February 26, 2009

University researchers to study violence at work

Psychologists from the University of Sheffield will examine the causes and effects of work-related violence and bullying in a groundbreaking new study, thanks to a £97,000 grant from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

Violence at work is an emerging issue which can leave victims prone to anxiety, depression and, in a minority of cases, suicide. A wide range of workers, from police officers to call centre employees, are known to suffer from physical violence and verbal aggression in the workplace.

Work-related violence and bullying have implications not just for victims, but also for the health and well-being of those who witness them. The effects are also felt at an organisational level, for example through staff absences.

The research team, from the University´s Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) and the Department of Psychology, will be one of the first to examine both violence and bullying instigated from within organisations (by other employees), and from outside of organisations (by customers), in the same study.

Many acts of violence, aggression and incivility - especially those originating from outside an organisation - are difficult to predict and prevent. The researchers will therefore focus on how to limit the effects violence and bullying have on employees´ well-being and health.

The researchers will measure the impact of violence and bullying over time to enable greater insight into the causes and detrimental effects.

Christine Sprigg, from IWP, said: "Recent research has suggested value in considering external and internal sources of workplace violence simultaneously. Based on these initial findings, this will be the first time a single study has considered both the intra- and extra-organisational forms of violence and bullying.

"We look forward to working with a number of organisations to deliver our findings to IOSH. Without their support we would not be able to gather the evidence that is needed to give the correct advice to those who have to deal with these difficult issues."

Notes for Editors: The research team includes Christine Sprigg and Dr Karen Niven, both from the Institute of Work Psychology, and Dr Chris Armitage from the Department of Psychology.

The team is inviting a range of organisations and employees to collaborate with the research. Organisations interested in this groundbreaking research should contact Dr Karen Niven, Research Assistant, on 0114 2223268 or email k.niven@sheffield.ac.uk or Christine Sprigg, Lead Investigator, on 0114 2223263 or email c.a.sprigg@sheffield.ac.uk

From: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk


Anonymous said...

And are those universities who delight in wpb going to take part???

We've got some great bullying going on here - we'll join your research project...

Maybe the targets could nominate their universities or check on the Hall of Shame on this blog.

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

From the bulliedblogger on THE - which seems to have lasted two weeks...

Bullying is never just about individuals, it is about organisations which allow the concentration of power---without transparency, without accountability, without consequences.

Bullies only bully because they know that they are part of a caste which will never be held accountable: not for poor performance, incomptence, lack of professionalism or abuse. of power.

Bullies know how to identify those in the university---whose voices will simply not be believed, not be listened to, most likely will not even be heard. When you have such fundamental levels of disempowerment and concentrations of unchecked power---what else would you get?

We can only begin to challenge this collectively---by working collectively to support those being bullied and in the long-run working to change the structures and processes which allow so much unaccountability at so many levels.

Aphra Behn