‘‘After I left, people were send-
ing information outside of the institution to purposely destroy
meIthey tried to block my career opportunities. I am think-
ing about whether I want to venture back into the world of
academic administrationIit has been a pretty wounding ex-
perience, and the abuse has been none that I could have
ever envisioned undergoing.’’ Leaders described the incred-
ible amount of time incivility issues took away from getting
the work done, lost work time due to defending themselves,
even litigation costs and the financial and emotional costs of
having to relocate their lives. A few individuals reported the
incivility prodded them to move on, and they found much
satisfaction in a new role and place. One participant stated,
‘‘I left the institution. The positive side of that is it made me
carefully evaluate the new leadership opportunities, carefully
evaluating the players involved and a place that values inte-
grity. I think it shapes how I want to be as a leader.’’

Administrators Call for Action
The final theme voiced by all participants was a call to action
to deal with incivility and bullying. This call included a need
for awareness, education, and identification of incivility and
organizational standards, policies, and a commitment from all
levels of administration to address incivility behaviors. One
participant summarized it clearly, ‘‘Don’t tolerate bad behav-
ior. We must have courage to stand up and be an advocate
for ourselves and others. Culture standards and expectations
must be in place.’’ Another called for actions similar to those
used in her Magnet designated institution. She stated,

Adopt the practices we now use in hospital administra-
tion, we have policies that address incivility, we have a
just culture, which is a specific approach to how you
work with people with set expectations for behaviors. If
one deviates from what is acceptable, the behavior is
called out; it is identified and dealt with in a prescribed
mannerI. It is an organizational commitment to the
expectation that is standard. This is something I never
had in academia.

There was unanimous agreement with this call for action
from the administrators.

Discussion
Study findings were consistent with the definition and expe-
riences of incivility and bullying addressed in the literature.
Administrators described experiences of being exposed to
inappropriate behaviors and actions, threats and intimida-
tion, shunning and isolation, false accusations and allegations,
ganging/mobbing behaviors, purposeful sabotage/manipulation,
and passive aggressive activities. In studies examining faculty-
to-faculty interactions, participants reported more senior or
tenured faculty bullying,13 reflecting a differentiation in power
of the more senior members.

5
Even when the administrator

122 Volume 41 & Number 3 & May/June 2016 Nurse Educator

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

occupied an assumed higher position, participants reported
ganging up/mobbing by more senior faculty who felt their
power status was threatened. There seemed to be a sense of
power in numbers that may supersede the power of position
or rank.

Mobbing behaviors, defined as a process of systematic
and repeated aggression toward someone,14 were associated
with stress and negatively associated with group support and
group identity. The literature referred to perceived stress in
nursing practice and education as a primary factor associated
with academic incivility.2 Incivility increased when levels of
stress were high and opportunities to resolve conflict were
missed avoided or poorly managed.13 Participants identified
change and workload as stressors indicating that individuals
did not want things to change and were not happy with ad-
ministrators who tried to alter the status quo or workload.
Poor or inappropriate communication was another consis-
tent finding in which administrators identified uncivil faculty
members as those who were resistant to change and unyield-
ing or unwilling to negotiate.13

Participants identified behaviors that paralleled those in
the literature, including overt rude or disruptive behavior,
hazing, intimidation, unsupportive, setting up others to fail,
exerting superiority or rank over others, refusing to listen or
communicate, gossip and passive-aggressive behaviors, and
engaging in clandestine meetings.13 They also found that when
incivility and bullying were ignored, the problems expanded.

Dzurec and Bromley
15

explained that victims of more
subtle incivility and bullying can usually provide descriptions
of the event but are less able to define the significance of
what happened to them, which was clearly evident in this
study. The individuals responsible for these negative behav-
iors continued to feel control and power for themselves. As
the behaviors continued, incivility and bullying became a
tolerated norm for the workplace. Without the language to
define the behaviors experienced, the victims themselves
were often seen as the ones who cannot manage the situa-
tion or communicate with difficult people.

16
The victim of

the behavior can become the scapegoat when the organiza-
tional structure chooses not to address the issue,15,17 result-
ing in dysfunction at the individual and organizational levels.
When incivility has gone unaddressed over time and becomes
a cultural workplace norm,15 it is defined as a toxic work-
place. Sadly, in these environments, productivity is often stifled,
morale is low, and retention becomes a problem.2,18 The
themes found in this study supported the literature that con-
cluded that cultures of incivility existed, were propagated by
those who had learned these behaviors in their workplace,
and flourished when ignored; many of the administrators
found themselves as the organizational scapegoats.

Heinrich
18

reported that the impact of incivility in the
workplace included loss of work, work avoidance, lower job
motivation, health care issues and costs, and retention issues.
Incivility negatively affected the overall education environ-
ment and relationships10 and resulted in feelings of betrayal
and shame in the victim.16 The study participants reported
similar consequences of faculty incivility and bullying, includ-
ing negative impacts on professional relationships, reputa-
tions, and professional careers. The most alarming finding in
the study revealed that only 35.7% of the participants re-
mained in nursing academic administration.

