Sex Roles

, Volume 71, Issue 1–2, pp 33–42 | Cite as

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

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


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.


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


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin M. Van De Griend
    • 1
  • DeAnne K. Hilfinger Messias
    • 2
    Email author
  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

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