Workplace Violence in the Workplace Sector: A Literature Review

Workplace violence is an emerging phenomenon that should be investigated. The nature of such violence and how it is affecting the workplace. The nature of workplace violence, the different methods being used to do it and how it affects the workers and their relationship with each other should be looked into.Historical Context of Workplace ViolenceV. Bowie[1] provides an overview of workplace violence by looking at the history of corporations and companies in the past thirty years.

The material he produced gives the researcher important insights on the development of trends, controversies and issues that occur during the past thirty years. These trends were connected with social as well as technological developments in the society. In addition to this, he also uses research data and findings on various disciplines to provide an explanatory background for these emerging trends.Bowie’s work provides an important historical context of workplace arrangements and the instances that give rise to workplace violence. Furthermore, Bowie provided a typology of workplace violence which is composed of (1) intrusive, (2) consumer, (3) relationship, and (4) organizational.

His typology can be the basis of further research in the field and will give interesting insights[2].Probably the most important contribution of Bowie to the study under consideration is his identification of key issues in workplace violence and how it affects the whole organization and the individuals who experience such violence. Of the trends that he identified, an important component that should be investigated at this time is cyber-violence. Given the widespread use of e-mail, blogging, instant messaging and other internet platforms, workplace violence is also being perpetuated and workers are being degraded, harassed, manipulated and humiliated.

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Another important aspect of workplace violence that could expand on Bowie’s work is by studying the way that older employees are being treated. Given the large number of young professionals waiting to work, these older employees are being harassed so they would resign and give way to younger workers[3].Bowie’s work helps situate this research study being undertaken in regards to the developments in the emerging trends and issues in workplace violence. With the framework of this study, some recommendations shall be made on how to deal with these emerging trends and issues.The work of Johnson and Indvik[4] further provides an important historical backdrop on the emergence of workplace violence as a field of study and interest in corporate culture and human relations within organizations. The nineties is of particular interest to Johnson and Indvik. They noted the rise in both intensity and number of incidences of workplace violence. The two researchers analyzed the causes of this violence, the perceived costs of workplace violence and its impact on the organization as a whole. Among the causes that they noted, emotional problems are the first on their list.These emotional problems may stem from deep-seated issues in their personalities and developmental stage or it may be related to issues of change in their lifestyles. Abuse, is most often experienced first in the family and this is then transferred to other persons in the workplace or in the family. Another important cause of violence is the perceived difficulties in the economy, the laying off of workers and the inability of workers to deal with such changes in their lives.Johnson and Indvik’s approach to dealing with their study is that they conducted first a study on the possible causes of violence in an individual worker. From that, they also describe the workplace situation and how it contributes to the development of a workplace conducive for violence. After going through this, the authors also studied the role of management and human resources officers of the organization in the emergence of workplace violence.One of the important concepts the authors put forward is that there must have been negligent hiring because persons that are emotionally and mentally disturbed. Another area of negligence would be on the supervision of employees. If there is effective supervision and regular consultation with the managers and the employees, workplace violence would be mitigated. The authors also outlined several prevention strategies by dealing with all the areas of the causes of violence that they identified.The historical context in the article of Johnson and Indvik as well as their analysis of individual workers, the workplace and the role of management in workplace violence make it a very valuable resource in understanding the aggressors, the nature and characteristics of workplace violence, and planning strategies that could significantly reduce the incidence and occurrence of workplace violence.Is there a Need for Violence?Is there a need for violence? John Keane[5] seems to answer yes to this important question. History is replete with violence. There are wars, killing fields, concentration camps, assassinations and other forms of violence. It seems that violence is hard-wired into the consciousness of every human being. Keane therefore embarks on a journey to reflect on the meanings of such violence and their ethical and political significance. Although his work is not totally related to workplace violence, Keane’s ideas and reflections on the paradoxes of violence can have important implications on the workplace.He has a very interesting insight that might apply on the reaction of people who are always perceived as victims of workplace violence. Most of the time, keeping quiet and resignation is the usual reaction to violence in the workplace. Keane says that this kind of passive reaction to violence should be reconsidered. Naïve pacifism for Keane is an anachronism and will only create a condition a cycle of violence. When no one resists senseless violence, then it will become part of the culture. It will also drive away the people who are continuously subjected to violence.He calls for a rethinking on the approach of today’s society to violence. While it may be true that peace and lack of conflict is highly desirable, those who inflict violence should be apprehended. That can only be done if the victims of violence who want to preserve civility will become courageous enough to stand up for their own rights and stand up against the perpetrators