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Violence in the Workplace: a Case Study

In: Business and Management

Submitted By 7egaz
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Contemporary Management
Class 48A

Violence in the Workplace: A Case Study

Problem Definition: Rising rates of violence in the workplace have reached epidemic levels, causing distress to its victims, their families, and the businesses. Steps should be taken to prevent future incidents of this nature, however there is no clear consensus on the best method.

Problem Justification: Called by some a “National Epidemic”, workplace violence now affects nearly half of US workers. The exact numbers may vary, but were stated by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as 20,000 assaults and 792 homicides in 2005 alone. Clearly, this problem not only has negative effects on the victims of these incidents, but it also affects their families and communities in both financial and psychological ways. It also affects the companies where such incidents take place in multiple ways. It can lead to loss of morale between employees, and can lead to financial losses by the company for compensation to the affected parties. Most importantly, it sometimes has serious legal repercussions, as in the case of the lawsuit against Lockheed Martin in the aftermath of the Doug Williams shooting incident. So what can be done to prevent or reduce the prevalence of workplace violence?

Possible Soultions: 1) Installing metal detectors in the workplace. 2) Employee screening process during the hiring process to avoid hiring at-risk individuals 3) Early detection and warning system coupled with psychiatric advisors for employees.

Solution Details: 1) Installing metal detectors in the workplace.
Explanation: Installing metal detectors at the entrances of the offices or factories
Pros: Would prevent the entrance of guns or other weapons that can be used to commit violence.
Cons: Does not take into account the possibility that ordinary items (such as a chair or computer monitor) found in the workplace can be used to commit violence. In addition, it does not solve the underlying issue that can cause an employee to commit this violence.

2) Employee screening process during the hiring process to avoid hiring at-risk individuals.
Explanation: Employers should run background checks on all applicants and avoid hiring personnel with a history of violence or a known problem with aggressive behavior.
Pros: Can ensure that the workplace is only filled with well adjusted, psychologically healthy individuals, who have less risk of committing violent acts.
Cons: Does not take into account that many of the violent acts were committed by people with no prior history of aggression.

3) Early detection and warning system coupled with psychiatric advisors for employees.
Explanation: Employers should closely monitor employees and check for early warning signs need to be aware of at-risk employees who may commit violent acts and should encourage other employees to report any aggressive behavior they witness. Those employees deemed to be at risk can get free psychiatric consultation that may help them deal with their anger issues in a safe way.
Cons: Burdens the company with extra costs for the psychiatric evaluations and treatment.

Recommendations: By looking at the pros and cons of each, I suggest we propose applying solutions 2 and 3 simultaneously. Companies should not hire violent individuals as employees, plus it should take care of its existing employees and their psychiatric health.

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