The cost of incivility not only affects administrators per-
sonally and professionally but also has an impact on the en-
tire academic environment and profession. Nursing leaders
who choose to step down because of incivility in the work-
place or are bullied out of administrative roles leave a void
that is not easily filled.

The financial impact on the institution of higher edu-
cation when an administrator leaves can be viewed from
2 perspectives. First, there might be exit costs, including a
negotiated exit package to include moving costs, severance
pay, health insurance, and unused vacation payout required
for the employer to pay. Litigation costs also might be an
expense for both the employer and ex-employee, as was
identified by participants in the study. Second, replacing a
dean or director of nursing is expensive. Nationally, it is es-
timated that roughly $150,000 to $200,000 salary dollars is
required to advertise, recruit, hire, and relocate a new dean
or director. Although expensive, some employers also hire a
search firm because of the shortage of nursing academic
administrators.

There also is a loss of productivity for the institution
during a transition period of administrators, which may be
an intentional or unintentional consequence of a leadership
change. Research findings indicated that 68% of faculty re-
ported incivility in their units, including resisting change, fail-
ing to perform job requirements, poor communication related
to work issues, and negative comments and behaviors.19 As
reported by the participants, frequently a major issue was the
faculty’s desire not to change. Once a new leader is found,
there is always a period of establishing an agenda, determin-
ing actions, and developing academic relationships to move
the agenda forward. These activities can take a year or more
depending on how long the search process endured. In an
environment of incivility, the productivity of the workplace is
already hampered and may decrease more during transition.

Experts encourage nurse leaders to manage the environ-
ment by acknowledging incivility and bullying behaviors,
establishing education and interventions to support a trust-
ing workplace, and developing a zero tolerance for negative
behaviors.5 Education should include conflict resolution, prob-
lem solving, open communication, collaboration, and team-
work. In some cases, nurse leaders ignore negative behaviors
because of their inability to deal with the behaviors. A positive
workplace environment must be restored through group in-
tervention and ownership of establishing a safe and sup-
portive workplace. The participants all suggested that the
profession needs to deal with this issue, calling for leaders to
‘‘label it [the behavior], call it out [identify when incivility and
bullying occur], address it [counsel the individual], develop a
no tolerance policy/culture, and have consequences [required
education, remediation, and dismissal if necessary].’’ Most
notably was a call for a change in academic organizational cul-
ture and a support system for nursing academic administrators.

Absent from the study findings was a personal call to
action. Most participants did not identify their role in man-
aging the behavior and environment. Transformational change
led by strong leaders using shared governance has resulted in
successful redesign and shaping of healthy organizational cul-
ture in nursing education.20 Experts recommended starting
with a culture/climate assessment to help identify areas of strength,
concerns, and general perceptions of the organizational

Nurse Educator Volume 41 & Number 3 & May/June 2016 123

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

culture.21 An organizational unit’s shared commitment to a
culture of civility is essential. Another measure to help provide
skills to deal with incivility include cognitive rehearsal, an
intervention that allows individuals to acquire the skill set
necessary to address incivility in a safe environment through
role playing.22 Workshops can engage team members in a con-
versation and help develop civility contracts and establish norms
for behaviors.9 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation developed
a toolkit to help guide individuals and institutions to estab-
lish cultures of civility. Respectful conversations for difficult
situations, managing difficult conversations, incivility and bully-
ing code words, and the language of collaboration are topics in
the toolkit.23 Finally, the American Nurses Association24 has
developed a toolkit for communication and collaboration
that focuses on factors for developing healthy interactions.

Implications for Nursing Education
and Administration
This study calls for courage from nursing leaders and aca-
demic institutions to establish a shared vision and culture of
civility, with specific expectations, policies, and consequences
for behaviors, and to provide ongoing education to promote
positive behaviors.2 This change is more difficult in a setting
with an established negative culture but must be addressed.
Nursing academic administrators need backing of institutional
administration and policies. Otherwise, they are vulnerable
when they are alone in addressing incivility or become the
victims of negative behaviors. Everyone needs to practice
role modeling civility and reinforce positive behaviors.

Limitations
The study had several limitations. First, there are many nurse
academic administrators who were not part of this study,
some who may have had no experiences with incivility and
bullying and others who may have more or less severity of
experiences or may have been unwilling to ‘‘name’’ the issue.
Second, all participants were female; thus, the male percep-
tive is missing. Third, there was no significant ethnic diversity
in the sample to address any racial differences.

Conclusions
This study contributed unique information to the body of
knowledge on incivility and bullying in nursing education.
Specifically, nursing faculty incivility and bullying toward
academic administrators resulted in potentially devastating
effects on administrators’ health and emotional well-being,
professional relationships, career trajectory, and institutional
effectiveness. The problem requires that academic adminis-
trators proactively role model civil behaviors, develop organi-
zational policies and structures, and immediately manage
issues as they arise. In a time of critical faculty shortage and
financial challenges, the loss of qualified nursing administra-
tors is detrimental to the profession. Incivility and bullying
should be a component of nurse leadership programs to bet-
ter equip leaders with tools and skills to manage problems.
Finally, the authors call for compassion for our nursing aca-
demic leaders, who are willing to take on the challenge of
working with difficult situations.

