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Predicting Long-Term Violent Behavior

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Mentions of aggression in organizations are relatively rare. However, there are attempts to study this phenomenon, according to which more than 50% of the employees at least once in their lives were in a state of so-called office aggression, uncontrolled or controlled outbursts of anger, the causes of which are the difficulties arising during working hours (Schneid, 1998).

One can distinguish active and passive forms of office aggression. The active form of aggression is a flash of uncontrollable rage; it is commonly called “office rage.” Typically, the cause of the “office rage” is excessively rowdy behavior of colleagues, preventing a person from focusing on his/her job. Other common causes of aggression outbreaks are a malfunction of computer and the situation when someone interrupts business telephone conversations. It is stated that women are prone to abuse and apply physical force in an office environment more often than men. According to the experts, the true reason for office aggression is not negligible annoyances in the workplace, but the nervous exhaustion, which occurs when people are engaged in sedentary, monotonous, and at the same time quite complicated and responsible work (Harvey & Keashly, 2003).

To avoid aggression in the office, management should go with the collective as with a team. There are four main factors that determine the health of any team:

  •  The team has a clear goal and people know what they are doing and why;
  •  Clear formal and informal norms and rules of work and behavior are set;
  •  The level of professionalism and personal qualities of people correspond to their executable functions;
  • There is a good communication system; people know what and why changes in the company and what awaits them in the future.
  • One of the possible causes of aggression is the anxiety that arises from the uncertainty of the unknown. As a result, it can cause stress and disruption of the team. It is very popular to implement “casual Friday” as a way of preventing anger in the company. During this day, as a rule, workers come to work in the non-office clothing, afford casual style of communication and at the end of the day they all together go to a bar or other place to chat. Nevertheless, experts recognize sports to be the most effective means of aggression reduction (Schneid, 1998).

    Of all border situations occurring in the workplace, passive aggression is the hardest to detect. The passive aggressor will never be a person’s enemy. He/she can be a subordinate, boss or colleague. The aggressor usually has a cute smile; however, suddenly a person may find that because of aggressor’s actions the work is not successful enough, that the aggressor is too quarrelsome. It is almost impossible to avoid passive aggression. The only way to fight is to realize what is happening timely. Passive aggressor comes to a workplace in such a state that everyone is afraid to disturb him/her. Employee who hates the boss can easily and with impunity commit an act of passive aggression, violating the chain of command and turning “over his head.” To do this, it is required simply to wait until the victim will leave the office. Afterwards, an aggressor invents a reason that “forces” him to seek help from superiors. In such a model of double jeopardy, the aggressor signals the main chief, saying: “Look, there is no chef when he is needed, thus, he/she skimp on business.” An aggressor may ask seemingly innocent questions like “I wonder what the board members would say if they knew what he was doing?” and wait for the treating of innovator with suspicion. All tthe above mentioned leads to the conflict, causing the immediate, but indeed a long-term process of violence in the working team (Nierle, 2013).

    Negative “corporate culture” is a manipulation by management, mobbing (“backstabbing” and “black” competition) and blurring of moral principles (one may use anything for a career ladder). In companies with a negative “corporate culture,” men may be susceptible to breakdowns and alcoholism; women may be susceptible to tantrums and divorces. People feel themselves insecure, anxious, and fearful; thus, they demonstrate either depressed or aggressive behavior (Brown, 1999). They are put under pressure on the job; as a result, they begin to be angry with everyone in transport, at home, in a friendly company.

    Once the former head of Intel’s Andy Grove said that only paranoiacs survive; this phrase was replicated by millions of adherents and has been a catch phrase. Its meaning is clear to managers around the world, even for those who do not speak English. It presupposes that a worker should burn out; there is no room for complacency; seek and ye shall find. As a result, some employees are beginning to mimic the frantic activity, while most other people mimic a “paranoid” style of management, or fall into depression, having lost faith in the loud, often empty slogans on which this style of managing is reposed. It gives rise to further aggression both in the workplace and outside of it.

    In order to predict the possible violence in the company, it is necessary to have the state psychologist. He/she may use scientific techniques in order to define the mental state of a particular worker and carry out actions to eliminate negative factors and unite the team. Likewise, warm relations between coworkers and chief encourage the absence of violence.

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