Workplace violence is a growing problem and is recognized as “a critical safety and health hazard” in the United States (Chenier, 1998, p. 558). Injury caused by accidents and violence in the work environment has been regarded as a significant social problem. But organizations can deal with accident/injury cases by instituting safety measures.
Importance of the study
This study will provide an in-depth analysis of workplace violence. This is useful and informative for psychology students and also to individual workers and employees who experience workplace aggression and mistreatment by supervisors.
How should organizations deal with workplace violence?
Organizations should deal with workplace violence and must institute policies and programs to provide and encourage an atmosphere of friendship and good camaraderie in the workplace. Workplace violence causes depression on the part of the victims. It has been considered as a serious problem that can cause more psychiatric problems.
Who are involved?
Supervisors and those who exercise control over the others are involved in workplace violence and aggression. Even employees harass and commit aggression against their fellow employees. Studies have found that perpetrators of workplace violence are former victims themselves. Outcomes of exposure to violence and verbal aggression are related with “poor physical and emotional well-being” (LeBlanc & Kelloway, 2002 as cited in Spector et al., 2007, p. 119).
Depression and anxiety have caused mortality and are related with “quality of life and social functioning” (Strine et al., 2008, p. 1383).
Workplace aggression refers to acts that harm the psychological, mental or physical well-being of individuals in the work environment (Fujishiro, Gee, & de Castro, 2011). Workplace aggression is defined by Hershcovis et al. (2012) as “a psychological form of mistreatment that involves negative acts perpetrated against organizational members that victims are motivated to avoid” (Neuman & Baron, 2005 as cited in Hershcovis et al., 2012, p. 2).
Workplace harassment may be in the form of yelling, cursing, temper tantrums, withholding information and resources, public humiliation, and similar behavior. Harassment can be aggravated with physical aggression (Leymann, 1990 as cited in Lewis, Coursol, & Wahl, 2002).
Qualitative studies on workplace violence
LeBlanc and Kelloway (2002 as cited in Spector et al., 2007) provided a compilation of 22 situations related with exposure to violence. The situations were tasks that needed exercising physical control over others, “having contact with people on medication, or having to care for others” (Spector et al., 2007, p. 119).
Schat and Kelloway (2002 as cited in Spector et al., p. 119) also noted the relation between a combined violence and verbal aggression and exposure and both forms of well-being, but the relationship is stronger if the offense is committed by a co-worker than by a member of the public.
Barling, Rogers, and Kelloway (2001 as cited in Spector et al. 2007, p. 119) found an inconsistency in the literature such that verbal aggression was related to psychological factors and not violence. Support by workers reduced the psychological strain, according to a study by Schat and Kelloway (2003 as cited in Spector et al., p. 119).
Workplace violence and harassment affect the psychological and physical well being of employees, including their professional life. Individual careers will be deeply affected. As employees think of coping with harassment and violence, some may decide to resign their current position (Lewis et al., 2002). But the “physical and psychological” will remain in the individual.
A perceived violence climate can be reduced if the management exercises control and provides ways to eliminate violence and verbal aggression. Policies and procedures should be provided to deal with violence by providing training on avoidance and management of violence.
A favorable workplace environment should emphasize how employees should behave that can provide a wholesome relationship among the employees, and encourage them to work for the success of the organization, rather than do something that may hurt fellow employees. Employees should “behave in a more civil manner so that minor rudeness does not escalate into more serious interpersonal encounters” (Pearson, Andersson, & Porath, 2005 as cited in Spector et al., 2007, p. 120).
Chenier, E. (1998). The workplace: A battleground for violence. Public Personnel Management, 27(4), 557-568. Web.
Fujishiro, K., Gee, G., & de Castro, A. (2011). Associations of workplace aggression with work-related well-being among nurses in the Philippines. American Journal of Public Health, 101(5), 861-867. Web.
Hershcovis, M., Reich, T., Parker, S., & Bozeman, J. (2012). The relationship between workplace aggression and target deviant behavior: The moderating roles and task interdependence. Work & Stress, 26(1), 1-20.
Lewis, J., Coursol, D., & Wahl, K. (2002). Addressing issues of workplace harassment: Counseling the targets. Journal of Employment Counseling, 39(1), 109-116. Web.
Spector, P., Coulter, M., Stockwell, H., & Matz, W. (2007). Perceived violence climate: A new construct and its relationship to workplace physical violence and verbal aggression, and their potential consequences. Work & Stress, 21(2), 117-130.
Strine, T., Mokdad, A., Balluz, L., Gonzales, O., Crider, R., Berry, J., & Kroenke, K. (2008). Depression and anxiety in the United States: Findings from the 2006 behavioral risk factor surveillance system. Psychiatric Services, 59(12), 1383-1390. Web.