|Violence at Work - Second Edition (ILO, 2000, 192 p.)|
|PART I: UNDERSTANDING VIOLENCE AT WORK|
|Chapter 3. Explanations|
It is suggested that a far more promising approach to an understanding of workplace violence is to be found in an interactive analysis of both individual and social risk factors, with particular attention being given to the situational context in which certain types of work tasks are performed. Analysis of this type is limited principally to a single study that also has attached to it a most valuable framework in which to consider violence at work. The study, conducted for the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive by the London-based Tavistock Institute of Human Relations,15 recognized that a number of factors could cause or contribute to a risk of violence at work:
15 Poyner and Warne, 1988.
The problem may lie in the assailant, in that there may be something about him which makes him strike out at the employee. The employee may be partly to blame because of incompetence or because of an unsympathetic attitude, or the way the organization works may sometimes lead to misunderstanding or frustration.16
16 ibid., 1988, p. 2. Bowie has also stressed the importance of this interactive approach in his analysis of ways of coping with workplace violence. See Bowie, 1996.
The Tavistock researchers then brought together in a framework or model the various factors they found to be relevant in explaining how an interaction between an assailant (perpetrator) and an employee (victim) produced a violent outcome in the workplace. This model, modified substantially, is displayed in figure 12.17
17 See Poyner and Warne, 1988, pp. 2-7. A revised version of the model has also appeared in HSE: Review of workplace-related violence, prepared by the Tavistock Institute for the Health and Safety Executive, Contract Research Report, No. 143/1997, London, 1997.
It should be emphasized that while the basic Tavistock model has been maintained, it has to a significant degree been expanded here in order to incorporate some of the issues explored earlier in this Chapter, and in Chapter 2, including the risk factors associated with the prediction of violence and the types of work task or situation recognized as having an increased vulnerability to aggressive acts. The model shown here also adds detail to the outcome or consequences of a violent interaction, linking the impact of the aggression back to the workplace, and to the victim and perpetrator.
The model requires more detailed elaboration under each of the principal headings shown.