Taking steps to prevent ‘going postal’

October 13, 2011

Workplace violence continues to be a topic of great importance to many companies, as tales of extreme cases hit the media. Today’s human resources departments spend a great deal of time preparing for these cases. However, a new study in the journal Advances in Developing Human Resources (ADHR) questions whether time might be better invested in further investigation.

In the article “Workplace Violence: Assessing Organizational Awareness and Planning Interventions,” proposes that using a theory called awareness development to assess employees responses to situations can help HR departments better craft their workplace violence policies and procedures.

“The complexity of workplace violence demands a thoughtful diagnosis that provides a clear assessment of the organization’s current situation so chosen strategies are appropriate,” wrote author Martin B. Kormanik.

Part of that diagnosis process, Kormanik contends, is surveying employees to see where they are in one of the five stages of awareness development. These stages include pre-encounter (having little to no knowledge of workplace violence), intellectualization (having knowledge but no experience with workplace violence), encounter (having experience with workplace violence), empowerment (seeking strategies to adapt or cope after workplace violence), and integration (regaining a sense of control after workplace violence). In this study, most of the participants’ organizations fell into the intellectualization stage.

Participants said “the largest percentage of the organization ‘talks a good game’ but has limited awareness of workplace violence issues,” wrote Kormanik.

The author suggests the use of the awareness development theory to help companies assess their current status and plan initiatives based on awareness level of workplace violence.


The article entitled “Workplace Violence: Assessing Organizational Awareness and Planning Interventions” from Advances in Developing Human Resources is available free for a limited time at: http://adh.sagepub.com/content/13/1/114.full.pdf+html .

Advances in Developing Human Resources (ADHR), published bi-monthly, focuses on the issues that help you work more effectively in human resource development. The journal spans the realms of performance, learning, and integrity within an organizational context. Balancing theory and practice, each issue of the journal is devoted to a different topic central to the development of human resources. http://adh.sagepub.com/

SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. Since 1965, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students spanning a wide range of subject areas including business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology, and medicine. An independent company, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC. www.sagepublications.com

Contact: Ashley Loar
SAGE Publications


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