Customer-perpetrated work-related violence: prevalence and trends in Britain

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BackgroundIncidents of work-related violence (WRV) have increased over the years. These can be damaging to both individual psychological well-being and organizational performance.AimsTo examine the prevalence and causes of customer-perpetrated WRV in Britain over a 12 year period. Demographic, work and perpetrator’s personality characteristics were examined as predictors of WRV.MethodsData from the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) across 2001–13 were filtered specifically to explore responses from victims of customer-perpetrated crime within the working population.ResultsOn average, 22% of all violent crimes committed by customers occurred in the workplace. Further analysis showed that differences in gender, age as well as managerial/supervisory duties, working hours, employment status, organizational size and occupation were significantly related to incidents of WRV. Perpetrators’ personality characteristics were also perceived as predictors of WRV.ConclusionsThis paper provides an alternative approach for reporting customer-perpetrated WRV. Violence at work is considered a widespread problem within the organizational studies literature, which can lead to a variety of stress-related symptoms in affected workers. Based on the current study’s findings, a theoretical model is proposed to help combat customer-perpetrated WRV, and as a basis for future research.

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