of violence. Although not directly related to workplace violence, Keane’s reflections have much to do in stopping violence in the workplace and helping victims speak out for themselves and even take active means to counter violence. By doing so, the organization will empower its employees so that they can stop workplace violence if they see it anywhere in the organization.Workplace violence may be looked at as an act between two people. There are instances, however, that more people may be involved. Workplace violence is essentially an interpersonal incident. The root cause of such violence needs to be identified in order for the proper intervention strategies to be devised.Cavell and Malcolm[6] identified anger and aggression in the workplace as the leading causes of violence in the workplace. Through the collection of articles that they collected, they explore the sources of anger in the workplace and, more importantly, in the personal lives of those who go to work at their offices. In a rather interesting twist in their argument, they said that anger and aggression are but normal in the lives of people. What matters is how to manage these emotions. With good management, these emotions could also be put to good use. If left unchecked, however, they can wreak havoc at the workplace, leaving people hurting and in danger.The authors looked at psychological explanations of anger and aggression and how different people express these emotions. More than that, however, they also explored the different means of controlling anger effectively such as asking the help of anger management professionals and counselors. In the book that they authored, they also developed a helpful model in treating anger and aggression.As the contemporary workplace becomes more complex and difficult, so shall the safety and security concerns be foremost at the minds of managers and the people who enforce laws related to security. With this in mind, the volume contributed by Cavell & Malcolm is a big help for professionals who are seeking to neutralize the negative effects of anger and aggression in the workplace and work towards the channeling of these emotions to creativity that in the long run will contribute to the growth of the organization. The book also offered solid guidelines on how to help employees who are suffering from bouts of anger, aggression and even depression so that they can make the best out of their situation and contribute to the improvement of organizational practices and development.Types of Workplace ViolencePhysical violence is no the only criteria in determining workplace violence. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)[7] came up with four different types of workplace violence, which could also be helpful to this study in coming up with such typology of workplace violence.The first one is criminal intent which may be rooted in unresolved conflicts and deep-seated frustrations and emotional and mental disturbance. Additionally, criminal intent may be inflicted by people outside the workplace who do have criminal intent such as robbery, homicide or murder and rape among others. Secondly, workplace violence may also emanate from customer-client relationships and vice versa. There are overbearing customers who heap abuses on the workers on duty. These customers are usually very impatient and they are passing on some violent remarks and actions onto the workers of the organization.The third type is violence that takes place within the organization through the relationships of the workers. This type of violence is inflicted by one employee to another employee. Such type of workplace violence may occur because of professional rivalry, underperformance or lackluster service, and even due to circumstances fostered by the workplace itself. The last type of workplace violence comes from personal relationships. This type of violence comes from dysfunctional relationships in and out of the office. Most of the time, however, relationship problems such as domestic problems, and frustrations problems come from outside of the organization.The NIOSH publication also identified several research needs for workplace violence. These research areas are very important to this study so that the researcher would know what gaps in the workplace violence research will it fill in and which of these research needs it fulfills. (1) The first research need is the establishment of a national agenda and strategy for workplace violence. This would help more researchers and practitioners learn about the theories and the progresses made in understanding the issue. (2) There should also be an evaluation research. This would also facilitate a better understanding on the part of organizations the intervention needs in regards to workplace violence.(3) The definitions of workplace violence should be consistent. This would enable organizations and practitioners to gather consensus on what workplace violence truly means and what its effects are. (4) Help ensure reporting at all levels. One of the more important challenges of workplace violence is reporting. When people start talking, then its occurrence would come to the fore and it would be dealt with more easily. (5) Lastly, economics research should also be conducted to determine the actual costs of workplace violence and the benefits of investing on this area of the organization.These items in the research agenda helps the researcher in looking at workplace violence comprehensively. Indeed, there are a number of research points that should be undertaken by organizations and by individual researchers to deal with the problems of workplace violence. Although this set of research points and agenda are arbitrary at best and may be subject to change in the coming months and years, researchers will have known what important areas of research still lack studies. When researchers put their resources together in studying these areas, workplace violence could then be best understood and prevented.A Look into the Lethal Employee’s MindOne possible way of understanding workplace violence and preventing it is looking into the mindset of violent employees and the kind of motivations and attitudes that they have. Kelleher[8] sought to map and create a profile of the mind of the employee with the propensity for perpetuating violence. Through the case studies that he provides in his book, he will be able to give a full picture of the motivations and the tendencies of the employee who commits violence.The author