Occupational Health and Safety for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
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Occupational Health and Safety for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Edited by E. Kevin Kelloway and Cary L. Cooper

Small and medium sized enterprises constitute the vast majority of businesses in most developed economies. Although a large number of people are employed in such organizations, research and practice in occupational health and safety has largely ignored the unique challenges of this sector. In this highly relevant book, international experts in the field summarize existing knowledge and identify the best practices for enhancing occupational health and safety in small and medium sized enterprises. The authors specifically identify solutions that are appropriate for small businesses.
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Chapter 4: Workplace Violence in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

E. Kevin Kelloway and Michael Teed


E. Kevin Kelloway and Michael Teed Research on workplace violence has proliferated in recent years (Kelloway et al., 2005) reflecting the concerns that all organizations share about the risks entailed. Sufficient data have now accumulated to allow a clear picture of what the risks of workplace violence actually are, and to dispel the many myths that have grown up around issues of workplace violence (Barling et al., 2009). In this chapter we review this burgeoning literature with a specific focus on the risk of workplace violence in small and medium sized enterprises. We begin by defining, and commenting on the prevalence of, workplace violence. We then review the risk factors for workplace violence, highlighting the specific risks that are attendant in many forms of small business. Finally we conclude by examining research that has specifically focused on the risk of violence, and the implementation of violence prevention strategies in small and medium sized enterprises. DEFINING WORKPLACE AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE There are a variety of behaviors that comprise the construct domain of workplace aggression, including seemingly minor, non-physical behaviors such as being glared at, more serious non-physical behaviors such as verbal threats, and actual physical assaults with or without the use of a weapon. Given this range of behavior, it is not surprising to find inconsistencies in the literature regarding how workplace aggression has been conceptualized and operationalized. Some researchers, for example, have narrowly operationalized aggression by considering only physically aggressive behaviors, such as assaults (e.g. Kraus et al., 1995), whereas...

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