References
1. Clark CM. Creating and Sustaining Civility in Nursing Education.

Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International; 2013.
2. Clark CM. National study on faculty-to-faculty incivility: strategies

to foster collegiality and civility. Nurs Educ. 2013;38(3):98-102.
3. Clark CM, Olender L, Kenski D, Cardoni C. Exploring and address-

ing faculty-to-faculty incivility: a national perspective and literature
review. J Nurs Educ. 2013;52(4):211-218.

4. Lachman VD. Ethical issues in the disruptive behaviors of inci-
vility, bullying, and horizontal/lateral violence. Urol Nurs. 2015;
35(1):39-42.

5. Roberts SJ. Lateral violence in nursing: a review of the past three
decades. Nurs Sci Q. 2015;28(1):36-41.

6. Heinrich KT. An optimist’s guide form …

Qualitative Grading Criteria

Grading Criteria

Possible Points

Student’s Score

I. Format

10

A. Title page that includes name, topic, course title, date, instructor.

1

B. Structure

1. Neatly typewritten

2. Spelling and grammar

3. Logical topic development

5

C. Length (3 page[s] not counting title page)

2

D. D.APA general formatting rules and citations throughout paper

2

II. Content

80

A. Summary of Article:

1. Examine the organization and presentation of the report

2. Complete, concise, clearly presented, and logically organized

3. Does not include excessive jargon that is difficult for students and practicing nurses to read

4. References are complete, current and consistent in forma

5. Authors have the educational and clinical credentials to conduct the study    

Remember, this is a critique of the research articleand the summary is a critique summary, not a summation of the author’s work.

20

B. Critique

Identification of report elements. Evaluate objectively, then explain how these elements from the chosen study meet (or do not meet) the expected definition and purpose of each element

1. Descriptive Vividness

2. Documentation of Participants

3. Methodological Congruence

4. Ethical Standards

5. Auditability

6. Analytical and Interpretive Preciseness

7. Philosophical / Theoretical Connectedness

8. Heuristic Relevance

A. Intuitive Recognition

B. Relationship to existing Body of Knowledge

C. Threats to Nursing

1. Practice

2. Research

3. Education

20

Discuss strengths and weaknesses of the research article. In this comparison and analysis phase of the critique, consider how the research elements relate to one another, particularly in reference to the stated research design. Here is a suggestion list of elements to consider. Reference your Research text also, as this is not an exhaustive list.

· is the research objective format at a comparable level to the stated design

· do the operational tools measure the concept

· do the data reflect the level of measurement necessary for the stated statistics used

· is the sampling method and plan style appropriate for the chosen research design

· has the author related the theoretical framework to concept variables, and outcomes

· is the problem heuristic to nursing, does the theoretical basis related to nursing concerns

· are limitations (both types) and biases addressed – can you identify possible concerns to generalizability

· validity and reliability of instruments / data : of outcomes due to uncontrolled threats

· does the author support the study rigor expected for the stated design

· are study variables – demographics, setting – controlled sufficiently for chosen research design

1. Specify examples

2. Justify your criticisms of these examples

3. Suggest research method alternatives

20

Implications. Explore implications of the study for –

1. Professional clinical practice

2. Further research (higher level, replication for changes in elements)

20

III. References

10

1. APA style

2. Article criteria: <5 years, nurse authored, peer reviewed

3. USA published

Total Points

100

APA format reference that you may use for free:

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

It is recommended that you upload your paper into Turnitin on D2L to check for plagiarism prior to submission to your professor. Also, to check for correct grammar, use the Grammar Tutor on D2L.

See next pages for description of evaluation criteria.

Use the following grid to guide your reading and analysis of the article:

STANDARDS/EVALUATION CRITERIA

Descriptive Vividness

1. Was the significance of the study adequately described?

2. Was the purpose of the study clearly described?

3. Were the interpretations presented in a descriptive way that illuminated more than the quotes did?

Documentation of Participants

1. Were the study participants described in detail?

2. Was the selection of participants reasonable? Was a rationale provided for participant selection?

3. Were the context and location of the study described with sufficient detail to determine if the findings are applicable to other settings?

Methodological Congruence

1. Were the assumptions underlying the study articulated? Were the assumptions and data collection procedures congruent?

2. Was adequate trust established with the participants? Was there an open dialog and conversational approach to data collection?

3. Were research questions articulated? Did the researcher ask questions that explore participants’ experiences, beliefs, values, or perceptions?

4. Was the data collection process adequately described?

5. Did the researcher spend sufficient time with participants gathering data? Did the researcher conduct multiple interviews?