takes a look at the crimes and violence committed at the workplace. He then traces back the event that happened, the experiences of the lethal employee that led to violence or homicide. The different profiles featured in the book are very useful in identifying the mindset and the propensity for violence of employees.The characteristics described by Kelleher could be used as a benchmark for looking at possible violent offenders. By bringing in behavioral science models and research findings, he creates a profile of the possible violent employee. This then helps organizations in planning and creating strategies for dealing with and preventing workplace violence. Kelleher succeeds in helping researchers, managers and practitioners in looking at the profile of the potentially lethal employee. One of the gaps in research, however, is the recent findings in research about workplace violence. Such gap will be filled by this study by looking at recent research studies and findings of practitioners in the field.Kelleher’s framework fits into a systemic view of workplace violence. The profile of the potentially lethal employee could be related to the difficulties, issues and frustrations experienced by the employee in the workplace. Such profile will also be looked into alongside the profile of potential victims and the organizational culture. With these elements of the system, a better understanding of workplace violence could be arrived at.Trends, Issues and Strategies in Workplace ViolenceKelleher’s book was essential in understanding the lethal employee’s mindset and profile. The gaps in the recent trends and issues are supplied by Bowie, Fisher and Cooper[9]. The collection they authored presents a number of relevant statistics concerning workplace violence in the United States. Since their book was released only in 2005, they offer some of the most recent statistics and findings. More than that, the authors also looked at data from different companies and organizations all over the United States to present an overview of what is going on in most organizations. They present an important picture of what is going on.They explored individual factors that contribute to workplace violence such as domestic problems, a recurring cause in most of the workplace violence literature consulted in this study. They also identified reasons and ways in which organizations can take care of workers who are in risky situations. The psychological stress and workplace frustrations should be supplemented by support groups composed of the management and fellow workers. Such a caring environment can help reform a violence-prone organization and defuse the emotions and frustrations of workers.A rather surprising topic that Bowie, Fisher and Cooper addressed is the relation of terrorism to workplace violence. As the threat of terrorism looms in the United States, organizations should always be on the lookout for means of responding effectively to terrorist attacks and violence.The collection is one of the first books to offer an in-depth analysis of cyber-harassment, how workers and managers alike use email, instant messengers and other cyber-technologies to harass and perpetuate violence in the workplace. The bullies in the workplace are looking for ways to continue displaying their bravado and their arrogance and the internet has also become their tool for this purpose.After noting the trends and issues in workplace violence statistics and research, the authors provided a synthesis and a prospectus of what will happen in the next few years and how organizations can best counter workplace violence. There are a number of technological tools available at the disposal of managers and workers. Yet, the importance of training and creating an organizational culture that does not tolerate is still one of the most important activities that organizations should undertake. A researcher and observer who has an understanding of workplace violence in the past thirty years or so will be delighted with this as they get a glimpse of recent developments in this area of research and how the next few years might yield new trends, issues and strategies in dealing with violence in the workplace.Declining Violent Crime in the WorkplaceThe work of Duhart[10] through the Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report supplements the historical context provided by Bowie. Duhart’s work deals with the statistics on violent crime on the workplace in the past decade, particularly from 1993 to 1999. According to her study the number of violent crimes committed against people on work duty declined by 44% during the period covered by the study. Nonetheless, workplace violence still accounted for 18% of the total violent crimes committed during this period. This is still a rather large number of incidences. Such crimes include sexual harassment and even rape, robbery and simple and grave assault.At first glance, the work of Duhart may seem to refute the claims of Johnson and Indvik but a closer look would reveal that Duhart’s statistics concern only the violent crimes directed towards workers and employees while that of Johnson and Indvik recognize workplace violence as encompassing all forms of verbal and physical abuse directed to workers and employees alike.The statistics of Duhart provide important demographic information about the victims of workplace violence. Women, as much as men, are the subject of such violence. Among the variables she explored are the type of crime and gender, the occupations where such violence occur, the role of race on violence, and the kind of workplace where the violence occurred. In addition to providing a profile of the victims, the report also takes a look into the characteristics of the offenders, their motivation for committing violence, and in worst cases, homicide.The profiles of the victims and the offenders are of particular interest for this study. Although such profile may be incomplete, it serves as a guide in understanding the situations of victims, offenders and other factors in the workplace that contribute to violence. A contemporary study on the topic of workplace violence may build upon these description and statistics to further analyze the trends and issues that are emerging in this phenomenon.Neuman and Baron[11] agree that the number of violent crimes directed against workers and employees have declined in the past few years. In fact, the occurrence of extremely violent acts of aggression is a rare event in the