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Work place violence can be defined as violence caused by employees on their fellow employees or vive versa. It may include abuses, threats, intimidation, and physical abuse among others. Work place violence is a serious issue that can even lead to a reduction in production in an organization. It also results in increased costs especially when physical violence is used.
Normally, a work place is supposed to be a place where people from diverse geographical areas converge to meet the specific needs of an organization. This is a place where we expect to find peace and tight safety measures because the people employed are actually working to earn a profit.
However, this is not always the case and most of the times some cases of violence are reported. In every organization we have employees who never feel satisfied with what they do or get and will constantly involve themselves in gossiping their fellow workers or the employer. This amounts to violence because such things can get to the person in question and they may cause him distress.
Work place violence is a serious offense that is punishable by law. If the organization is reported to have been abusing the employees, it is liable to pay certain fines and may be forced to compensate the person being abused. There are various types of work place violence which include but not limited to physical abuse, intimidation, threats or abuse, and the use of more aggravated weapons such as knives, furniture, guns among others.
Physical violence is the use of force on someone else it may include kicks, punishments, or slaps. Most violence cases in the work place increase the costs that an organization incurs because of paying medical bills and fines although some costs are indirect for instance destruction of the organization’s image among others.
This paper will look at some of the causes of work place violence, the impacts it has on the performance of industries, and its impacts to the management of human resources. It will go further to include a HR plan that can be used to address this problem and conclude by giving recommendations for the implementation and management of the proposed HR plan.
Scope of Work Place Violence
Work place violence is a problem that is present in almost all industries. It does not affect specific industries but is a common issue in almost every work place. However, the extent of violence differs from one industry to the other because there are some industries with tight security measures and it would be very easy to stop violence because if aggravates.
In other industries, employees have been ignored and few are the times when the employer seems to care about what actually goes on in the workplace. it is worth noting that, it is the responsibility of every employer to ensure that employees are provided with a secure working environment.
This includes providing them with necessary training on safety so that they are able to take care of themselves (King 10). Failing to train employees on safety measures amounts to workplace violence and an employee who has been denied this has a right to sue the employer if something bad happens to him while in the course of carrying out his daily responsibility.
But the question is how man industries provide their employees with the necessary training on safety before they commence their duties? The answer is, very few of the industries we have actually enlighten their employees on such issues. This kind of work place violence is referred to as negligence.
We have witnessed a number of industries where the employers are the ones who abuse the innocent employees. This includes government institutions where employees are forced to have sexual intimacy with their bosses if they want to retain their positions. Others have to part with a certain amount of money if they are to receive promotions.
Corruption has increased in the work place and people who deserve to be rewarded are not, but instead these rewards go to employees who do deserve. In other places, employees are exploited by their employers where they are required to work for many hours with no payment of overtime. Most of these companies are private entities where employees are threatened in case they try to sue the company (King 10).
It is not only employers who cause violence on the employees but fellow employees also cause violence on other employees. This mostly occurs if the employee causing violence is in a high position in the organizational structure. These are the employees who misuse their position to intimidate, abuse, or even threaten other employees.
In some cases, they force their subordinates to perform duties that they have not been assigned. Others are abused physically if they refuse to oblige to their request. The abused employees may fail to report such instances because they fear losing their jobs.
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Causes of Violence in the Work Place
There are many reasons that can trigger employees or employers to cause violence on other employees. This includes anger, hatred, and grudges, among others. The causes of violence can be well understood through analyzing the common types of violence in the work place. There are mainly four types of work place violence; criminal violence, service user violence, worker-on-worker violence, and domestic violence. Criminal violence is caused by individuals or groups of people who do not have a direct relationship with the organization (Bensimon 26).
The main aim of this kind of violence would be to steal cash, stocks of other properties in the premises of the organization. While this is taken place, employees may be injured trying to protect the organization’s property while others may even be killed if they fail to comply with the criminals instructions.
The other type of violence; service user violence is also caused by individuals or groups of people who do not have a direct relationship with the organization but are in one way or the other indirectly related to it. This includes customers or other service users who consume the products or services of a certain organization.
These people many cause violence if they are frustrated with the organization’s products/services or if they feel as if their grievances are ignored or there are given substandard services. Worker-on-worker violence can be caused by grudges, hatred, or can be caused by an employee who feels that he has received unjust disciplinary actions. In other cases, it can be a protest to imposed redundancy.
Last but not least, domestic violence is caused by persons who are not employees or employers in a certain organization but are in one way or the other related to employees who work for the organization this includes spouses, partners, or friends. This kind of violence can be caused by family disagreements and it is perpetrated in the work place simply because the wrongdoer has knowledge of the place where the targeted individual is at that particular time (VanBuren, Anderson and Sabatelli 480).
Impacts of Workplace Violence
The results of work place violence can be detrimental to an organization since they increase costs and cause a reduction in performance. Most of this violence reduces the morale of workers and their motivation to work reduces. It may cause death of some employees, others may be become disabled as a result of physical violence.