6. Was the approach of multiple data collectors similar?

7. Was the method of selecting and gaining access to the study participants reasonable?

8. Was the role of the researcher during the interview process described? Were qualitative credentials and expertise of the researcher(s) described?

Ethical Standards

1. Were the participants informed of their rights?

2. Was informed consent obtained?

3. Were participants’ rights protected?

Auditability

1. Was the decision trail used in arriving at conclusions described in adequate detail? Can the findings be linked with the data?

2. Were enough participant quotes included to support the findings?

3. Were the data sufficiently rich to support the conclusions? Did the participants describe specific examples of the phenomenon being investigated?

Analytical and Interpretative Preciseness

1. Do the categories, themes, or findings present a whole picture? Did the findings yield a meaningful picture of the phenomenon under study?

2. Were the findings returned to participants or experts in the area?

3. Did two or more researchers participate in data analysis? How were disagreements about data analysis handled?

Philosophical/Theoretical Connectedness

1. Was a clear connection made between the data and nursing practice?

2. Did the researcher identify the philosophical or theoretical basis for the study? Were citations provided for the philosophical or theoretical approach used?

3. Was the philosophical or theoretical basis of the study consistent with the study assumptions, data collection process, and analysis and interpretative methods used? Were citations provided for the philosophical or theoretical approach used?

Heuristic Relevance:

Intuitive Recognition

1. Can the reader recognize the phenomenon described in the study?

2. Are the findings consistent with common meanings or experiences?

Relationship to Existing Body of Knowledge

1. Did the researcher adequately examine the existing body of knowledge?

2. Did the researcher compare and contrast the findings with those of other studies?

3. Did the researcher describe lacunae in current understandings that would account for unique findings?

Threats to Nursing a) Practice, b) Research, or c) Education

1. Are the findings relevant to nursing practice, research, or education?

2. Did the reader learn more than had been previously reported in the literature?

3. Do the findings have implications for related cases?

4. Are suggestions for further study identified?

Nursing Academic Administrators’ Lived
Experiences With Incivility and Bullying
From Faculty
Consequences and Outcomes Demanding Action
Kathleen B. LaSala, PhD, RN, PNP, CNE & Vicki Wilson, PhD, RN & Elizabeth Sprunk, PhD, RN, CNE

There are an increasing number of nursing academic administrators who identify themselves as victims of faculty incivility.
This study examined experiences that academic administrators encountered with faculty incivility using a phenomenological
research design. Three major themes emerged: faculty inappropriate behaviors, consequences of faculty behaviors on
administrator targets, and administrators call for action. Findings revealed that incivility had devastating effects on administrators
personally and professionally.

Keywords: academic administrators; bullying; incivility; nursing education; nursing faculty incivility; workplace

I
ncivility in the workplace has been identified as a problem
in the nursing education setting, including student-to-
student, student-to-faculty, faculty-to-student, faculty-to-

administrators, and administrators-to-faculty. The purpose of
this phenomenological study was to gain an understanding
of the experiences of and impact on nursing academic ad-
ministrators who encountered nursing faculty incivility.

Relevant Scholarship
Clark1 defined academic incivility as rude or disruptive be-
havior, which often results in psychological or physiological
distress for the victim and may progress into threatening sit-
uations. Incivility has been attributed to the competitive and
hierarchical nature of academia and stress from heavy work-
loads.2 Examples of behaviors included exclusion, lack of
support, rudeness, slurs, gossip and sharing falsehoods, verbal
and physical attacks, name calling, vulgarity, or profanity.2,3

Bullying, a related concept, is more than the disrespect of
incivility because it is intentional and focuses on particular
individuals or groups.4 Bullying includes an actual or per-
ceived sense of power of one over another.

5
Consequences

of incivility and bullying may be loss of work time and pro-

ductivity, loss of employees, decreases in feelings of team-
work, work avoidance, lower job motivation, health care
costs due to stress, legal costs from increased litigation, and
loss of revenue due to loss of staff, faculty, and students.6

Work environments where incivility and bullying are present
are detrimental to retention and recruitment of nursing ad-
ministrators, an academic area that is already experiencing a
significant shortage.

2
In addition, these work environments

may represent a systemic issue negatively affecting the over-
all educational environment and relationships.7<10

Nursing incivility and bullying are reported in the liter-
ature in both practice and educational settings. There is limited
information, however, describing the consequences of inci-
vility and bullying of nursing academic administrators and
the organization. Therefore, there is a need for research to
explore these negative lived experiences through the eyes of
nursing academic administrators.

Purpose
The purpose of the study was to understand the lived experi-
ences and consequences of incivility and bullying as described
by nursing academic administrators, thus guiding further re-
search on this topic and development of policies, procedures,
and interventions in the academic setting. The benefit gained
from the study was an image of the experience, described
by the individual participants, merged together to create a
shared meaning of incivility and bullying as well as the con-
sequences of these behaviors experienced by nursing aca-
demic administrators.

