Sex Roles

, Volume 71, Issue 1–2, pp 33–42

Expanding the Conceptualization of Workplace Violence: Implications for Research, Policy, and Practice

  • Kristin M. Van De Griend
  • DeAnne K. Hilfinger Messias
Original Article

Abstract

Workplace violence generally refers to interpersonal aggression, sexual harassment, bullying, and other forms of discrimination and oppression occurring within the confines of the paid workplace. Workplace violence affects women across the globe, resulting in a wide range of health, economic, and social problems. We advocate for broader, transdisciplinary, intersectional, and transnational conceptualizations of workplace violence in research, policy, and practice. Supported by findings from research conducted around the globe, we argue that workplace violence occurs not only within the context of women’s paid employment in the formal workplace, but also within the contexts of other types of work in which women of all ages engage. An expanded, more inclusive conceptualization of women’s workplaces in research, policy, and practice will promote broader recognition and acknowledgement of women’s experiences of interpersonal violence in the contexts of their multiple work roles in unpaid and informal work, as well as the paid labor force. Incorporating intersectional, transnational, and transdisciplinary perspectives into research, policy, and practice related to workplace violence will expand understandings and interpretations of women’s experiences of workplace violence across the lifespan; within their own multi-faceted cultural contexts and racial, ethnic, gender, and class identities; and will facilitate transnational, cross-cultural comparisons. Implementation of policies based on expanded conceptualizations of workplace violence can contribute to more effective education and prevention efforts, improved reporting procedures, and enhanced post-violence support services and treatment programs that meet the needs of women across a wider spectrum of workplace contexts.

Keywords

Workplace violence Sexual harassment Bullying Interpersonal violence Women’s work Intersectionality 

