Saf Health Work.  2017 Dec;8(4):398-401. 10.1016/

Organizational Ostracism: A Potential Framework in Order to Deal with It

  • 1Faculty of Medicine of Tunis, University of Tunis El Manar, Tunis, Tunisia.
  • 2Department of Forensic Pathology, University of Medicine of Monastir, Tunis, Tunisia.


Organizational ostracism is defined as a violation of norms that we are suggested to acknowledge at the workplace. It results in the exclusion of one person or multiple persons, and causes damage to our innate need to belong. This kind of behaviorism can be engaged through a hierarchical or nonhierarchical relationship. Three elements interact in the framework of organizational ostracism: the actor, the target, and the institution. Our aim was to describe the different factors interacting with every element in order to produce recommendations targeting to prevent the occurrence of such behaviorism in an institution and to help targets of such a violence in order to handle this situation and go forward. As psychological impact of ostracism has frequently been studied in the literature, we focused on its impact on professional tasks.
We performed a questionnaire-based study about organizational ostracism. This questionnaire was established through an online platform ( and made available through the following link: A keyword was sent to all participants. We created a 23-interrogation questionnaire with open and short questions. Nonwritten consent was obtained from all participants.
The actor of ostracism engaged in ostracism, in most of the cases, with other persons without a real purpose
. The actor of ostracism had an antecedent of problematic relationship at work in 82.9% of the cases. Of the participants, 58.5% were of the view that ostracism aimed to cause hurt and isolate them. Professional isolation was observed in 58.5% of the cases; 51.2% of the participants tried to improve their work potential and explained their reaction by an intrinsic motivation. The organization atmosphere was judged to be bad in most of the cases.
Our study showed that ostracism was mainly observed in public practice.


isolation; organization; ostracism; reject; tasks
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