Understanding Tolerance and Expectations of Employee Workplace Violence (WPV) – IN PROGRESS
Workplace violence (WPV) is on the rise and organizations struggle to identify employees at risk of becoming violent. Behavioral sciences tell us that people need to share their feelings, air grievances, and process unsatisfactory or upsetting situations; however, these grievances may lead to toxic workplace behavior and, at worst, fatal or serious injuries to fellow employees. Violence is not simply an event: it is the result of an escalating process. Coworkers often see potential “red flags” or prior incidents of aggression and workplace violence involving an employee, but did not perceive the behavior as concerning enough to report. Employees explain these away or have other reasons for not reporting. The lack of reporting aggression and potential violence can result in missed opportunities for de-escalation. To date, WPV research relies on use case data from previous incidents. MITRE is conducting a research study that will produce a data-driven understanding of the reasonable expectations employees have when a coworker might react in or escalate into an aggressive or violent manner. MTRE has developed a methodology on how to research WPV, and is gathering life-saving data on its recognition and tolerance using a nationwide sample of 2,000 employees. Understanding the types of coworker interactions that prompt concern (vs. the types of interactions that do not cause concern) will help in the data driven, evidence-based development and strengthening of behavioral indicators for existing WPV Prevention Programs. Additionally, identifying thresholds at which coworkers reasonably expect an act of WPV to be imminent will aid in earlier risk recognition and reporting.