Method
A phenomenological research design was used for the study
through semistructured interviews. Three researchers collected
descriptive data from participants who experienced the

120 Volume 41 & Number 3 & May/June 2016 Nurse Educator

Nurse EducatorNurse Educator
Nurse Educator

Vol. 41, No. 3, pp. 120-124

Copyright * 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

Author Affiliations: Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor
(Dr LaSala), College of Nursing, University of South Carolina, Columbia;
Professor (Dr Wilson), University of Northern Colorado, School of Nursing,
Greeley; and Associate Program Chair and Associate Professor (Dr Sprunk),
Mercy College of Ohio, Toledo.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Correspondence: Dr LaSala, College of Nursing, University of South
Carolina, 1601 Greene St, Columbia, SC 29208 ([email protected]).
Accepted for publication: November 8, 2015
Published ahead of print: December 15, 2015
DOI: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000234

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

phenomenon of incivility and bullying by faculty as a nurs-
ing academic administrator (dean, director, associate dean,
chair, and/or department head). After institutional review
board approval was received from the principal investiga-
tor’s academic institution, the following steps were initiated.
Potential participants received an e-mail letter inviting them
to participate in the study along with a description of the
study and informed consent process. After the participant
responded to the e-mail invitation and informed consent, a
mutually agreeable location and time were arranged for an
interview, with telephone interviews as an option. Partici-
pants completed a 10-question demographic questionnaire,
and the researchers conducted hour-long audiotaped inter-
views. Each interview began with an open-ended statement
of ‘‘Tell me about your experience with incivility and bullying
in the workplace aimed at you in your nursing administrative
role.’’ Prompting was used to obtain clarification and depth.

Data Analysis Procedures
Demographic data were analyzed by distribution and fre-
quency for regional location, age, gender, marital status, years
in nursing education and academic administration, and em-
ployment. The audio-taped interviews were transcribed and
analyzed by each researcher. Colaizzi’s11 phenomenological
method was used to analyze the qualitative data. Significant
quotes related directly to the phenomenon of incivility and
bullying were highlighted, extracted, and numbered. For-
mulated meanings were created by making general restate-
ments of the significant statements extracted. Researchers met
to achieve consensus with theme clusters created, assigning
meanings into similar groups. The essence of the phenome-
non of nursing academic administrators’ experiences of inci-
vility and bullying was completed with a thorough analysis
of the exhaustive descriptions.

Participants
The target population was nursing academic administrators
who self-identified experiences with incivility and bullying
targeted against them in the workplace. A convenience, pur-
posive sample of 14 administrators from nationally accredited
nursing programs was obtained via an e-mailed letter with
snowball sampling, allowing others to be identified as poten-
tial participants. Demographic data revealed that the partici-
pants were from all regions of the United States, all female,
and primarily white with an average age of 59.4 years and
varying marital status. Participants were experienced nurse
educators with a mean of 26 years (range, 11-40 years) and
administrators, having served in this role for an average of
13.5 years (range, 3-30 years). Currently, 5 participants re-
mained in nursing academic administration (35%), 8 were no
longer in nursing academic administration (57%), and 2 had
left nursing education altogether (14%). One participant was
retired. All but 1 participant was from a baccalaureate or
higher degree educational program.

Results
Three main theme clusters emerged: faculty inappropriate
behaviors, consequences of faculty behaviors on administrator
targets, and administrators call for action. The Table outlines
the theme clusters and the behaviors/reactions associated
with each.

Faculty Inappropriate Behaviors
All participants described being subjected to inappropriate
behaviors from nursing faculty that violated the American
Nurses Association Code of Ethics.12 Behaviors ranged from
rude and disrespectful behaviors such as eye rolling and non-
verbal actions to verbal abuse, gossip, yelling, and violent
arguing. Excerpts from participant interviews included ‘‘[fa-
culty were] raising their voices and shouting at me’’ and ‘‘talk-
ing over me in meetings, using computers with backs turned
away, coming in late, having side conversations, and not-
engaging.’’ Another person stated: ‘‘There was nasty gossip,
snide remarks, and smirks.’’

Participants reported threatening and intimidating be-
haviors, including verbal and written threats, stalking, and
even shunning the individual. Examples of comments in-
cluded, ‘‘They told lies about what was said and done,’’ ‘‘She
was sending emails and letters with my name on them. I had
to get legal recourse,’’ ‘‘I would receive anonymous phone
calls of threats. Threatened to ruin my career or sue me,’’ and
‘‘One of the individuals told me that she dreamt she had
beaten me with a baseball bat.’’ Participants shared distress
over the false accusations and allegations made against them,
often without recourse for accountability or the opportunity
to respond. There was a belief that falsehoods that remained
unchallenged were possibly believed by others. Several
individuals shared that these situations made it difficult to
accomplish their work. Comments included, ‘‘She would go
around me to the provost, president, and even tried to con-
vince the state board of nursing,’’ ‘‘The faculty wrote untrue,
incorrect things in my evaluation, but there was no account-
ability for the truth,’’ and ‘‘Some of the issues they falsely
reported about were issues I had to address confidentially
and therefore could not share a rationale.’’

