Is Work Psychology an Important Factor in Controlling Violence, Safety And Health Conditions In The Working Place?
- Boodhoo Zohyah Bibi Shaheena
Work psychology refers to the study of human behavior in the working environment. The key role of work psychology is to understand the conduct of employees in order to promote the smooth running of any organization. Understanding work psychology may have a number of benefits to an organization as it focuses on increasing the organization’s productivity and also the psychological and physical wellbeing of employees. The task of a work psychologist is to study worker’s attitudes and also conduct leadership training. Workplace violence, in terms of occupational health and safety, is one of the most important problems of working life.
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Richards (2003) defined as “Incidents where staff are abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances related to their work, including commuting to and from work, involving an explicit or implicit challenge to their safety, well-being or health” Workplace violence includes not only physical but also non-physical violence. For example; workplace violence includes physical assault, homicide, robbery, verbal abuse, bullying/mobbing, swearing, shouting, sexual and racial harassment, name calling, threats, interfering with work tools and equipmentWorkplace violence negatively affects not onlythe direct victims of such behavior, but also thosewho witness such violence. To witness violence of any sort in the workplace may cause concern toworkers that they themselves may face this type of violence in the future. Studies have shown that thefear of violence creates a negative relationship between emotional wellbeing and somatic health
There is a certain way individuals behave in a particular situation. No two individuals behave in similar ways. There are individuals who find it difficult to handle stress whereas there are certain individuals who have the ability to face unforeseen circumstances with a smile.
Employee behaviour is defined as an employee’s reaction to a particular situation at workplace. Employees need to behave sensibly at workplace not only to gain appreciation and respect from others but also to maintain a healthy work culture. One needs to adhere to the rules and regulations of workplace. Remember, Office is not a place where you can shout on fellow workers, spread rumours, criticize your Boss and so on. You just can’t afford to be rude with your team members. Be polite and speak softly. Do not forget that you are not the only one working; there are other people around as well. Some people have a tendency to have their lunch at their workstations only. Such a behaviour is completely unprofessional.
Male employees need to respect their female counterparts. Never ever think of sexually harassing your female team members. Such a behaviour is unethical and not at all acceptable at workplace. One complaint from them and your career is finished. Avoid making lewd comments, physical advances or touching them. An individual’s behaviour has lot to do with his upbringing and family background. A child who has been brought up in a decent family where females are respected and thought to be equal would never even in his wildest dreams think of abusing female colleagues.
It is completely unethical to steal office property. Why do you have to take office stationery to home? Office stationery (pens, pencils, stapler, eraser, punching machine, glue and so on) are meant to be used only in offices and nowhere else. Avoid damaging office property. Remember, if you do not respect your organization, you will not get respect in return.
Employees need to understand that some information is confidential and should not be discussed with anyone. Never break your manager’s trust. Do not disclose your team’s strategies or internal policies to others just because they are your friends. Some people tend to submit fake bills to claim more money than actual. Individuals with such a behaviour find it extremely difficult to survive in the long run. What is the use of submitting wrong bills? Believe me, if you are caught, you will lose in your job in no time. Such a behaviour will not only tarnish an individual’s image but also speak ill of his family background and upbringing.