workplace. This means that physical aggression is not really the criteria for workplace violence as echoed by other writers and researchers in this field.Although extreme violent aggression is rare in the workplace, other forms of violence and abuse are present in the workplace. In this case, such violence has very important impact on the organization and the individuals working within it. Neuman and Baron presented a study on the frequency of violence in the workplace and the impact of this violence on the culture of the organization. More importantly, for this study, the authors presented a framework of analysis in understanding workplace violence. Their framework is built on contemporary theories of violence and the motivation for aggression of individuals. By doing so, they are able to update existing theories and understanding on human aggression. This makes their work relevant to the organizational culture of the twenty-first century.Through the framework that they developed, they explain different reasons and context where violence may arise in the workplace. They were concerned primarily with the motivations of individuals in committing violence, that is why they did not focus much in looking at the workplace that may give rise to violence. Nonetheless, they still looked at the impact of the workplace on the individuals and how that can affect their performance and propensity for aggression. Based on this understanding, Neuman and Baron also provided various principles and strategies in dealing with workplace violence. Perhaps the only limitation in their analysis is the way that they focused too much on the individual and did not look at the workplace as a system that can also give rise to incidences of violence.Aggression at Work and in SchoolsBraverman, Galasso and Marsh[12] edited together a collection of articles dealing with the issue of violence in the workplace and in the schools. The articles in their collection probes deeply in the phenomenon of workplace violence, the nuances of its definition, the instances when and where it happens and takes a look at recent research, methodologies, frameworks and studies that are related to the topic at hand.Braverman uses the Systems Model in analyzing violence in the workplace and in the schools. This is an important idea as the systems model is a multi-disciplinary approach and looks at the relationships of different elements in the system. By developing this model, Braverman is helping researchers and human resources practitioners in understanding violence and analyzing the corporate or school system. In doing so, they can readily identify some of the factors that contribute to workplace violence.This systems-based model in looking at workplace violence can be used by this study in understanding different factors affecting such kind of violence. The individual articles in the collection also help identify the personality of victims and of aggressors. The workplace full of emotional abuse is also described as well as the different attitudes and behaviors that point to aggressive behavior. These elements of the system are then tied up together neatly into the systems-based model.Clearly, the systems-based model has very important explanatory utility, which this research project could use. Such an approach helps in the development of a framework of study that is not fragmentary and isolated. Rather, it helps look at the issue from a holistic perspective and looks at the whole organization and how it can breed violence in the workplace. Indeed, if the organization is filled always with stress, frustration and increasing pressure, then it might become a breeding ground for workplace violence.This idea of an organization that can become a breeding ground for violence is further explored by Denenberg and Braverman.[13] By focusing on the workplace, they looked at different factors and elements that could lead people to become stressed out and commit violence. The authors point out that unresolved conflicts and frustrations due to employees who fail all contribute to stress and the potential for violence. If this is the case, then there would be a dysfunctional workplace.This concept of dysfunctional workplace is important in taking a deeper probe into the organizational culture and relationships of people within the organization. Although there may be dysfunctional employees, it is best to focus on the dysfunctional workplace that cannot deal with difficult employees.To illustrate their point, the authors used qualitative strategies by providing 14 case studies and stories of workplace violence that actually occurred. Interestingly, these 14 stories are rich source of qualitative data for the analysis of workplace violence. Through these stories, the authors identified several factors that contribute to violence in the workplace such as racial tensions, changes in the corporate culture, being laid off the worker’s pool, and other personal stress such as domestic problems.Braverman and Denenberg then analyzed these sources of violence and outlined several strategies on how to best deal with such violence. They cited the need to make changes to the organizational culture, the importance of correct and timely information dissemination and the creation of a violence prevention plan. The government regulations and guidelines can also be found in the volume, making it a comprehensive guide to understanding and preventing workplace violence.This study could benefit from the book of Braverman and Denenberg by looking at the dysfunctional workplace instead of just looking at individual workers who commit violence. Their analysis can complement the analysis of victims and offenders and will give a comprehensive view of the occurrence of workplace violence. When this comprehensive view is taken, the trouble spots and areas of concern will slowly emerge and prevention becomes more easily done.The Seriousness of Workplace ViolenceWorkplace violence is really an important concern in organizations and companies all over the world. Yet, a proper understanding of what it is all about should be arrived at. In this regard, Vandenbos and Bulatao[14] explore the definitions of workplace violence as well as its scope.They explored several definitions of workplace violence from those who claim that only physical assault may be considered as violence to those who are more comprehensive in their view. By taking a look at the violence directed against workers, they were drawn to look at the definition