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Violence Vict. 1995 Winter;10(4):285-97.

Interpersonal conflict which includes mistreatment in a university workplace.

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  • 1University Ombudsman, University of Washington, USA.


In order to provide detailed documentation of faculty and staff experiences of perceived mistreatment, this article reports the findings of an institutional survey of mistreatment. From a random sample of 1,585 (11%) of one university's workforce, 810 (51%) responses were received. Of the total responses, 187 (23%) met criteria used to define cases of perceived workplace mistreatment. Equal proportions of women and men reported incidents of mistreatment. Mistreatment was perceived to come from coworkers as well as superiors. For the sample as a whole, job satisfaction was severely affected by experiences of mistreatment. The highest proportion of reported mistreatment was 38% for professional staff (at-will employees), followed in order by 25% for classified staff (covered by civil service protection), and 11% for faculty. These findings indicate that mistreatment occurs at all levels in institutions of higher education. The negative consequences of mistreatment for individuals in the workplace, as well as for the institution as a whole, are substantial.

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