Harassment among university hospital physicians in four European cities. Results from a cross-sectional study in Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Italy (the HOUPE study)

Andersen GR, Aasland OG, Fridner A, Løvseth LT. Work 2010; 37 (1): 99-110.

Abstract on Pubmed:

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this cross-national study was to identify work-related factors related to the prevalence of harassment, and identify potential similarities and differences in harassment levels and appointed perpetrators within the same professional group across four European cities. PARTICIPANTS: 2078 physicians working in university hospitals in Trondheim, Stockholm, Reykjavik, and Padova participated in the study. METHODS: Questionnaire comprised items on direct and indirect experience of workplace harassment, appointed perpetrators, psychosocial work environment and basic socio-demographics. RESULTS: Harassment was found to be a relatively frequent work environment problem among physicians in all four European cities, with particular high levels in Padova. Role conflict, human resource primacy, empowerment leadership, and control over work pace were all found to be significantly related to workplace harassment. CONCLUSIONS: Differences in harassment prevalence and perpetrators indicated a cultural difference between the Italian and the Nordic hospitals. Harassment followed the line of command in Padova in contrast to being a horizontal phenomenon in the Scandinavian hospitals. This may be explained by national differences in organizational systems and traditions. In order to decrease harassment level and create a positive and productive work environment, each organization must employ different strategies in accordance with their harassment patterns.

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