It can even cause a lot of pain and distress on employees who may feel frustrated with their work and start looking for other places. The result of this is poor performance both on the side of the employee and the organization. To some extent, workplace violence can be an increased cost to an organization in terms of increased rates of absenteeism.
As violence increases, the work place becomes an unsafe place for many workers who may opt to absent themselves from job rather than face the frustrations that present themselves every day (VanBuren, Anderson and Sabatelli 471).Others may take the option of sick leaves even when they are of sound health. The organization has to incur increased insurance costs, medical bills or even pay fines if the abused sue it in court.
Work place violence may also cause an increase in employee turn over, requiring the organization to incur additional costs every now and then while looking for other employees. The recruitment and selection process is not only expensive but can result in reduced sales revenue because of the appointment of unskilled workers.
Implication of Workplace Violence in Managing Human Resources
Human Resource Management is an indispensable element in the performance of a corporate organization and works together with other departments to achieve the organization’s goals.
There are certain agencies that are required to create and maintain a workplace that is free from the threat of violence. This is done through the development of policies and procedures which should be implemented in the work places through the human resource department.. These policies expect the agency to;
- Communicate a policy statement that prohibits workplace violence
- Appoint a coordinator who is responsible for overseeing that workplace prevention programs are implemented
Develop and implement a crisis management plan
- protect employees who might be victims of violence
- Establish a mechanism that would allow employees to report any case of violence
- Train managers and supervisors on how to identity a condition that can lead to violence and how to address such a situation
On the other hand the human resources department is responsible for providing regular training on workplace violence prevention and management and assists agencies in developing and implementing workplace violence programs and plans. It is worth noting that, the main function of the human resource department is to prevent workplace violence and at the same time, this is the department that is the main target of threats of workplace violence (Bensimon 26).
Human resource planning involves analysis of skills of current workforce, forecasting manpower, and being responsive of customers demand. Human resource planning is important in every organization because it helps the top management to view HR practices in relation to business decision. Human resources become cheaper because HRM can foresee future problems and solve them before they become uncontrollable
To address the issue of workplace violence, I will create a plan which I think should be adopted by all organizations. The purpose of this plan is to prevent workplace violence from occurring and it also outlines the process that should be followed if cases of violence are reported. It is the responsibility of all employees to refrain themselves from cases of violence although they are instances when violence occurs with having intended to do so. This plan has various departments as named below:
- Workplace violence prevention team- this team is made up of a group of employees and serves as a sub committee in the prevention of workplace violence. This team is composed of the director of safety and security, human resources manager and other senior staff. The main purpose of this team is to carry out regular reviews related to workplace violence and provide recommendations on the training or education programs that should be adopted to prevent the problem
- Safety and security office-This office is responsible for receiving all complaints related to workplace violence and respond to the same in a prompt manner. It also has a duty of maintaining all records of violence.
- Human resources office- This office is responsible for providing training to managers and supervisors on topics such as conflict resolution, teamwork, and discipline. It is also responsible for offering training and educational awareness to the other members of staff on ways of preventing violence, respond to violence and the importance of team work (Kirk and Franklin 523).
- Supervisors- It is the responsibility of supervisors to ensure that, employees are provided with a secure working environment. In case of threats or incidents of violence, supervisors are supposed to notify the safety and security office so that prompt measures are taken.
- Employee assistance- An employee assistance program should be put in place to ensure that, employees’ needs, grievances, and request are met at all times. They should so be provided with training of how to respond to anger, resolve conflicts, among other things (Kirk and Franklin 523).
The purpose of this plan is to ensure that, Workplace violence is prevented, all complaints of violence are addressed promptly and to provide employees with a safe working condition.
By providing the supervisors, managers, and employees with training and education awareness on workplace violence, they become more responsible and cases of violence reduces.
Implementation of the HR Plan
To ensure that the plan is properly implemented I would recommend the workplace violence team, safety and security office and the human resources office to work in coordination in providing training to all employees, in ensuring that education and awareness is provided to all members of staff, including the support staff.
All cases of violence should be reported to the safety and security office and more severe cases reported to the nearest local authority. The office of safety and security should carryout investigation to ascertain the causes of violence and the human resources office should be informed of the same so that appropriate disciplinary actions are taken.
The safety and security office should then go ahead and file all cases of violence for reference in future. This plan should be included in Employee orientation handbook and in annual security reports for awareness and proper monitoring.
Bensimon, Helen Frank. Violence in the Work place. Training & Development, January 1994, Vol. 48 Issue 1 P26,
King, Robert O. Work place violence: A growing liability for employers. South Carolina Business journal, November 1994, Vol. 13 Issue 10, p10
Kirk, Delaney J. and Franklin, Geralyn Mcclure. “Violence in the Workplace: Guidance and Training Advice for Business Owners and Managers”, Business and Society Review 2003 108: p523
VanBuren, Trachtenberg Jennifer; Anderson Stephen and Sabatelli, Ronald. Work-home conflict and domestic violence: A test of a conceptual model. Journal of family violence, October 2009, Vol. 24 Issue 7 P471-483