of a workplace and what characterizes it. The focus of Vandenbos and Bulatao, however, is workplace homicide. The occurrence of this extreme form of workplace violence is indeed alarming and should be addressed immediately. Even though that is the case, the work of Bulatao and Vandenbos provide an important insight into the nature and definition of violence and a description of the workplace.The definitions of workplace violence that they provided help keep the debates in the research topic alive. Each definition has its own strengths and weaknesses. As they proceeded to synthesize the definitions, an understanding of the workplace becomes clearer. It is the venue where people with different backgrounds, emotional makeup and stress levels interact together. There are certain factors and elements that contribute to the eruption of conflicts and violence. They resonated the idea of Braverman and Denenberg that the workplace could become dysfunctional and will create a situation favorable for violence.The rest of the collection that the Bulatao and Vandenbos[15] edited also deals with various details of workplace violence. The various risk factors and attitude problems in the workplace are explored in the articles found in the collection. They also enumerated several high-risk occupations that tend to create a situation of violence. These occupations such as nursing, the police, social workers in depressed areas and slums, in federal agencies, construction industries and even in jail, are good places to start looking for further research and developments in workplace violence.The stories found in these occupations are also good sources of first-hand examples of workplace violence. These stories could then serve to bolster arguments and plans concerning the prevention of workplace violence, which should be the aim of any well-meaning organization.The nature of workplace violence is further explored by Raymond B. Flannery Jr. in Workplace Violence[16]. His book is an introductory course on workplace violence. He discusses the nature of workplace violence and the different sources where it might originate. He starts with a description of the victim and the ordeal that he or she goes through. Violence is always an uncomfortable affair for the victim and responding to it is difficult.He then provides a description of the workplace and cites factors that contribute to the development of violence in the workplace. A description of aggressors then follows and how the inflict violence on their co-workers. Such descriptions follow the description of other authors dealing with workplace violence. Most of the time, stress, personality disorders, and the level of frustration are some of the causes of violence and aggression.The work of Flannery is neatly divided into two parts. The first one deals with the workplace, the victim, the aggressors and the different conditions that affect violence in the workplace. The second one deals with strategies and mechanisms towards the prevention of violence in the workplace. This book is an important introductory work on the importance of dealing with workplace violence. As a reference book for this study, however, it would be best used in conjunction with other introductory work on the subject so that the researcher would get a deeper understanding of workplace violence and its occurrence.Violence in the Workplace: Telling and ReportingViolence in the workplace is a sensitive matter. That is why a lot of people choose not to confess and tell anyone about their experiences at work. This poses a serious threat in the organization because violence continues with or without reporting. If no action is done to correct this matter, then eventually such workplace violence will become a part of the corporate culture and the overall situation of the organization will worsen. On the part of employees who experience violence, the tendency for them is to resign, especially if the perpetrator of violence belongs to the management.Bryant and Cox[17] conducted a study in Australia concerning the occurrence of violence. They found out that in times of organizational change, some violence may be committed to the employees. Such violence may come from fellow workers or from the management. The researchers found a link between violence and resignation and say that resignation is usually seen as a way to get away from the discomfort and difficulties brought about by the violence.The researchers used a qualitative approach in dealing with their subject matter and sought to understand the thought processes and the decisions that employees who experience violence go through. Resignation is clearly a choice for most of them yet they are forced into it because of the experience of violence in the workplace. If violence became a means of forcing an employee to resign, then there is something totally wrong with the culture of the organization.The stories that Bryant and Cox portrayed in their study are a rich source of anecdotal evidence concerning violence in the workplace and how employees and workers deal with the difficulties it brings. An important component of their study is the recommendation that organizational change should make provisions with the management of conflict and of violence in the workplace.Management of Workplace ViolenceAfter understanding the nature of workplace violence, the factors affecting it and the conditions in the workplace and the society that contribute to its proliferation, it would be necessary for supervisors and members of the senior management to work towards the effective management and prevention of violence in the workplace. Without such knowledge and awareness, the workplace might just degenerate into the playground of workplace bullies and aggressors.Managers, by training, are concerned with productivity, efficiency and effectiveness at work. Most of them are not truly trained to be counselors. Most of the time, they do not know how to deal with aggression and causes of trauma in the workplace. This makes workplace violence more difficult. Although workplace violence is not the only cause of trauma in the workplace, managers and supervisors should be equipped with the basic knowledge and skills in handling traumatic stress in the workplace. After all, the most valuable resource of the organization is its people. If their well-being is compromised, then the production and service process will be compromised, too.The United States Office of Personnel Management[18] came up with a