Workplace Violence is one of the prevalent issues that the world is facing today because of the diversity in the workforce brought about by the globalization. The term globalization may seem positive for major reasons, but in some note, it could create problems in the society, even in the work force. Since the organizations are now composed of people from different races, different backgrounds, opinions, philosophy and level of education, rift between parties are not a surprise.
Since it’s inevitable that workers in the organization may have some disagreements on the ideas or point, it is therefore important for employees, management and all members of the organization to understand the concept and definition of workplace violence in order to create a benchmark if the arguments are just plain arguments or it already falls under the category of violence. In this way, management will now be able to design the best strategy to address this certain issue.
Workplace violence is not only happening in your organization or in your friend’s organization. It can happen in everyone, anytime and anywhere. Therefore, it is just important that companies have policies with regards to the situation and appropriate consequences for the perpetrator or assistance such as counseling, training, experts’ opinion for the victim.
To better understand of what is workplace violence, the root causes of why this is happening, this research aims to address this issue and seeks to recognize the real cause of violence in the workplace. This paper also contains information that will give additional information for employees on how to overcome workplace violence or how to defend themselves when they’re faced with such kind of situation.
This paper also address company’s hurdle with regards to workplace violence and some strategies on how to monitor the behavior of employees (e.g. CCTV) and methodologies to address workplace violence in the organization (e.g. seek experts opinion, design policies, etc). At the near end of this paper, the researcher also discussed the legal issues with regards to the topic in order to supply information to the reader that there are laws that address workplace violence. Lastly, at the very end of this paper, the researcher highlighted some bigger challenges with regards to this issue. Thus, after reader reading this paper, the researcher hopes that the reader will gain new insight about workplace violence and spread the knowledge gained to help lessen the occurrence or incidence of this practice.
Globalization has greatly affected our lives and our lives processes. Goods and services from one country are now widely available in other countries and workers from one country are now welcomed to work in other countries. This phenomenon allowed other workers of different races to work in one company, which now comprise the diverse workforce in the world. Businesses are composed of diverse people working together for the success of the company. These people working for the company comes from different background and place of origin.
It’s inevitable to have complications and rift among the attitudes of the people in the organization because of these differences, this rift may be one of the causes of Violence in the Workplace. Violence is happening in our surrounding though sometimes we are not aware of it. Violence may happen in school, organization, work place and even in our own house. In this regard, we will be discussing work place violence and relate it to strategic management of each company. In this paper, we will also be discussing on how to overcome
Understanding Workplace Violence
Work Place is defined by the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as any violence that happened in the place of work against a co-worker or any staff that works for the same organization or event from other firms. It can be a form of threat, physical violence, homicide, verbal arguments or any other unspoken gestures.
This workplace violence may be the result of differences that are not settled, jealousy over co-employee or just a simple understanding because of the differences in opinion, ideas and ranks. Due to changes in company structures, people and the organization of functions, workplace violence is one of the growing concerns of companies nowadays. According to the US Department of Justice, in the year 1987 up to 1992, the number of work-related violence has increased gradually and reported that one of six violent crimes are actually happening in the workplace either co-employee being attacked, harassed or abused. The growing number of workplace violence poses threat to employees that’s why some are actually seeking for work from home jobs in order to avoid such incident may happen to them.
According to the article of Sharif, B. (2003) of the California State University at Los Angeles entitled Understanding and Managing Job Stress: A Vital Dimension of Workplace Violence Prevention, one of the prevalent causes of Workplace Violence is the Job Stress experienced by an employee. Job Stress may be the result of changes in the organization, workloads, pressing deadlines for proposal; technology used job function, sales quota and others which may add burden to the employee.
According to the article of Sharif, Job Stress is one of the Top ten causes of health problems and violence in the workplace as job stress triggers physiological, emotional, and even psychological difficulties for the employees and according to the researches of Blix, Cruise, Mitchell and Blix (1993), it caused the firm about $150 billion annual loss because of absenteeism, hospitalization and other medical benefits. In this regard, companies are continuously seeking for professional advices on how to prevent, stop or avoid workplace violence in the organization.
How to Overcome Workplace Violence and its legal issues
Workplace violence is now one of the issues or challenges that the companies are facing. No companies are spared with this violence, even small companies are actually experiencing these problems and up until now some of them are still searching for alternatives or solutions to overcome this problem. However, since the structure of each organization is unique and the culture, practices and customs are different from that of the others, laying out resolution for this type of problem or issue is very hard for each organization needs to suit the solution to their own protocol and based on the issue that arise in the company.
Therefore, there is no fix or one single strategy to resolve this kind of problem in the organization, hence, every organization should design their resolution in relation to their company policies and the type of violence they are experiencing. Thus, each organization needs to have multi disciplinary approach to the workplace related violence. Also, there’s no organization that can make single approach to different type of violence in the office for different violence may need different solution and needs to be given different level of attention by the management or the human resource department (e.g. attention to sexual harassment and bullying).
Therefore, in order for the concerned agencies to identify the best solution to the issue, they should understand first the root cause of the behavior or the instance that had happen in the workplace. In order to address this issue, companies are designing module which contains readings and things to remember by employees when they are faced with such issues.
According to the article of Rita Rizzo & Don Philpott about workplace violence, companies can actually design a model of violence-prevention protocols for the whole organization along with proper training, orientation and hand out materials to be given to the employees; companies can conduct awareness programs in the office or drill so that the employees will become familiarize with the defense mechanisms; or companies can put up counseling group that would help the victim recover from the trauma.
