The Violence-Prone WorkPlace: A New Approach to Dealing with Hostile,Threatening,and Uncivil Behavior

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Almost every week reports of violence erupting in the workplace make headlines. Contrary to popular opinion, such incidents are not random and senseless but, according to Richard V. Denenberg and Mark Braverman, typically result from conflict that has been allowed to fester. Combining the insights of both crisis management and dispute resolution, their book presents a comprehensive look at the problem of violence on the job, including ways of preventing it.Rather than focusing on the supposedly "lethal" or dysfunctional employee as the source of danger, Denenberg and Braverman point to the dysfunctional workplace as the problem. They describe underlying factors in the workplace which can foster extreme behavior and prevent an effective response. Calling for early intervention in situations that could result in violence, the authors suggest specific techniques for reducing the risk that an office, plant, or school will suffer crises arising from threats or a climate of hostility.At the heart of the book are fourteen vivid examples of real-life incidents involving violence, a threat of violence, or a perception that such a threat was made. They include instances in which domestic violence spilled over into the workplace, difficulties caused by racial and ethnic tension, and explosive behavior in response to common workplace occurrences such as downsizing or a change in corporate culture. Each example is followed by an analysis of the response to the actual or potential danger, indicating where mistakes were made because of poor information, bad judgment, absence of a clear policy, lack of consensus, or even irrational fear. An extensive appendix provides government guidelines and sample policies intended to serve as templates for violence-prevention plans. Both the examples and sample policies allow organizations to benefit from the experience of others and avoid common mistakes.
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Editorial Reviews

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"The authors present an innovative approach to identifying, preventing, and, if needed, responding to violence within the workplace by focusing not only on the employee or customer that commits the act but also on the entire system of organization. Most important, the authors argue that organizations that focus on merely responding to violence may be lacking the ability to prevent it. . . . The information provided is an invaluable tool for any type of workplace, from the factory to the law firm. By providing the case studies, Denenberg and Braverman offer an element of 'real life' to the understanding of workplace violence. It is this element that makes this text most useful for arenas outside of academia. Moreover, by using a systematic approach, the book raises the issue of accountability within the workplace. Instead of pointing the finger at the employee who finally 'cracked,' the organization must look to the inside and recognize its own failures."—Christina Lanier, Homicide Studies, February 2004

"I teach courses designed to prevent workplace violence. I particularly like to reference The Violence-Prone Workplace because it is practical and applicable. Many books on violence in the workplace wallow in graphic descriptions. Denenberg and Braverman, on the other hand, thoughtfully analyze what could have been done to prevent violence. Better yet, they examine cases where violence did not occur because appropriate interventions were made. Now, that is something I can offer to participants in my classes. We do not need to add to people's fears, nor do we need to infringe on people's rights to maintain a violence-free workplace. What we do need, however, is precisely what this book offers: awareness coupled with practical steps to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in the workplace. I recommend this book to my students not only because it explains the urgency of assuring safe workplaces, but, even more importantly, because it offers hope that it is possible to do so."—Prof. Corliss Olson, University of Wisconsin

"Given the number of incidents of violence or threatened violence in workplaces and schools during 1999, this volume is timely. The authors' advice on making comprehensive cultural changes and specific plans to make a violence-prone workplace a violence-resistant one should be helpful to many readers."—Mary Carroll, Booklist. December, 1999.

"The authors make the sensible point that a focus by employers on the individual is not enough. What companies need to do is to look at the individual within the context of the system in which his or her behavior is occurring."—Robert Taylor, Employment Editor, The Financial Times, September 24, 1999.

"Denenberg's book discusses how to turn a crisis-prone organization into one that is crisis-prepared. . . . Discusses techniques and model programs for preventing workplace violence based on principles gleaned from case studies. . . "—Journal of Economic Literature. September, 2000.

"A thoughtful view of the dark side of the workplace."—Future Survey 22:5, May 2000.

"Anyone connected with the workplace needs to know the valuable lessons about the origin and impact of workplace violence that Denenberg and Braverman have carefully distilled from the tragedies and case studies analyzed in this book, and then be cognizant of the useful methods they suggest for dealing with the increasing frequency of such occurrences in our society."—Jay S. Siegel, Harvard University

" The Violence Prone Workplace is a revealing collection of true stories of troubled workers. The stakes are very high in these case studies. Richard Denenberg and Mark Braverman give us an invaluable resource for learning how to recognize these situations and deal with them constructively."—Robert J. Rabin, Syracuse University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801487354
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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