References

  1. Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179–211. doi:10.1016/0749-5978(91)90020-T.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, S. M., & Ciambrone, D. (2003). Community care for people with disability: Blurring boundaries between formal and informal caregivers. Qualitative Health Research, 13, 207–226. doi:10.1177/1049732302239599.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aronson, J., & Neysmith, S. M. (1996). “You’re not just in there to do the work”: Depersonalizing policies and the exploitation of home care workers. Gender and Society, 10, 59–77. doi:10.1177/089124396010001005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barling, J., Rogers, A., & Kelloway, E. (2001). Behind closed doors: In-home workers’ experience of sexual harassment and workplace violence. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 6, 255–269. doi:10.1037/1076-8998.6.3.255.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bauer, M., & Ramírez, M. (2010). Injustice on our plates: Immigrant women in the U.S. food industry. Montgomery: Southern Poverty Law Center.Google Scholar
  6. Berdahl, J. L., & Moore, C. (2006). Workplace harassment: Double jeopardy for minority women. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 426–436. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.91.2.426.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bergman, M. E., Langhout, R., Palmieri, P. A., Cortina, L. M., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (2002). The (un)reasonableness of reporting: Antecedents and consequences of reporting sexual harassment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 230–242. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.87.2.230.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bowling, N. A., & Beehr, T. A. (2006). Workplace harassment from the victim’s perspective: A theoretical model and meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 998–1012. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.91.5.998.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brinkman, B., Garcia, K., & Rickard, K. (2011). ‘What I wanted to do was…’ Discrepancies between college women’s desired and reported responses to gender prejudice. Sex Roles, 65, 344–355. doi:10.1007/s11199-011-0020-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buchanan, N. T., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (2008). Effects of racial and sexual harassment on work and the psychological well-being of African American women. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 13, 137–151. doi:10.1037/1076-8998.13.2.137.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Camerino, D., Estryn-Behar, M., Conway, P., van Der Heijden, B., & Hasselhorn, H. (2008). Work-related factors and violence among nursing staff in the european NEXT study: A longitudinal cohort study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 45, 35–50. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2007.01.013.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chan, D., Lam, C., Chow, S., & Cheung, S. (2008). Examining the job-related, psychological, and physical outcomes of workplace sexual harassment: A meta-analytic review. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 32, 362–376. doi:10.1111/j.1471-6402.2008.00451.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Choi, N., Burr, J., Mutchler, J., & Caro, F. (2007). Formal and informal volunteer activity and spousal caregiving among older adults. Research on Aging, 29, 99–124. doi:10.1177/0164027506296759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Citron, D. (2009). Cyber civil rights. Boston University Law Review, 89, 61–125.Google Scholar
  15. Crenshaw, K. W. (2008). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women. In A. Baily & C. Cuomo (Eds.), The feminist philosophy reader (pp. 265–278). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  16. Cortina, L. M., & Wasti, S. (2005). Profiles in coping: Responses to sexual harassment across persons, organizations, and cultures. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 182–192. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.90.1.182.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Croft, R., & Cash, P. (2012). Deconstructing contributing factors to bullying and lateral violence in nursing using a postcolonial feminist lens. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 42, 226–242. doi:10.5172/conu.2012.42.2.226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dehue, F., Bolman, C., Völlink, T., & Pouwelse, M. (2012). Coping with bullying at work and health related problems. International Journal of Stress Management, 19, 175–197. doi:10.1037/a0028969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. DeSouza, E. R., & Cerqueira, E. (2009). From the kitchen to the bedroom: Frequency rates and consequences of sexual harassment among female domestic workers in brazil. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24, 1264–1284. doi:10.1177/0886260508322189.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. DeSouza, E. R., Solberg, J., & Elder, C. (2007). A cross-cultural perspective on judgments of woman-to-woman sexual harassment: Does sexual orientation matter? Sex Roles, 56, 457–471. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9184-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dionisi, A. M., Barling, J., & Dupré, K. E. (2012). Revisiting the comparative outcomes of workplace aggression and sexual harassment. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 17, 398–408. doi:10.1037/a0029883.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Elwér, S., Aléx, L., & Hammarström, A. (2010). Health against the odds: Experiences of employees in elder care from a gender perspective. Qualitative Health Research, 20, 1202–1212. doi:10.1177/1049732310371624.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fielden, S., Davidson, M., Woolnough, H., & Hunt, C. (2010). A model of racialized sexual harassment of women in the UK workplace. Sex Roles, 62, 20–34. doi:10.1007/s11199-009-9715-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fineran, S., & Gruber, J. E. (2009). Youth at work: Adolescent employment and sexual harassment. Child Abuse and Neglect: The International Journal, 33, 550–559. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.01.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fitzgerald, L. F., Drasgow, F., Hulin, C. L., Gelfand, M. J., & Magley, V. J. (1997). Antecedents and consequences of sexual harassment in organizations: A test of an integrated model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82, 578–589. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.82.4.578.