Workplace Violence why Occur

Workplace violence comes in many different forms – from the abuse and bullying among fellow employees rivaling for opportunities, to the disgruntled customer verbally or physically attacking a staff member; from an injustice perpetrated by an outsider robbing the organization, to the socio-pathic manager abusing junior staff members over whom they have power.

There is no simple reason as to why workplace violence occurs but rather many factors that come together to produce trouble, yet often violence can be prevented by understanding why it occurs.

1. Service industry without adequate systems for complaints. Any workplace providing a service to the public needs to have an effective system for resolving complaints. Services from teaching and nursing and retail, to transport and government and recreation centres need a fair, functional system that makes it possible for customers to resolve grievances. Without this the workplace is set to be fraught with difficulties originating from disgruntled customers. They may become verbally violent and possibly physically abusive if they are left frustrated with no process to handle their grievance. The customer violence stems from a just sense of anger at personal suffering from employee incompetence.

2. Inadequate management. Violence among employees often stems from inadequate management where employees are set up to be rivals instead of team-mates and where employee jealousies are not eased. Bad management includes unfair treatment, favoritism, poor communication and failure to terminate bullying among employees. All these factors contribute to employees being violent towards each other. The violence stems from poor management practice that does not resolve employee differences but which stimulates injustices to the point of frustration, anger and violence.

3. Poor security systems. Workplace violence that originates from outside the organization is often due to poor security systems. Workplaces are targets for criminals a thieves and without a sound security system employees will be targets for criminals. They may experience physical and verbal violence even risking life while on the job. The violence stems from outside greed that seeks to own resources the employee is tending.

4. Lack of control on management. Workplace violence that stems from a manager wielding power over juniors often arises from lack of proper controls on management. Positions of power need to be monitored and scrutinized to ensure that power is not abused. Lack of scrutiny and no system of accountability for managers stimulates violence towards juniors. The violence arises from positions of power being abused.

Understanding some of the main sources of violence in the workplace – internal and external; power and lack of control on power – will help prevent the different types of workplace violence that occur.