Manager’s Handbook on handling trauma in the workplace. The handbook makes use of recent researchers in the field and the proven best practices on dealing with traumatic stress in the workplace. The guide is very practical. It provides a brief introduction of traumatic situations whether they are caused by natural disasters, accidents, crime or aggression in the workplace.Although counseling is not really part of the job description of a manager, listening to hurting officemate is very important because such hurts and frustrations may affect the morale of the workplace and the overall productivity of the organization. In addition to this, the guidebook also addresses suicidal concerns and those employees who are victims of workplace assault. The tips offered in the document are very practical and can be easily implemented by managers across different industries. Although the guide book does not dwell too much on workplace violence, what it provides is the human side of dealing with trauma in the workplace. Dealing with workplace aggression is difficult enough. With the support of the manager and colleagues, at least, individuals can more easily deal with their trauma.Management is indeed becoming a big part in ensuring that the workplace is safe and free from violence. This is why Chenier[19] argued that the workplace is becoming a battleground for violence in the society. This is the reason why the author believes that employers should implement effective means of protecting their employees against violence on the job. Such strategy for preventing and protecting from violence includes the establishment of clear guidelines and policies, a crisis management team and the Employee Assistance Programs where people can report any incident without fear. It would also be necessary to modify hiring practices to ensure the emotional and mental health of prospective employees.Chenier also argues for the identification of possible sources of violence in the workplace such as firings, downsizing of the company, stress, longer hours of work and even domestic violence. He also enumerated occupations with high incidence of violence. This is why managers and workers alike should be involved together in preventing the occurrence of violence in the workplace. Even if managers have the major responsibility in ensuring safety and prevention of violence, employees should be involved so as to more effectively recognize sources of violence at their level.Chenier’s approach however seems to resemble the more reactive response in the spectrum because he argues for heightened security in the workplace, better background checking and assessment of prospective applicants. This is an important move to ensure that offenders are kept at bay. Yet, a more important strategy would be the cultivation of a corporate culture that does not tolerate workplace violence. When the employees have an excellent grasp of the importance of maintaining safety in the workplace, then the need for intense security might not arise.Resonating the idea of Chenier, Rew and Ferns,[20] tested the government-sponsored NHS Zero Tolerance Zone Campaign, which mandates employers to provide safety measures to employees so that risks related to work can be mitigated. Health care practitioners tend to be affected by workplace violence yet they are not alone. As such, both employers and workers and even customers have roles to play in promoting safety and preventing violence in the workplace. Although the measures to prevent violence are important, Rew and Ferns highlighted the importance of training employees on how to deal with workplace violence. Such training should include conflict management and how to deal with stress. They also pointed out the importance of self-esteem and confidence in dealing with conflict and violence.The two researchers say that long before a conflict escalates into a potential violent confrontation, there should be intervention from management so that the conflict could be properly resolved. Without such conflict-resolution strategy, the safety of the workplace will be compromised and violence may become common occurrence.The Center for Mental Health Services[21] prepared a report on the prevention of workplace violation, putting emphasis on several ways of prevention and the role of the government in prevention. The report identified several areas of concern where prevention efforts should be centered. The first one is the workplace culture and the overall way that they conduct operations and relate with each other. Another area is training and how the organization develops consciousness about safety and workplace violence prevention. Established rules and performance reviews are also important areas in preventing workplace violence. With established rules, people would know where they stand and how they should perform within the organization. In addition to rules, clear policy on layoff and terminating employees would also help defuse negative emotions and frustrations.Prohibiting drugs and alcohol for the employees is of course part of the safety measures of any organization. When there are indications that an employee is a potential dangerous worker, then the help of mental health specialists and counselors should be involved. Since racial and ethnic issues also tend to be a source of violence and conflict, then diversity is another important matter in ensuring safety and cultivating a culture of safety. In all cases, there should always be security measures because of uncertainty in the workplace.The government is also deeply involved in ensuring workplace safety and private organizations should engage their assistance in their efforts to curb workplace violence. The government helps organizations with opportunities and resources in creating policies and training in violence. Furthermore, government agencies are always working on studies and descriptions on what constitute a safe and secure workplace.The government can also release legislations and other policies governing the security of the workplace. As such, organizations should comply with these requirements. With effective government intervention, organizations can help their employees and the overall situation of their workplace in order for workplace violence to be prevented. More than just prevention, there should also be a move to establish a culture of tolerance and communication within the organization.Workplace violence could not be dealt with only by an effective strategy created by the