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fitzgerald, L. F., Gelfand, M., & Drasgow, F. (1995). Measuring sexual harassment: Theoretical and psychometric advances. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 17, 425–445. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.82.4.578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. García-Moreno, C., Jansen, H., Ellsberg, M., Heise, L., & Watts, C. (2005). WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women: Initial results on prevalence, health outcomes and women’s responses. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  28. Gettman, H. J., & Gelfand, M. J. (2007). When the customer shouldn’t be king: Antecedents and consequences of sexual harassment by clients and customers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 757–770. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.92.3.757.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gruber, J., & Fineran, S. (2008). Comparing the impact of bullying and sexual harassment victimization on the mental and physical health of adolescents. Sex Roles, 59, 1–13. doi:10.1007/s11199-008-9431-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gunnarsdottir, H., Sveinsdottir, H., Bernburg, J., Fridriksdottir, H., & Tomasson, K. (2006). Lifestyle, harassment at work and self-assessed health of female flight attendants, nurses and teachers. Work, 27, 165–172.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Hegney, D., Eley, R., Plank, A., Buikstra, E., & Parker, V. (2006). Workplace violence in Queensland, Australia: The results of a comparative study. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 12, 220–231. doi:10.1111/j.1440-172X.2006.00571.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hertzog, J. L., Wright, D., & Beat, D. (2008). There’s a policy for that: A comparison of the organizational culture of workplaces reporting incidents of sexual harassment. Behavior and Social Issues, 17, 169–181. doi:10.5210/bsi.v17i2.2175.Google Scholar
  33. Hess, A. (2014, January/February). Why women aren’t welcome on the Internet. Pacific Standard: The Science of Society, 11. Retrieved from http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/women-arent-welcome-internet-72170/
  34. Hill, C., & Silva, E. (2005). Drawing the line: Sexual harassment on campus. Washington, DC: AAUW Educational Foundation.Google Scholar
  35. hooks, B. (1984). From margin to center. Cambridge: South End Press.Google Scholar
  36. Huerta, M., Cortina, L. M., Pang, J. S., Torges, C. M., & Magley, V. J. (2006). Sex and power in the academy: Modeling sexual harassment in the lives of college women. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 616–628. doi:10.1177/0146167205284281.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hutchinson, S., & Wexler, B. (2007). Is “raging” good for health? Older women’s participation in the raging grannies. Health Care for Women International, 28, 88–118. doi:10.1080/07399330601003515.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ilies, R., Hauserman, N., Schwochau, S., & Stibal, J. (2003). Reported incidence rates of work-related sexual harassment in the United States: Using meta-analysis to explain reported rate disparities. Personnel Psychology, 56, 607–631. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6570.2003.tb00752.x.Google Scholar
  39. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities. (2011). The health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people: Building a foundation for better understanding (Vol. 63, pp. 191–220). Washington (DC): National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  40. The Irish Presidency of the European Union, FGS Consulting, & McGolgan, A. (2004, June). Report on sexual harassment in the workplace in EU member states. (pp. 95). Government of Ireland. Retrieved from http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/stats/gender/publications/Multi-Country/SexualHarassmentReport.pdf
  41. Jackson, D., Clare, J., & Mannix, J. (2002). Who would want to be a nurse? Violence in the workplace—a factor in recruitment and retention. Journal of Nursing Management, 10, 13–20. doi:10.1046/j.0966-0429.2001.00262.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Krieger, N., Chen, J., Waterman, P., Hartman, C., Stoddard, A., Quinn, M., & Barbeau, E. (2008). The inverse hazard law: Blood pressure, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, workplace abuse and occupational exposures in US low-income black, white and Latino workers. Social Science and Medicine, 67, 1970–1981. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.09.039.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Krug, E. G., Dahlberg, L., Mercy, J., Zwi, A., & Lozano, R. (2002). World report on violence and health. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  44. LeBlanc, M., & Kelloway, E. (2002). Predictors and outcomes of workplace violence and aggression. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 444–453. doi:10.1037//0021-9010.873.3.444.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Li, M., Frieze, I., & Tang, C. (2010). Understanding adolescent peer sexual harassment and abuse: Using the theory of planned behavior. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment, 22, 157–171. doi:10.1177/1079063210363827.Google Scholar
  46. Lim, S., & Cortina, L. M. (2005). Interpersonal mistreatment in the workplace: The interface and impact of general incivility and sexual harassment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 483–496. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.90.3.483.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lin, Y., & Liu, H. (2005). The impact of workplace violence on nurses in South Taiwan. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 42, 773–778. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2004.11.010.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Marsh, J., Patel, S., Gelaye, B., Goshu, M., Worku, A., Williams, M., & Berhane, Y. (2009). Prevalence of workplace abuse and sexual harassment among female faculty and staff. Journal of Occupational Health, 51, 314–322. doi:10.1539/joh.L8143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Matchen, J., & DeSouza, E. (2000). The sexual harassment of faculty members by students. Sex Roles, 42, 295–306. doi:10.1023/A:1007099408885.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Messias, D., DeJong, M., & McLoughlin, K. (2005). Expanding the concept of women’s work: Volunteer work in the context of poverty. Journal of Poverty, 9, 25–47. doi:10.1300/J134v09n03_02.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Messias, D., Im, E., Page, A., & Regev, H. (1997). Defining and redefining work: Implications for women’s health. Gender and Society, 11, 296–323. doi:10.1177/089124397011003003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Messing, K., & Östlin, P. (2006). Gender equality, work and health: A review of the evidence. