The rates of institutional violence are getting higher in the world of nowadays. Employees of various career fields tend to become involved into violence at the workplace. The individuals that suffer from workplace violence the most often are the workers of service providing professions that have to be in contact with various individuals daily and for many hours. At times, certain issues may result in serious conflicts where one of the sides becomes victimized.
For the workers of service providing professions it is important to know the main precipitating factors that increase the risk of getting into a violent situation in order to prevent it from happening. The increasing number of handguns and other kinds of weapons carried by individuals is definitely one of the most important risk factors causing institutional violence, as it empowers individuals to act aggressively (Stokowski 2010).
Interaction with mentally unhealthy people is another precipitating factor putting service providers at risk of getting injured or attacked. Unrestricted movement within the institutions allows dangerous and aggressive individuals freedom of victimizing the employees. Lengthy lines and waiting also makes clients impatient and nervous and may result in fights.
Isolated work with clients is another way to put workers at risk of getting attacked. Besides, the environments around the institutions such as dark parking lots may become locations suitable for violence. Finally, lack of training in conflict prevention provided for the staff increases the risk of being involved into unresolved conflicts.
Institutional culpability as a cause or one of the risk factors increasing the chance of an employee getting becoming victimized at the workplace is absence of conflict resolution training provided by the organization for its workers. Institutions with multiple risk factors of workplace violence ought to provide their employees with special means of protection such as security devices.
When an employee is victimized and they get injured because of inability to protect themselves, the damage is caused due to the institutional culpability because the organization could not or did not want to be on the safe side and afford some security training and devices for the workers (James & Gilliland 2012).
Staff culpability occurs when a worker of a service providing institution caused the act of violence from the side of a client. For example, employees that work very slow causing huge lines of waiting clients are at risk of being confronted by an aggravated individual or a group of people. Employees that behave inappropriately during the conflict also risk to become victimized.
Examples of inappropriate workplace behavior are rudeness, insults addressed to the employees, intended provocation of a fight, intrusive comments, and at times, even telling a nervous client to calm down may become the starting point of a heated argument.
Legal liability for the cases of institutional violence falls on the employer in a situation when a worker becomes victimized by a client for the reasons unrelated to any personal aspects. Basically, when a perpetuator of violence could have attacked any other employee if they happened to the there at the moment, the employer is liable to the employee victimized by a third party (Wellington-James 2011).
At the same time, when an employee is victimized based on a personal reason and violence is directed against a particular person the employer cannot be liable. An act of violence committed by one employee against another also makes their employer liable to the victim-employee in case if the act of violence was predictable and could have been prevented by means of careful supervision, care and control.
Nine-stage model for crisis intervention developed by Piercy contains instructions helping the employees to avoid workplace conflicts with clients. The first step recommends to start with establishing polite and respective relationship, applying active listening and being responsive. According to the second step, an employee has to encourage the client to express negative emotions and painful feelings, this helps create a new experience and provide emotional care.
Step three encourages the employee to discuss the reasons of conflict with the client, listening to the complaints carefully and responding in a supportive and polite way. Assessing the clients’ needs and strengths is step four. This step requires the employee’s attention to the demands of the client and their positive sides, which may be courage, will power, honesty. In the fifth stage the employee must provide the client with the explanation of the reasons that caused an incident the client is angry or upset about.
This helps the aggressively motivated individual get closure and let go of the negative emotions quicker. In the next step the employee is to help the client find the most appropriate solution to their issue and move on from the dangerous phase of the conflict. The seventh step is to find out the final goals of the client to provide more sensitive assistance.
The next step comes when the client gains satisfaction and returns to the calm and peaceful state they experienced before the conflict. The final step of the model is providing follow-up by means of contacting the client after the conflict and making sure they are doing and feeling well.
These steps are the key to understanding and balanced interaction with the clients that provide safety and better moods for both sides and creating a harmonious and safe workplace for the employees. Institutional violence is a dangerous phenomenon; service providers must address and avoid it at any cost as this could potentially save their lives and health.
James, R. & Gilliland, B. (2012). Crisis Intervention Strategies. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Stokowski, L. A. (2010). Risk Factors for Workplace Violence. Web.
Wellington-James, K. T. (2011). Workplace Violence: Legal Liability and Prevention.