Edited by E. Kevin Kelloway and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 4: Workplace Violence in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
4. Workplace violence in small and medium sized enterprises 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,...
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