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Workplace Violence

Case Study 1
Organizational behavior
Prepared by: Mohamed Safwat Elhabiby ESLSCA, MIBA 35D September 2011

ESLSCA

Workplace violence
Problem definition
Workplace violence is any act of physical violence, threats of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening, disruptive behavior. It can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide, one of the leading causes of job-related deaths. However it manifests itself, workplace violence is a growing concern for employers and employees nationwide. Workplace violence can affect or involve employees, visitors, contractors, and other non-Federal employees.

Justification for problem definition


There are many factors causing workplace violence; at an individual level, within a given population, it is possible to attribute various probabilities of violence to each member of this population based on their personal characteristics. However, the validity, reliability and accuracy of these probabilities are as yet far from guaranteed. The data available make it possible to estimate in a relatively reliable manner that the risk of workplace violence is high for certain population groups with the following characteristics: Having had a violent past Having had a difficult childhood due to maladjusted parents, a stormy relationship with family and a school life marked by failure Having problems with psychotropic substance abuse, especially alcoholism Suffering from a serious mental illness, the symptoms of which have neither been correctly diagnosed nor treated with appropriate therapy Being in a situation which is likely to lead to violent acts against oneself or others, such as having access to firearms.

List of alternative course of action


The attacker usually fits into one of the following categories: a staff member, a client or customer, or a third party or visitor from outside the organization. The following traits generally describe the victim of workplace violence: Wearing a uniform which is perceived very negatively by the attacker. Affected by the stress of overwork or certain light forms of mental illness leading to misunderstanding or misinterpretation on the part of the person who is attacked. Lack of experience in resolvinge difficult problems at work. Women are more likely than men to be victims of violence but respond less aggressively; also more prone are personality types that tend to be demonstrative, expansive, less flexible or less diplomatic, as opposed to the kind of person who tends to be self-effacing in difficult or delicate situations in the workplace. Who are mostly affected? The mentioned below institutes and categories were reported as the highest vulnerable to work violence Health care employees. Correctional officers. Social services employees. Teachers. Municipal housing inspectors. Public works employees. Retail employees.

Evaluate Alternatives
At an individual level, current knowledge does not allow us to predict with sufficient validity, reliability and accuracy whether a given individual from this population group will become violent. The danger of exclusive recourse to a list of characteristics of this type is to wrongly accuse some people of being violent while overlooking those who actually are violent. Moreover, these profiles for

detecting personal risks must be used with extreme caution in order to avoid a discriminatory and prejudicial selection process leading to the exclusion of certain groups and certain individuals, in addition to exposing the organization to legal proceedings. When organizations and their employees have legitimate reason to believe that an individual is at risk of becoming violent, they would be welladvised to offer assistance to this person or, if necessary, restrict his access to the workplace. It is therefore wiser to link potential attackers to certain types of roles in the workplace and their interaction with certain traits of the victim, taking into consideration the specificities of the work environment and the situations most likely to present a risk. The employer should establish a workplace violence prevention program or incorporate the information into an existing accident prevention program, employee handbook, or manual of standard operating procedures. It is critical to ensure that all employees know the policy and understand that all claims of workplace violence will be investigated and remedied promptly. In addition, employers can offer additional protections such as the following: Provide safety education for employees so they know what conduct is not acceptable, what to do if they witness or are subjected to workplace violence and how to protect themselves. Secure the workplace. Where appropriate to the business, install video surveillance, extra lighting, and alarm systems and minimize access by outsiders through identification badges, electronic keys, and guards. Provide drop safes to limit the amount of cash on hand. Keep a minimal amount of cash in registers during evenings and late-night hours. Equip field staff with cellular phones and hand-held alarms or noise devices, and require them to prepare a daily work plan and keep a contact person informed of their location throughout the day. Keep employer provided vehicles properly maintained. Instruct employees not to enter any location where they feel unsafe. Introduce a buddy system or provide an escort service or police assistance in potentially dangerous situations or at night. Develop policies and procedures covering visits by home health-care providers. Address the conduct of home visits, the presence of others in the

home during visits, and the workers right to refuse to provide services in a clearly hazardous situation Proactive solutions The situations which carry the highest risk of internal violence are tied to events that affect the working conditions of employees and are listed as follows: Recruitment, selection and integration of employees. Performance or salary appraisals. Applying disciplinary measures including moving staff around, (transferring from one team to another, demoting, suspending, firing, dismissing without notice). Disputes related to compensation for employment injuries. Exercising a right or obligation in accordance with various labour laws. Whistle blowing with or without the consent of management.

Conclusion and Recommendation


Nowadays, no institute is immune from the threat of workplace violence; prudent, proactive measures can reduce the likelihood of a tragedy and reduce the risk to your business. Nothing can guarantee that an employee will not become a victim of workplace violence. These steps, however, can help reduce the odds:

Learn how to recognize, avoid, or diffuse potentially violent situations by attending personal safety training programs. Alert supervisors to any concerns about safety or security and report all incidents immediately in writing. Avoid traveling alone into unfamiliar locations or situations whenever possible. Carry only minimal money and required identification into community settings.

Finally, try to avoid any possible abnormal act of any employee and be proactive in discovering the employees personality in order to assess their reactions and protect your company from any kind of assault.