The US Department of Labor also suggests that companies should provide employees enough education about the issue and on how to protect themselves; securing the workplace by installing CCTV or surveillance cameras on all the corners of the workplace to monitor employee actions; and just by developing set of do’s and don’ts that all employee should follow to avoid issues or problems, thus, avoiding workplace violence. Other agencies are also proposing several ways on how to prevent or avoid workplace violence, however, the best weapon still depends on the employee or the victim themselves – knowing the proper defense mechanism or strategies when cornered in certain situation. Lastly, reporting the incident will also be a huge help for the management to give certain attention to the issue and correct the behavior of the doer or lay out appropriate punishment to the perpetrator.
In some cases, Workplace violence up to some extent already falls on the legal action. There are actually laws that protect an individual in the workplace or even the company from the situation. In Australia for example, under the occupational health and safety laws designed for their workers, employers are the one that should ensure the safety of each worker especially during work and in the constitution of Australia especially in the Work Cover New South Wales, an employer shall be punished in failure to perform the duty of protecting the employees. The penalty according to their legislation is $550,000 for the first offense and about $55,000 for other cases.
The Biggest Challenge in resolving Workplace Violence
In the US, there are 20 million workers who worked for non-governmental offices which most workers works for firms that have 20 employees or fewer. Though some researchers said that employees in small firms are getting the least paid and is composed of lowest status worker, they are not spared from workforce violence than any other type of business.
Since these companies are small, they don’t usually have budget or programs for workforce violence, less training capabilities and they offer less security for employees making the employees more at risk and they are the ones who received less prevention from workforce violence. Also, owners of small businesses tend to have less knowledge on human resources issues, legal matters and other workplace violence resources that they could use when they are faced with this kind of situation.
Since these small businesses employs large chunk in the workforce statistics, the government and even non-governmental organization are seeking a bigger challenge on how to protect the people working in this segment and up until now, it is still on the debate on who should protect the workers for small businesses.
I am aware that there are violence that are happening in my surrounding but honestly, I don’t have the idea on what are the causes of these violence and what triggers a person to harm a co-worker or just commit that kind of actions. As innocent as it may be, I just know that since people are just working for the company, they just basically do their job for the whole day then go in and out of the office.
The primary purpose of a person to go to the office is work on the job he/she is assigned based on the job description presented on the date of employment. However, after reading articles about workplace, I came to understand that in the workplace, people also socialize with his/her co-workers, and thus, they get to exchange ideas with each other.
I do know that globalization has greatly affected our ways of living, our culture, customs and tradition. Everything is changing from the clothes we wear and the languages we speak, this is because of globalization. Since change is inevitable in this type of world, people, the academe and even the businesses are going with the flow or adopting to this change in order to not to be stock in the past and discover possible benefits of this changes in our world.
Being able to adapt to changes also means that the personality or the company is flexible enough and are expected to last for sometime because it is able to adapt to its environment. In business, there are also gradual changes that happened in the operation, work force, customs and practices, technology and even with the management which poses threats, stress and burden to the employees and anyone who are part of the organization. Some may be able to adapt to this changes without any flaws, some are not, thus, they often result to bad habit and later on, they are committing violence which does not only hurt the themselves through their performance, they are also hurting the company customs.
After reading the articles related to workforce violence, I have learned that workplace violence isn’t contain on physical violence inflicted on other person but also involves verbal abuse, bullying, nonverbal communication and others. An employee might not notice at first that he/she is facing certain degree of workplace violence because of some unspoken violence because of non-verbal form of violence.
Because of this critical present issue, companies are on the rush on designing their own mechanisms and strategies on how to overcome this so-called workplace violence in order to protect their core employees and as well protect their company’s reputation. Based on my readings and based on the writings above, I have learned that businesses are designing policies; methods to supply more information for their employees, conduct trainings for employees, and consult legal experts about the issue and other companies even install numerous CCTV or surveillance cameras in the office in order to monitor the behavior of its employees. In such way, companies are hoping to resolve the issue as they occur and be able to keep their employees aware of how to defend themselves when they’re faced with such kind of situation.
Though the world is facing a greater challenge in the future because of the proliferation of small businesses who are less likely to implement a violence protection program for their employees, I am still confident that as of the moment, there are lots of concerned organization that will take care of that up until these small companies will be able to design their own protocols with regards to this issue. Thus, addressing this issue in casual or legal ways is still very important for employees in order for them to fell secured when they’re at their place of work.
Chauhan, D.S. ()Bowling Green State University. Preventing Violence in the Workplace: Threat Assessment and Prevention Strategies. Public Administration & Management: An Interactive Journal 4, 3, 1999, pp. 370-374
Isaacs, Arnold R. (2001). Workplace Violence: Issues in Response. US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Critical Incident Response Group National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia. Edited by Eugene A. Rugala, Supervisory Special Agent Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2001
Philpott, Don and Rizzo, Rita. Workplace Violence: A Seven-Step Process to Address and Manage Potentially Violent Situations in the Workplace, Covering the full life-cycle of the event from Prevention – Threat Recognition – Mitigation – Response. Published by Government Training Inc. ISBN: 978-0-9844038-7-5
Sharif, Behjat A. Ph.D., CHES (2000), Associate Professor, California State University at Los Angeles . Understanding and Managing Job Stress: A Vital Dimension of Workplace Violence Prevention. Posted in the International Electronic Journal of Health Education, 2000; 3(2):107-116
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (2002). Workplace Violence: OSHA Factsheet
WorkCover. Workplace violence and legal consequences. Work Cover New South Wales and the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre ACN 062 253 874
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