Study co-author Janice Beitz, a professor at the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden, said researchers used data from interviews conducted with 16 nursing professors who said they were the victims of social bullying in an academic nursing workplace.
She said the participants described in detail instances in which they said they were slandered, isolated, physically threatened, lied to, or given unrealistic workloads. The participants in the study were primarily non-tenured female faculty teaching in U.S. baccalaureate programs.
"Not many people look at bullying in the academic environment," Beitz said in a statement. "We wanted to raise awareness of it."
Beitz noted the most common cases of bullying involve academic administrators targeting faculty, but in some cases, faculty are bullying other faculty members or their administrative superiors.
Bullies might be threatened by a fellow academic's qualifications and scholarship, or victims might be targeted because they are perceived as weak, Beitz said.
The findings appeared in Nurse Educator.