A distressing behavior identified by many was a ganging
up/mob behavior of specific faculty members. These were

Table. Theme Clusters and Behaviors/Reactions

Theme Cluster Behaviors/Reactions

Faculty inappropriate behaviors Rude and disrespectful
Threatening and intimidating behaviors
False accusations and allegations
Ganging/mob behaviors
Purposeful sabotage
Manipulation
Passive-aggressive behaviors

Consequences of faculty
behaviors on administrator
targets

Impact on professional relationships
Tarnished reputation
Lack of support from others
Harm to physical health
Harm to psychological health
and well-being

Negative impact on professional career
Administrators call for action Need for awareness and education

Need for organizational standards,
policies and expectations

Need for consequences for uncivil
behavior

Need for administrative action and support

Nurse Educator Volume 41 & Number 3 & May/June 2016 121

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

identified frequently as senior or tenured faculty who viewed
themselves in positions of power, were resistant to change,
or feared loss of control. Examples included, ‘‘Behavior was
tolerated and even encouraged because results got doneI
people left (up to 20)Ibut it was tolerated,’’ ‘‘I worked in
a circle of powerful women—they did not want me,’’ and
‘‘There was a power differential (real or perceived)Ithey
were threatened by new people.’’ Participants also identified
behaviors including purposeful sabotage and manipulation,
some outright egregious and other behaviors more passive-
aggressive. Behaviors included not responding to e-mails or
requests, cancelling meetings, not following policies, not
putting items on the agenda or refusing to address items on
the agenda, and often tabling items for future meetings to
delayed action.

Consequences of Faculty Behaviors on
Administrator Targets
Many of the participants felt that the incivility experience
had a negative impact on their professional relationships,
specifically sharing concepts of loss of trust, distancing one’s
self, strained relations, and lost confidence in interactions.
Respondents reported, ‘‘It has made me more leery,’’ ‘‘I had
no trust for senior faculty and a definite distrust of the people
that should have been my mentors. I had a lot of bitterness. I
had an edge to me,’’ and ‘‘I think for the faculty who knew
me well and respected me and what I was doing, it didn’t have
any effect, they were supportive. But other administrators
began to look at me, I think, a bit askance.’’

Administrators shared experiences of seeking support
from higher administration, sharing the details when it oc-
curred. An equal counterpoint to receiving support was a
feeling of frustration and abandonment when support was
withheld or the situation was ignored. Concern existed that
institutions did not have policies, procedures, or a willingness
to deal with incivility issues. ‘‘Extreme behaviors were tol-
erated by the university and had been for years. Human Re-
sources personnel say they provide you with an opportunity
to address conflict and issues, when in reality they don’t do
anythingIthey tolerated the bad behaviors and allowed
people who were trying to change and challenge that bad
behavior to be dismissed because they become the ones con-
sidered disruptive.’’ Administrators often found themselves
as the scapegoats for the institution being blamed or ignored
in the face of challenges.

All participants revealed negative physical and psycho-
logical outcomes of the incivility experience. Consequences
ranged from mild stress symptoms to major depression, chest
pain, and cardiac problems. Example comments included,
‘‘My blood pressure was upII wasn’t sleeping, I was losing
weight, just on edge, paranoid,’’ ‘‘I didn’t have the energy to
take care of myself because of the stress at work was so
high,’’ and ‘‘I had nightmares, I physically withdrew. I didn’t
want to be near anyoneII felt physically nauseous, almost
anxiety ridden during faculty meetings.’’ The impact was
detrimental to their health and mental well-being. Several
required medication and hospitalization.

In addition to physical and emotional consequences,
participants also shared how incivility had an impact on their
professional careers. They reported questioning their desire
to be in nursing academic administration and education and

the need to move on to other positions. More than half of the
participants left academic administration, and several left
nursing education altogether. Individuals reported threats and
actual harm to their reputation and credibility. Individuals
sabotaged their efforts to do their work after they went to
faculty roles or tried to assume positions elsewhere. For
example, an administrator asserted, ‘‘I think it was the be-
ginning of my wondering whether I really needed to stay
in administration’’ and ‘‘After I left, people were send-
ing information outside of the institution to purposely destroy
meIthey tried to block my career opportunities. I am think-
ing about whether I want to venture back into the world of
academic administrationIit has been a pretty wounding ex-
perience, and the abuse has been none that I could have
ever envisioned undergoing.’’ Leaders described the incred-
ible amount of time incivility issues took away from getting
the work done, lost work time due to defending themselves,
even litigation costs and the financial and emotional costs of
having to relocate their lives. A few individuals reported the
incivility prodded them to move on, and they found much
satisfaction in a new role and place. One participant stated,
‘‘I left the institution. The positive side of that is it made me
carefully evaluate the new leadership opportunities, carefully
evaluating the players involved and a place that values inte-
grity. I think it shapes how I want to be as a leader.’’

