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What are some of the major causes of violence in the workplace? What can firms

do to defuse this situation?



  Workplace violence is definitely a hot-topic in the field of HRM in today’s modern business environment. While there are various circumstances that can lead to workplace violence, most often the triggers are personal stressors. Some common circumstances that can lead to stressful situations are company mergers, layoff or corporate closures, demotions or disciplinary actions, major personal loss (ie. death or divorce), financial problems, or holiday seasons (Saint Lukes, n.d.). Workplace violence is not discriminatory, all business can be subject to this tragedy. However, there are certain business environments that are at a much higher risk. For example, employees who deal with the public, especially those who exchange money and employees who work late night shifts or in high-crime areas (U.S. Department of Labor, 2002). Companies nationwide are faced with workplace violence and there are various preventive measures that businesses can enforce to mitigate this risk and increase the safety of their employees. The initial step is to establish a zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence and make sure it is widely publicized throughout your organization (U.S. Department of Labor, 2002). Another preventive strategy is to provide safety education so employees know what unacceptable behavior is and what to do if they bear witness to this type of behavior (U.S. Department of Labor, 2002). Employers should secure the workplace environment by installing cameras, extra lighting, alarm systems, security guards, and limit access to the facility through the use of security badges and checkpoint entry (U.S. Department of Labor, 2002). There are many other things that employers and employees themselves can do to reduce the risk of workplace violence, but unfortunately we cannot totally eradicate it. That is why it is equally important to educate your employees on what to do if they find themselves in a violent workplace situation.


Saint Lukes (n.d.) Dealing with Violence in the Workplace: Causes of Violence. Retrieved February 10, 2020, from

U.S. Department of Labor (2002). Workplace Violence. Retrieved February 10, 2020, from



There can be many causes of violence in the workplace, and it often depends upon the specific workplace or organization as to what may cause workplace violence. However, some of the major causes of workplace violence could begin with bullying and occupational stress, which can often be caused by employer negligence. (Johnson, 2014) Workplace violence can lead to a psychological condition called PTED which is similar to PTSD. Workplace violence is also the leading cause of death for women in the workplace, and 18% of all crimes that are committed are committed in the workplace, also according to Johnson. Bullying and other forms of workplace violence begin when employers fail to create a safe working environment. A safe working environment is generally something that most organizations guarantee or claim to guarantee throughout the hiring process, as it should be labeled as a top priority for prospective employees. 

Firms can put in place prevention programs and other forms of cooperative assistance to ensure that their organization does not contain any form of workplace violence. The hiring process is also important in this situation, as employers should seek to hire those who have no history or outlook of possible violence as well as performing routine background checks on every prospective employee. Solutions can also be available through Dispute Resolution Centers and Restorative Justice centers, if an act of workplace violence has already occurred. 


“Workplace Violence.” Johnson, K. (2014). Retrieved from:

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