Local government employer's influence on workplace bullying and client violence: risk prediction model and development intervention

Workplace bullying and client violence are increasing in the municipal sector. The employer has a statutory duty to intervene and a duty to ensure that the working conditions are safe. However, little research has been done on effective tools and methods available to the employer to prevent and reduce workplace bullying and client violence situations. Such tools are developed in this project.




The project will prepare a prediction model that will help to identify work communities where the risk of workplace bullying and client violence is higher than in other work communities. In addition, the project will include a development project aimed at preventing and reducing workplace bullying and client violence.

Data and methods

We will study the factors that indicate an increase in these phenomena. This risk prediction model is made in co-operation with the University of Helsinki. The materials used in the project include the municipal personnel follow-up study (the Kunta10 study and hospital personnel well-being study) data collected in 2019–2022.

Factors to be modelled are collected from both surveys and registers and they may be related to an individual, the work itself, a work community, a work unit, a workplace or a specific area of the workplace. The prediction model makes it possible to try to minimize workplace bullying and client violence situations in advance.

In the second phase of the project, we will carry out a development intervention that focuses on developing an organization’s processes, operational models, work and safety culture and supervisory practices, consequently aiming at zero tolerance of workplace bullying and minimizing and preventing client violence situations. The project will be carried out in selected work units from the cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Tampere.

Results and impact

We will assess the effectiveness of the development project with a quasi-experimental setup with the Kunta10 survey as the initial measurement in 2020 and the Kunta10 survey in 2022 as the final measurement.

Change modelling is applied in the study. Demonstrating effectiveness requires that both the phenomenon (workplace bullying, client violence) and the factors that influence the phenomenon (workplace processes, operational models) change over time. This way, the change can be shown to have been a direct result of the development project and not due to other variation over time or a pseudo-impact of the development project (the so-called Hawthorne effect).

Researched information on development projects of this kind is scarce internationally, so the project has a great novelty value both in Finland and abroad.

Our experts

Jenni Ervasti

Jenni Ervasti

Jenni.Ervasti [at]
+358 30 474 2806


The Finnish Work Environment Fund, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and participating organizations