Why do you have to use your office computer for online shopping, watching movies, paying cell phone bills, internet bills and so on? Do not store your personal photographs or information in office computer. Avoid browsing objectionable websites at workplace. If your office people have blocked certain sites, they must have done it for some reasons. Please do not try to open blocked sites using through proxy server and fake passwords. Rather than wasting our energy on unproductive things, it is always good if we concentrate on our work
Today, violence is commonly observed in allraces and cultures. Violent incidents in theworkplace which negatively affect employees’health and safety present an important problem of health and safety at work. Being exposed to violentincidents at work or being a witness to violence hasa negative effect on employees’ feelings towardstheir work and the organisation. Additionally thesetypes of violent incidents can be a reason for negative outcomes in the workers’ physical and psychological health.Employees’ perceptions of organisational policies, procedures and practices directed towardscontrolling and removing workplace violence andaggression, stated as violence prevention climate, isan important concept in the effect on workers’health caused by workplace violence.Organisational policies and procedures directedtowards preventing and controlling workplaceviolence and aggression create a positive violenceclimate.According to the results a significantrelationship was determined between employee jobsatisfaction and the influence directed to thesubdimensions of a violence prevention climate of policies, practices and unsafe practices. A study byKessler et al. (2008) determined a significantrelationship between job satisfaction and these threedimensions .While a significant negative correlation wasdetermined between depression and thesubdimensions of violence prevention climate policies and practices, no significant relationship was found between pressure for unsafe practicesand depression. A significant negative correlationwas determined between stress and thesubdimensions of violence prevention climate practices, no significant relationship was found between policies and pressure for unsafe practicesand depression. No significant relationship wasfound between violence prevention climatedimensions anxiety. In a study by Spector et al.(2007) a significant relationship was determined between the perceived violence climate anddepression and anxiety . While research byKessler et al. (2008) showed a significantrelationship between practices and pressure, nosignificant relationship was determined between policies and depression . The same studydetermined a significant relationship between practices, pressure and anxiety.Furthermore, the stepwise regression analysisresults determined a significant relationship between practices and pressure for unsafe practicessubdimensions and job satisfaction. According tothis, organisational practices directed towardsreducing violent incidents in the workplace (eginformation and training on the subject of violence)and there being no pressures towards unsafe behaviour (eg violence prevention policies and procedures not being ignored) play a role inincreasing job satisfaction. The stepwise regressionanalysis results also determined a significantrelationship between the dimension of practices anddepression. According to this result, the practice of the organisation giving information and training onworkplace violence prevention is effective inreducing the rate of employee depression.
Hawthorne Experiment Details
Over the course of five years, Mayo’s team altered the female worker’s working conditions and monitored how the change in working conditions affected the workers morale and productivity. The changes in working conditions included changes in working hours, rest brakes, lighting, humidity, and temperature. The changes were explained to the workers prior to implementation
Hawthorne Experiment Results
At the end of the five year period, the female worker’s working conditions, reverted back to the conditions before the experiment began. Unexpectedly the workers morale and productivity rose to levels higher than before and during the experiments. The combination of results during and after the experiment (ie the increase in the workers productivity when they were returned to their original working conditions) led Mayo to conclude that workers were motivated by psychological conditions more than physical working condition
There is an unwritten understanding between the worker and employer regarding what is expected from them; Mayo called this the psychological contract.
Interest in Workers
A worker’s motivation can be increased by showing an interest in them. Mayo classified studying the workers (through the experiments) as showing an interest in the workers.
Work is a Group Activity
Work is a group activity, team work can increase a worker’s motivation as it allows people to form strong working relationships and increases trust between the workers. Work groups are created formally by the employer but also occur informally. Both informal and formal groups should be used to increase productivity as informal groups influence the worker’s habits and attitudes.
Social Aspect of Work
Workers are motivated by the social aspect of work, as demonstrated by the female workers socialising during and outside work and the subsequent increase in motivation.
Workers are motivated by recognition, security and a sense of belonging.
The communication between workers and management influences workers’ morale and productivity. Workers are motivated through a good working relationship with management.
The traditional view of how to motivate employees is that you offer monetary rewards (pay increases, bonuses etc) for work completion. However the Hawthorne experiments may suggest that motivation is more complicated than that. Advocates of the “Hawthorne Effect” will state that the Hawthorne experiment results show that motivation can be improved through improving working relationships and social interraction
Work-related violence: Case studies – Managing the risk in smaller businesses HSG229 HSE Books 2002 ISBN 0 7176 2358 0 http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg69.pdf
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ohp/
S. Aytaç and S. Dursun / The Effect on Employees of Violence Climate in the Workplace http://www.academia.edu/1477474/The_effect_on_employees_of_violence_climate_in_the_workplace
Munchinsky, P. M. (2000). Psychology applied to work: An introduction to industrial and organizational psychology (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Wuang, M. (2007). Industrial/Organizational Psychology. In Discovering Psychology (4th ed.). Hockenbury & Hockenbury. Worth Publishers: New York.
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