Running head: workplace violence Workplace violence: Its impact and strategies for prevention. MAN 316 Professor Billy Student Name: Katinee Reddock Date: Apr 01, 2013 Table of Contents 1. Introduction 3 2. Literature findings 3 3. Analyses and critique 5 4. Conclusions 6 References Appendix 1. Introduction: Workplace violence has received much attention not only in organizational settings but also from other entities such as the government, law, healthcare, and society. Increasing numbers and types of violent activities at workplace have alarmed and caused employers as well as other entities to adopt some serious measures to prevent them. Workplace violence not only affects the victims physically and mentally but also has many other repercussions on the organization.
This paper explores the impact of workplace violence in organizations based on literature review and strategies that have been adopted will be highlighted. Findings from this review will be analysed and critiqued. Finally, conclusions will be drawn based on key findings and analyses that could be of help to address workplace violence in a practical manner. 2. Literature findings: Studies indicate that workplace violence not only harms employees physically and psychologically but also results in loss of precious working hours and productivity; it also affects quality of work.
For instance, a report published by the Critical Incident Response Group of the US Department of Justice (Rugala & Isaacs, 2002) indicates that more than 95 percent of simple and aggravated assaults that were reported had occurred in workplaces during 1993-1999. This alarming number is indicative of the lost productivity during this time, which ran into billions of dollars along with medical expenses incurred due to these activities and other losses.
Besides these, Rogers and Chappell (2003) point out that workplace violence can add to further productivity loss due to increased absenteeism and significant reputational loss for the organizations. In legal terms, workplace violence is identified to be of four types namely physical assault, harassment, verbal abuse and threat or coercion (Steinberg, 2007). Through a detailed research to study the impact of co-worker-initiated violence and public-initiated violence, LeBlanc and Kelloway (2002) identified that the former type of violence had greater and negative impact on the emotional well-being of employees, which subsequently affected their commitment and work outcomes, whereas the latter increased risk of workplace violence and employee turnover.
Mayhew (2000) asserts that prevention is the best option to save the organization from various losses incurred from workplace violence. Policies can have a strong impact in this regard. A strong policy will clearly establish rules of acceptable and unacceptable behavior for employees within and outside work premises. A sample workplace violence policy has been presented in Appendix I. Disciplinary actions against reported workplace violence may involve immediate termination, warning, and even criminal proceedings against the offender.
Besides the policy and disciplinary action, organizations should also provide counseling for victims to help them recoup from the mental trauma and immediate medical aid in case of physical injury. Mayhew (2000) has outlined a comprehensive list of best practices that can facilitate prevention of workplace violence. Firstly, it would be a good practice to train all employees in workplace etiquettes and educate them about workplace violence policies. A clear reporting structure to address all types of violence should be established.
Management should also ensure all employees are aware of the reporting structure. This reporting line should be aligned to grievance handling procedures so that employees can report incidents of violence with confidence. Safety and security equipment such as CCTVs, alarms, security systems etc can be of great assistance to prevent violence and its harmful consequences. According to Mayhew (2000), violence from external sources can be prevented by installing security systems to monitor external premises; all employees must be provided ID cards for identity and outsiders should be given limited or no access into the premises.
3. Analysis and critique: Literature study indicates that workplace violence has serious repercussions on employees’ mental and physical wellbeing, their performance and also on overall organizational performance. Prevention of workplace violence becomes the only method to control violence and its consequences. Risk factors that trigger violence can emerge from the individuals as well as be hidden within the organizational setup. Prominent individual risk factors include psychological statuses of individuals, employees’ history of violence, influence of family and friends, alcohol/drug abuse etc.
Other indirect risk factors include age, appearance, experience, health, skills, gender, personality, attitudes and expectations. Some of the workplace risk factors workplace culture, management style, physical features, task structure, leadership etc (Rogers & Chappell, 2003). Role of leaders at all levels is critical to prevention of workplace violence. In fact, every employee has the moral responsibility towards prevention of workplace violence. However, factors such as employees’ personality and history of violence pose greatest challenge to leadership because they cannot take any action until sufficient evidence is procured.
Moreover, incidences of evidence would have already caused significant harm. Workplace violence usually results in victimization of individuals involved in the violence as well as others, thereby leading to illness, injury in physical and mental forms. Therefore, it becomes the moral and ethical responsibility of the employers to provide a safe workplace to their employees. It is also a legal obligation for the employer and an employee right under the law to enjoy a safe and secure working environment. The cost and time required to provide workplace free from violence and also to cope from violence is huge, both for employees and the organization. 4.
Conclusions: To conclude, literature findings point at the need for safe and secure workplace for better organizational outcomes, and employee commitment and motivation. Providing safe and secure workplace is also a legal obligation on organizations. Based on the findings and analyses, it can be opined that the role of every employee is critical in establishing and maintaining a violence-free workplace, which can be achieved through strong and detailed workplace policies. However, these policies need to be reinforced and practiced through training, technology, and effective redressal procedures.
Workplace violence has a negative impact on employees’ performance, motivation and commitment. Organizations have to frame good policies that explain in detail various types of violent behaviors that would be unacceptable, and corresponding disciplinary actions to address them. This training should help them learn to deal with potential risk factors that could spark workplace violence, and also to deal with actual incidents of violence when reported; however, employees must be made to feel free to report or express such experiences.
As a legal obligation, all organizations have to frame workplace safety policies in line with the regulatory statutes for provision of safe and secure workplace. From performance perspective, prevention of workplace violence will also facilitate promotion of organizational culture that is conducive to better employee commitment, performance and therefore, motivation. Nevertheless, safe and secure environment is only one of the many, but critical, prerequisites to better organizational outcomes. References Mayhew, C. (2000). Preventing Violence Within Organizations: A Practical Handbook. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.
Retrieved from, http: //www. aic. gov. au/documents/D/F/2/%7BDF276A88-2527-4272-8265-81879554FE5D%7DRPP29.pdf Roger, K.A and Chappell, D. (2003). Preventing and Responding to Violence at Work. Geneva: International Labour Office. Rugala, E.A and Isaacs, A.R. (2002, June). Workplace Violence: Issues in Response. US Department of Justice. Retrieved from, http: //www. fbi. gov/stats-services/publications/workplace-violence Steinberg, J. (2007). “Workplace Violence and Psychological Trauma. ” In Carli, E.K (Ed. ) Trauma Psychology: Violence and disaster. (Vol 1; pp: 97-124). Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing. Appendix I Source adapted from Rogers & Chappell, 2003; p. 68.