Workplace violence: Assessing organizational awareness and planning interventions
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, this study questions whether time might be better invested in further investigation. The article 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 author reveals that part of the diagnosis process, 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. The article concludes that the use of the awareness development theory can be used to help companies assess their current status and plan initiatives based on awareness level of workplace violence.