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  53. Miner-Rubino, K., & Cortina, L. M. (2007). Beyond targets: Consequences of vicarious exposure to misogyny at work. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 1254–1269. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.92.5.1254.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Nielsen, M., Bjørkelo, B., Notelaers, G., & Einarsen, S. (2010). Sexual harassment: Prevalence, outcomes, and gender differences assessed by three different estimation methods. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 19, 252–274. doi:10.1080/10926771003705056.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. O’Donnell, S., MacIntosh, J., & Wuest, J. (2010). A theoretical understanding of sickness absence among women who have experienced workplace bullying. Qualitative Health Research, 20, 439–452. doi:10.1177/1049732310361242.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Patrick, D. L., Bell, J. F., Huang, J. Y., Lazarakis, N. C., & Edwards, T. C. (2013). Bullying and quality of life in youths perceived as gay, lesbian, or bisexual in Washington State, 2010. American Journal of Public Health, 103, e1–e7. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Pina, A., & Gannon, T. A. (2012). An overview of the literature on antecedents, perceptions and behavioural consequences of sexual harassment. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 18, 209–232. doi:10.1080/13552600.2010.501909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rospenda, K., Richman, J., Ehmke, J., & Zlatoper, K. (2005). Is workplace harassment hazardous to your health? Journal of Business and Psychology, 20, 95–110. doi:10.1007/s10869-005-6992-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Saunders, P., Huynh, A., & Goodman-Delahunty, J. (2007). Defining workplace bullying behaviour professional lay definitions of workplace bullying. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 30, 340–354. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2007.06.007.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sears, K., Intrieri, R., & Papini, D. (2011). Sexual harassment and psychosocial maturity outcomes among young adults recalling their first adolescent work experiences. Sex Roles, 64, 491–505. doi:10.1007/s11199-010-9928-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Silvey, R. (2006). Consuming the transnational family: Indonesian migrant domestic workers to Saudi Arabia. Global Networks, 6, 23–40. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0374.2006.00131.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Spelman, E. V. (2008). Gender and race: The ampersand problem in feminist thought. In A. Baily & C. Cuomo (Eds.), The feminist philosophy reader (pp. 265–278). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  63. Stark, S., Chernyshenko, O. S., Lancaster, A. R., Drasgow, F., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (2002). Toward standardized measurement of sexual harassment: shortening the SEQ-DoD using item response theory. Military Psychology, 14, 49–72. doi:10.1207/S15327876MP1401_03.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Stock, S. R., & Tissot, F. (2012). Are there health effects of harassment in the workplace? A gender-sensitive study of the relationships between work and neck pain. Ergonomics, 55, 147–159. doi:10.1080/00140139.2011.598243.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Street, A. E., Gradus, J. L., Stafford, J., & Kelly, K. (2007). Gender differences in experiences of sexual harassment: Data from a male-dominated environment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 464–474. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.75.3464.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sue, D. W. (2010). Microaggressions in everyday life: Race, gender, and sexual orientation. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  67. Timmerman, G. (2003). Sexual harassment of adolescents perpetrated by teachers and by peers: An exploration of the dynamics of power, culture, and gender in secondary schools. Sex Roles, 48, 231–244. doi:10.1023/A:1022821320739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. United States Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. (2009, December 14). Fact sheet: Sexual harassment. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/upload/fs-sex.pdf
  69. Vessey, J., Demarco, R., & DiFazio, R. (2010). Bullying, harassment, and horizontal violence in the nursing workforce: The state of the science. Annual Review of Nursing Research, 28, 133–157. doi:10.1891/0739-6686.28.133.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Vijayasiri, G. (2008). Reporting sexual harassment: The importance of organizational culture and trust. Gender Issues, 25, 43–61. doi:10.1007/s12147-008-9049-5.
  71. Wasti, S., Bergman, M. E., Glomb, T. M., & Drasgow, F. (2000). Test of the cross-cultural generalizability of a model of sexual harassment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 766–778. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.85.5.766.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wang, S., Hayes, L., & O’Brien-Pallas, L. (2008). A review and evaluation of workplace violence prevention programs in the health sector: Final report. Toronto: Nursing Health Services Research Unit.Google Scholar
  73. Waters, H., Hyder, A., Rajkotia, Y., Basu, S., & Butchart, A. (2005). The costs of interpersonal violence—an international review. Health Policy, 73, 303–315. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2004.11.022.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Weber, L. (2010). Understanding race, class, gender, and sexuality: A conceptual framework. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Wei, H., & Chen, J. (2012). Factors associated with peer sexual harassment victimization among Taiwanese adolescents. Sex Roles, 66, 66–78. doi:10.1007/s11199-011-0073-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Willness, C. R., Steel, P., & Lee, K. (2007). A meta-analysis of the antecedents and consequences of workplace sexual harassment. Personnel Psychology, 60, 127–162. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6570.2007.00067.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin M. Van De Griend
    • 1
  • DeAnne K. Hilfinger Messias
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior & Women’s and Gender StudiesUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.College of Nursing & Women’s and Gender StudiesUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations