People think about quitting their job if they see other getting bullied at workplace, says new research. The tendency to quit will be even higher if there is an alternative job available.

Researchers surveyed 357 nurses in 41 hospital units in Canada. They found that people who got bullied had a strong desire to quit. Even people who aren't bullied directly reported that they'd want to leave the job.

The study offers an insight of how people interact in an organizational set-up. It is not just getting bullied that makes people want to give-up their jobs, but also seeing others get bullied that makes people want to leave.

The researchers found a strong relation between workplace bullying and intentions of quitting among employees. A high turnover is bad for any organization. Previous research has suggested that bullying at workplace is a costly affair in terms of losing employees and hiring new people and training them.

"Of particular note is the fact that we could predict turnover intentions as effectively either by whether someone was the direct target of bullying, or by how much an environment was characterized by bullying. This is potentially interesting because we tend to assume that direct, personal experiences should be more influential upon employees than indirect experiences only witnessed or heard about in a second-hand fashion," Marjan Houshmand, one of the study authors.

Experts say that an organization must take steps to prevent bullying in the workplace.

"Yet our study identifies a case where direct and indirect experiences have a similarly strong relationship to turnover intentions," Houshmand said

"This work provides insight into the bullying targets' understanding of their experiences and it challenges the 'passive' view of workplace bullying that characterizes the targets of bullying as hapless victims who are too vulnerable and weak to fight their bullies," Houshmand said.

"Instead, the targets of bullying see 'escaping' their own and other people's bullies as a means to create turmoil and disrupt the organization as an act of defiance," said Houshmand.

The study was published in the journal Human Relations.