Administrators Call for Action
The final theme voiced by all participants was a call to action
to deal with incivility and bullying. This call included a need
for awareness, education, and identification of incivility and
organizational standards, policies, and a commitment from all
levels of administration to address incivility behaviors. One
participant summarized it clearly, ‘‘Don’t tolerate bad behav-
ior. We must have courage to stand up and be an advocate
for ourselves and others. Culture standards and expectations
must be in place.’’ Another called for actions similar to those
used in her Magnet designated institution. She stated,

Adopt the practices we now use in hospital administra-
tion, we have policies that address incivility, we have a
just culture, which is a specific approach to how you
work with people with set expectations for behaviors. If
one deviates from what is acceptable, the behavior is
called out; it is identified and dealt with in a prescribed
mannerI. It is an organizational commitment to the
expectation that is standard. This is something I never
had in academia.

There was unanimous agreement with this call for action
from the administrators.

Discussion
Study findings were consistent with the definition and expe-
riences of incivility and bullying addressed in the literature.
Administrators described experiences of being exposed to
inappropriate behaviors and actions, threats and intimida-
tion, shunning and isolation, false accusations and allegations,
ganging/mobbing behaviors, purposeful sabotage/manipulation,
and passive aggressive activities. In studies examining faculty-
to-faculty interactions, participants reported more senior or
tenured faculty bullying,13 reflecting a differentiation in power
of the more senior members.

5
Even when the administrator

122 Volume 41 & Number 3 & May/June 2016 Nurse Educator

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

occupied an assumed higher position, participants reported
ganging up/mobbing by more senior faculty who felt their
power status was threatened. There seemed to be a sense of
power in numbers that may supersede the power of position
or rank.

Mobbing behaviors, defined as a process of systematic
and repeated aggression toward someone,14 were associated
with stress and negatively associated with group support and
group identity. The literature referred to perceived stress in
nursing practice and education as a primary factor associated
with academic incivility.2 Incivility increased when levels of
stress were high and opportunities to resolve conflict were
missed avoided or poorly managed.13 Participants identified
change and workload as stressors indicating that individuals
did not want things to change and were not happy with ad-
ministrators who tried to alter the status quo or workload.
Poor or inappropriate communication was another consis-
tent finding in which administrators identified uncivil faculty
members as those who were resistant to change and unyield-
ing or unwilling to negotiate.13

Participants identified behaviors that paralleled those in
the literature, including overt rude or disruptive behavior,
hazing, intimidation, unsupportive, setting up others to fail,
exerting superiority or rank over others, refusing to listen or
communicate, gossip and passive-aggressive behaviors, and
engaging in clandestine meetings.13 They also found that when
incivility and bullying were ignored, the problems expanded.

Dzurec and Bromley
15

explained that victims of more
subtle incivility and bullying can usually provide descriptions
of the event but are less able to define the significance of
what happened to them, which was clearly evident in this
study. The individuals responsible for these negative behav-
iors continued to feel control and power for themselves. As
the behaviors continued, incivility and bullying became a
tolerated norm for the workplace. Without the language to
define the behaviors experienced, the victims themselves
were often seen as the ones who cannot manage the situa-
tion or communicate with difficult people.

16
The victim of

the behavior can become the scapegoat when the organiza-
tional structure chooses not to address the issue,15,17 result-
ing in dysfunction at the individual and organizational levels.
When incivility has gone unaddressed over time and becomes
a cultural workplace norm,15 it is defined as a toxic work-
place. Sadly, in these environments, productivity is often stifled,
morale is low, and retention becomes a problem.2,18 The
themes found in this study supported the literature that con-
cluded that cultures of incivility existed, were propagated by
those who had learned these behaviors in their workplace,
and flourished when ignored; many of the administrators
found themselves as the organizational scapegoats.

Heinrich
18

reported that the impact of incivility in the
workplace included loss of work, work avoidance, lower job
motivation, health care issues and costs, and retention issues.
Incivility negatively affected the overall education environ-
ment and relationships10 and resulted in feelings of betrayal
and shame in the victim.16 The study participants reported
similar consequences of faculty incivility and bullying, includ-
ing negative impacts on professional relationships, reputa-
tions, and professional careers. The most alarming finding in
the study revealed that only 35.7% of the participants re-
mained in nursing academic administration.

The cost of incivility not only affects administrators per-
sonally and professionally but also has an impact on the en-
tire academic environment and profession. Nursing leaders
who choose to step down because of incivility in the work-
place or are bullied out of administrative roles leave a void
that is not easily filled.

The financial impact on the institution of higher edu-
cation when an administrator leaves can be viewed from
2 perspectives. First, there might be exit costs, including a
negotiated exit package to include moving costs, severance
pay, health insurance, and unused vacation payout required
for the employer to pay. Litigation costs also might be an
expense for both the employer and ex-employee, as was
identified by participants in the study. Second, replacing a
dean or director of nursing is expensive. Nationally, it is es-
timated that roughly $150,000 to $200,000 salary dollars is
required to advertise, recruit, hire, and relocate a new dean
or director. Although expensive, some employers also hire a
search firm because of the shortage of nursing academic
administrators.