management in consultation with the workers who are the first ones to feel the brunt of workplace violence. With the assistance of the government, they will be able to effectively combat workplace violence.Prevention is Still Better than CureAverting violence in the workplace is definitely better than waiting for it to happen. Prevention is still the best solution in dealing with workplace violence. Managing the occurrence of violence is complicated and might lead to a number of inconveniences for both management and the workers. Prevention therefore is still the best policy. With this mind, Braverman[22] authored a book on Preventing Workplace Violence that would provide guidance to employers and practitioners in the field. His guidebook is similar to the one released by the United States Office of Personnel Management[23] but it has a more in-depth analysis of workplace violence and what the different elements of this violence are.Although prevention is the main concern of Braverman, he still provides a basic understanding of what workplace violence is, what its causes are, and how to spot possible violent employees. He also asks managers and practitioners to be cautious in labeling people because it might turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. The strength of Braverman’s book is that he relies less on theory and more on practical experiences and case studies of violence in the workplace. In doing so, he succeeds in presenting the seriousness of the matter and that managers should move towards preventing it to save time, resources and emotional trauma in the workplace.Braverman also dealt with the dilemma of most managers who have to confront workplace violence. Most of them feel afraid and unable to deal with the situation. That is why he offers good, solid advice to them on how to deal with it. The situations he cited such as a person with domestic violence who comes to work, as well as frustrated persons with lots of emotional baggage. As he asks manager to prevent workplace violence, he also highlights the legal duties of managers to their employees in ensuring safety and security.Surprisingly, Braverman did not subscribe to the importance of the profile of a potentially violent worker. He argues that such profiling might just degenerate to witch hunts within the organization, which would be counter-productive and would only destroy the organizational culture further. Although there are instances that management and the workers do not agree with each other especially in benefits and workplace practices, workplace violence transcends these issues and collaboration and participation between management and workers are essential to dealing with it. What the management and the workers need to understand is that they are all affected by workplace violence and they could not afford to be antagonistic to each other when the safety and security of everyone is at stake.He concludes his book by outlining seven practical steps in preventing workplace violence. These steps are rooted on partnership between management and workers, on a good understanding of workplace violence and its implications on the organization, on a sense of community in the workplace; on the systems in place within the organization; and a sensitivity on the welfare of people—both the victim, the perpetrator and everyone else in the workplace. His book is very useful in constructing a comprehensive plan and strategy in dealing with workplace violence.Another author who dealt with the prevention of workplace violence is Marianne Minor[24]. She dwelt briefly with a basic understanding of what workplace violence is but she did not present a sweeping overview. Such sweeping overview of what workplace violence is may be provided by the other books on this literature review.Of great significance are the practical tips that she offers for the management of organizations.  She outlined several elements of violence prevention in the workplace. It is important for the management to assemble a team task to handle and manage crisis situations in the workplace. Moreover, the management should have a steady stream of professional advisors. This helps the advisors and the management team to create a crisis management plan, anticipate different situations where violence may arise. A violence protection policy is also essential so as to protect the workers and the organization. The management should also keep a ready reference of the applicable laws and rules that can help the organization in preventing violence.She also wrote about the importance of ensuring that the employment and hiring practices of the organization encourage the selection of the best candidates on the job. In preventing violence in the workplace, she gave pointers on recognizing the early signs of violence so that they can be solved. In these cases, counseling and coaching may be provided. But if such intervention practices do not work, then disciplinary action may be implemented, provided that this is within the policy of the organization on workplace violence.Minor’s set of strategies in preventing and dealing with workplace violence is solid and very practical. She does not dwell so much on theory but on practice. This can then help organizations and management to establish concrete strategies. The only danger, however, is that management may see this as a one-size-fits-all policy, which may become more detrimental to the organization. Nonetheless, the strategies are a good starting point for any organization intent on protecting the safety and the security of their workplace. The organization should look, however, for the right fit of policies and strategies in coping with workplace violence.A Summary of the Major Points of the Literature ReviewWorkplace violence is indeed a growing problem in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Through the literature reviewed in this study, the various elements of workplace violence were investigated, the importance of profiling the perpetrators was undertaken, and the workplace as a system where violence may arise were looked into. The following elements were identified as the main participants in understanding and preventing workplace violence.ManagementNeedless to say, the management is the first on the list to truly understand the nature of workplace violence, what are the different matters that make it complicated. Who are the workers with the potential to inflict violence on the workplace? What kinds of plans should be in