[Press & Publications] Security Journal


August 2000

No 153

  • Job losses lead to violence at work
  • ‘Cyber violence’ targets older workers
  • Simplistic solutions to violence can lead to “witch hunts”
  • Violence against female workers is increasing
  • New insights into violence at work are published in the lastest issue of the Security Journal edited by Dr Martin Gill, Director of the University of Leicester Scarman Centre and Professor Bonnie Fisher, Visiting Fellow at the Scarman Centre, (and based at the University of Cincinnati), and Guest Editor Vaughan Bowie based in Australia.

    Mark Braverman argues that when employers mismanage violence incidents at work it can lead ‘to counterproductive and even dangerous outcomes (which) include overreactions "witch hunts" - that can destroy careers and ruin morale," and that “innocent employees are hurt or victimized because … employers overreact’. The important message of this paper is that employees, unions and employers need to take a less adversarial, destructive approach to dealing with workplace violence in order to be constructive.

    Dr Gill states that ‘Managers are frequently not trained to deal with violence, it is little wonder that they can cause more problems in attempting to solve them. There are plenty of examples like these in the world of security.’

    Similarly Vaughan Bowie in his paper traces the history of workplace violence and businesses treating workers badly and suggests that violence at work can lead to, and is a symptom of, other types of violence including domestic assaults and child abuse.

    Oonagh Barron makes important observations about the similarities and differences betweeen bullying and workplace violence and the tendency, especially within the UK, to accept bullying as part of the process of growing up or being initiated into work. This paper also considers the future of workplace violence.

    Vaughan Bowie states: “'Cyber violence' the use of e-mails and the web to harass, degrade and humiliate workers, and the bullying of older workers by employers in an attempt to force them to leave so they can be replaced by younger, cheaper, more technologically sophisticated staff."

    Dr Gill warns, “We need to be aware that violence is more than physical assault and that technology is not wholly good, and indeed may have quite serious negative consequences which need to be managed.”

    Professor Fisher and Shanon Santana note that violence in the workplace has declined in the 1990s, however, this masks the increase in the number of violent incidents committed against females in the workplace.

    Professor Fisher states “We really need to do be aware that the higher levels of victimisation against woman at home is replicated in the workplace, and there is considerable ignorance about the causes”.

    Dr Gill can be contacted via email: mg26@le.ac.uk; Dr Bowie: v.bowie@uws.edu.au; Professor Fisher: Bonnie.Fisher@uc.edu. Publishers: info@perpetuitypres.co.uk

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