Organizational Justice

Instituting safeguards to ensure that managers treat employees fairly can reduce violent behavior at work. As three researchers noted from the emerging empirical evidence, it appears that even though revenge can be motivated by non-justice concerns such as organizational politics it typically occurs in response to a perceived injustice.

These researchers asked respondents to reply to the following item: Think back over your time as an employee in your current organization when you’ve been offended by another person Please write a description of the offense below. The researchers also asked the respondents how they reacted to the injustice.

Here’s what they found. First, they found that the employees were more willing to exact revenge against less powerful offenders. Second high status victims were less likely to try to get revenge against low status employees, possibly because of societal norms that people in positions of power should not take retaliatory action. Third, it was clear that blame was positively related to revenge; an employee who blamed another for some injustice or personal affront was more likely to try to seek revenge and less likely to seek reconciliation .The implications is that reducing unjust actions will likely reduce the chances that employees will seek revenge.

Enhanced Attention to employee retention / dismissal

Employers also need effective procedures for identifying potentially lethal employees. Circumstances to watch out for include:

1) An act of violence on or off the job.
2) Erratic behavior evidencing a loss of awareness of actions.
3) Overly defensive obsessive or paranoid tendencies
4) Overly confrontational or antisocial behavior,
5) Sexually aggressive behavior
6) Isolationists or loner tendencies
7) Insubordinate behavior wit a suggestion of violence
8) Tendency to overreact to criticism
9) Exaggerated interest in war, guns, violence catastrophes
10) The commission of a serious breach of security.
11) Possession of weapons, guns, knives, at the workplace
12) Violation of privacy rights of others such as searching desks or stalking.
13) Chronic complaining and frequent unreasonable grievances
14) Retribution oriented or get even attitude.

Dismissing violent employees:

The manager should use caution when firing or disciplining potentially violent employees. Consider the case of an executive suspected of sabotaging his former employer’s computer system, causing up to $20 million in damage What made this man who’d been earning $186,000 a year do such a thing? A note be wrote anonymously to the president provides some insight.

I have been loyal to the Company in good and bad times for over thirty years … What is most upsetting is the manner in which you chose to end our employment I was expecting a member of top management to come down from his ivory tower to face us directly with a layoff announcement rather than sending the kitchen supervisor with guards to escort us off the premises like criminals.. We will not want God to punish you … we will take measures into our own hands.

In dismissing potentially violent employers,

1) Analyze and anticipate based on the person’s history what kind of aggressive behavior to expect.
2) Have a security guard near by when the dismissal takes place.
3) Clear away furniture and things the person might throw.
4) Don’t wear loose clothing that the person might grab.
5) Don’t make it sound as if you’re accusing the employee; instead say that according to company policy, you’re required to take action.
6) Maintain the person’s dignity and try to emphasize something good about the employee
7) Provide job counseling for terminated employees to help get the employee over the traumatic post dismissal adjustment
8) Consider obtaining restraining orders against those who have exhibited a tendency to act violently in the workplace. Human resource managers should understand what restraining orders do and the process for obtaining term.