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Is Your Job at Risk for Workplace Violence?

12 May, 2016 - 16:19

You may be at increased risk for workplace violence if your job involves the following:

  • Dealing With People
    • Caring for others either emotionally or physically, such as at a nursing home.
    • Interacting with frustrated customers, such as with retail sales.
    • Supervising others, such as being a manager.
    • Denying requests others make of you, such as with customer service.
  • Being in High-Risk Situations
    • Dealing with valuables or exchanging money, such as in banking.
    • Handling weapons, such as in law enforcement.
    • Working with drugs, alcohol, or those under the influence of them, such as bartending.
    • Working nights or weekends, such as gas station attendants.

Sources: Adapted from information in LeBlanc, M. M., & Kelloway, E. K. (2002). Predictors and outcomes of workplace violence and aggression. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 444–453; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (1997). Violence in the workplace. Retrieved November 12, 2008, from; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (2006). Workplace prevention strategies and research needs. Retrieved November 12, 2008, from

Given these negative outcomes, how can conflict be managed so that it does not become dysfunctional or even dangerous? We’ll explore this in the next section.


Conflict has many causes, including organizational structures, limitations on resources, task interdependence, goal incompatibility, personality differences, and communication challenges. Outcomes of well-managed conflict include increased participation and creativity, while negatives of poorly managed conflict include increased stress and anxiety. Jobs that deal with people are at higher risk for conflict.


  1. What are some primary causes of conflict at work?
  2. What are the outcomes of workplace conflict? Which types of job are the most at risk for workplace violence? Why do you think that is?
  3. What outcomes have you observed from conflict?