There also is a loss of productivity for the institution
during a transition period of administrators, which may be
an intentional or unintentional consequence of a leadership
change. Research findings indicated that 68% of faculty re-
ported incivility in their units, including resisting change, fail-
ing to perform job requirements, poor communication related
to work issues, and negative comments and behaviors.19 As
reported by the participants, frequently a major issue was the
faculty’s desire not to change. Once a new leader is found,
there is always a period of establishing an agenda, determin-
ing actions, and developing academic relationships to move
the agenda forward. These activities can take a year or more
depending on how long the search process endured. In an
environment of incivility, the productivity of the workplace is
already hampered and may decrease more during transition.

Experts encourage nurse leaders to manage the environ-
ment by acknowledging incivility and bullying behaviors,
establishing education and interventions to support a trust-
ing workplace, and developing a zero tolerance for negative
behaviors.5 Education should include conflict resolution, prob-
lem solving, open communication, collaboration, and team-
work. In some cases, nurse leaders ignore negative behaviors
because of their inability to deal with the behaviors. A positive
workplace environment must be restored through group in-
tervention and ownership of establishing a safe and sup-
portive workplace. The participants all suggested that the
profession needs to deal with this issue, calling for leaders to
‘‘label it [the behavior], call it out [identify when incivility and
bullying occur], address it [counsel the individual], develop a
no tolerance policy/culture, and have consequences [required
education, remediation, and dismissal if necessary].’’ Most
notably was a call for a change in academic organizational cul-
ture and a support system for nursing academic administrators.

Absent from the study findings was a personal call to
action. Most participants did not identify their role in man-
aging the behavior and environment. Transformational change
led by strong leaders using shared governance has resulted in
successful redesign and shaping of healthy organizational cul-
ture in nursing education.20 Experts recommended starting
with a culture/climate assessment to help identify areas of strength,
concerns, and general perceptions of the organizational

Nurse Educator Volume 41 & Number 3 & May/June 2016 123

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

culture.21 An organizational unit’s shared commitment to a
culture of civility is essential. Another measure to help provide
skills to deal with incivility include cognitive rehearsal, an
intervention that allows individuals to acquire the skill set
necessary to address incivility in a safe environment through
role playing.22 Workshops can engage team members in a con-
versation and help develop civility contracts and establish norms
for behaviors.9 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation developed
a toolkit to help guide individuals and institutions to estab-
lish cultures of civility. Respectful conversations for difficult
situations, managing difficult conversations, incivility and bully-
ing code words, and the language of collaboration are topics in
the toolkit.23 Finally, the American Nurses Association24 has
developed a toolkit for communication and collaboration
that focuses on factors for developing healthy interactions.

Implications for Nursing Education
and Administration
This study calls for courage from nursing leaders and aca-
demic institutions to establish a shared vision and culture of
civility, with specific expectations, policies, and consequences
for behaviors, and to provide ongoing education to promote
positive behaviors.2 This change is more difficult in a setting
with an established negative culture but must be addressed.
Nursing academic administrators need backing of institutional
administration and policies. Otherwise, they are vulnerable
when they are alone in addressing incivility or become the
victims of negative behaviors. Everyone needs to practice
role modeling civility and reinforce positive behaviors.

Limitations
The study had several limitations. First, there are many nurse
academic administrators who were not part of this study,
some who may have had no experiences with incivility and
bullying and others who may have more or less severity of
experiences or may have been unwilling to ‘‘name’’ the issue.
Second, all participants were female; thus, the male percep-
tive is missing. Third, there was no significant ethnic diversity
in the sample to address any racial differences.

Conclusions
This study contributed unique information to the body of
knowledge on incivility and bullying in nursing education.
Specifically, nursing faculty incivility and bullying toward
academic administrators resulted in potentially devastating
effects on administrators’ health and emotional well-being,
professional relationships, career trajectory, and institutional
effectiveness. The problem requires that academic adminis-
trators proactively role model civil behaviors, develop organi-
zational policies and structures, and immediately manage
issues as they arise. In a time of critical faculty shortage and
financial challenges, the loss of qualified nursing administra-
tors is detrimental to the profession. Incivility and bullying
should be a component of nurse leadership programs to bet-
ter equip leaders with tools and skills to manage problems.
Finally, the authors call for compassion for our nursing aca-
demic leaders, who are willing to take on the challenge of
working with difficult situations.

References
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ing faculty-to-faculty incivility: a national perspective and literature
review. J Nurs Educ. 2013;52(4):211-218.

4. Lachman VD. Ethical issues in the disruptive behaviors of inci-
vility, bullying, and horizontal/lateral violence. Urol Nurs. 2015;
35(1):39-42.

5. Roberts SJ. Lateral violence in nursing: a review of the past three
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6. Heinrich KT. An optimist’s guide form …