place to prevent violence? Ironically, managers can also serve as the source of violence against workers. Management therefore should be strong enough and flexible enough to deal with workplace violence whenever it occurs.Management takes the lead in creating an organizational culture that does not tolerate workplace violence. If violence emanates from the management, then for sure, a culture of fear, anxiety and less productivity would be the order of the day. If the management works with the government, the employees, and other stakeholders, it can create a comprehensive plan and strategy in dealing with workplace violence. Although some researchers report a decline of violent crimes in the workplace, most of the time, the workers have to deal with subtle expressions of harassment and violence. This is an area of concern that management should not neglect. After all, a safe and happy workforce will help the organization achieve its goals.The Violent WorkerThere are a number of causes for a worker to lash out and unleash violence in the workplace. It could be because of mental and emotional disturbance, frustrations with their personal and professional lives, as well as specific events in the office that could “tip them over the edge” and give way to their violent impulses. Some authors have attempted to provide a profile of the potentially violent worker. However, there are also those who believe that this obsession with profile is an exercise in futility and would be inimical to the interests of the organizations. It might even precipitate a paranoia-filled workplace if the external characteristics of a person fit the mold of the profile.The management and the workers, too can help the potentially violent colleague by establishing support groups and coaching sessions in the workplace. Although this may not be part of the overall strategy and business model of the organization, yet the overall well-being of the workers would eventually contribute to productivity and efficiency. Through these human resources practices, the organization can also develop an organizational culture of excellence and zero tolerance of workplace violence. In the long run, such policy will not only help prevent workplace violence but it can also enhance the organization as a whole.The Workers and the VictimsThe victims of workplace violence can be any worker or employee. The perpetrator may be from the management, a customer or client, or a co-worker. It is therefore in their best interests if they knew what workplace violence is and how they are affected by this menace. Most of the time, the response of victims is to keep quiet and allow the violence to be unreported. This is a cause of concern for everyone in the organization because this is inimical to the organizational culture and productivity. There should be training and resources available to the workers so that they can readily deal with instances of violence in the workplace. Management is particularlyThe WorkplaceOne important lesson that the literature review yielded is the way that the workplace can also contribute to the emergence of violence. The concept of organizational culture has been put forward as an explanatory variable of what makes workers become violent and inflict it on others in the organization. The workplace is a melting pot of personalities, ideas and different authority levels. When violence becomes a regular fare in the workplace, then it becomes a way of life in the workplace and the workers will be in fear and anxiety over the events in the workplace.GovernmentThe government has a number of resources that could help organizations deal with workplace violence. There are online resources and guides on dealing with trauma in the workplace. In addition to this, the government is also actively pursuing partnerships with the private sector in order to stop workplace violence. This way, organizations and companies can seek the help of government agencies and officials in preventing workplace violence. In extreme cases of violence, the government will also intervene with its resources so as to mediate and mitigate the damages of the violence.A Systems-Based approach to Workplace ViolenceAlthough it would be good to look individually at these elements of workplace violence, a better approach would be to analyze it as a system. In such a system, all of the elements interact with each other, helps each other, or give rise to the occurrence of violence. The workplace as the melting pot of workers and managers and even government has strong analytical potentials and will help researchers understand better the phenomenon of workplace violence. A worker without a natural potential for violence may become violent due to stress in his personal life confounded by the rude treatment of a manager. Transitions due to economic conditions may also create stress and frustrations that may become the source of violence.The workplace as a system may also help a researcher look at workplace violence more comprehensively. While some authors favor profiling the victims, the potentially violent worker, and the workplace individually, taking them together and analyzing how they work together and how violence arises would be a better goal for theories and research undertakings in the field. Such a holistic perspective would yield better information and practical guidance on how to deal with the issue of workplace violence.With the advent of information technology and the emergence of internet and new communication tools, these channels of communication may also become significant in the study of workplace violence. With the changes in technology and in the modes of working, so shall the analysis of workplace violence change. As part of the emerging trends and issues in dealing with workplace violence, the interaction between the workplace, the workers, other social forces and violence would yield more interesting insights.In dealing with workplace violence, prevention is still better than cure. This is why organizations should work towards a business model and human resources strategy that could prevent workplace violence and keep the marketplace a busy venue for work yet safe, secure and even satisfying for everyone involved. 

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Workplace Violence in the Workplace Sector: A Literature Review. (2019, Mar 19). Retrieved from

Workplace Violence in the Workplace Sector: A Literature Review
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