Date of Award

12-2002

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Teaching, Learning, and Leadership (to 2007)

Abstract

Violence is a significant occupational hazard in the American workplace. Nearly a thousand employees are murdered on the job each year and workplacehomicide has become the leading cause of death for women and the second for men. From 1993 to 1999, there were an average of 1.7 million nonfatal violent victimizations each year, accounting for 18% of all violent crime. Although government employees accounted for 18% of the U.S. workforce, they made up 37% of workplace violence victims.

A review of literature found no unified definition of workplace violence. Recent scientific research regarding this problem is rare, despite its increasing effects. Nor is there enough research on the role of human resources management in combating this problem. Available studies do not focus on governmentemployees, in particular, local government.

This research develops a comprehensive definition of workplace violence. It provides a model of the causes of workplace violence as well as a preventative model. The preventative model examines city government and human resources management preparedness to deal with the problem (independent variables), and their correlation with the human resources directors' perception of the level of different types of workplace violence (terror attack, physical and psychological violence, homicide, rape, harassment and threats [dependent variables]).

Surveys were mailed to 236 human resources department directors in cities of more than 100,000 residents. Twenty hypotheses were tested using Chi Square and Spearman Rho's correlation coefficient. Thirteen research hypotheses were accepted. Components of the proposed model of workplace violenceprevention were found to be valid methods of influencing workplace violence as perceived by respondents.

The components were found to have a relationship with workplace violence, include: size of city government, prevention policies, harassment policies, security systems, Employee Assistance Programs, counseling services for violence victims and witnesses, hiring processes, training programs, performance evaluation processes, incentives and compensation systems, disciplinary policies, termination and layoff processes, and grievance and complaint systems. As a result, a modified model is suggested.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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