Magazine article USA TODAY

Preventing Murder in the Workplace

Magazine article USA TODAY

Preventing Murder in the Workplace

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A study of workplace homicide--the nation's fastest growing category of murder--has resulted in the development of a new management model to help companies decrease the likelihood of violent behavior by employees. It was developed by Robert Allen, professor, and Margaret Lucero, assistant professor, in the Department of Management and Marketing at the University of Wyoming College of Business. By studying numerous newspaper reports of workplace murders committed by employees, they identified a number of commonalities associated with the violent responses that led up to the killings. An understanding of these triggering incidents can help companies develop interventions that will decrease the likelihood that murder and lesser forms of violence will occur.

Individuals who commit murder in the workplace typically are white males in their early to mid 40s whose work is the most important thing in their lives. They are fascinated with weapons, may have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, and often are loners who don't have a social support system to help them deal with personal setbacks.

Allen and Lucero contend that workplace murders rarely are random events, but instead follow a common general sequence that starts when an employee has a difficult time responding constructively to criticism and disciplinary actions by supervisors. The worker perceives the action as unwarranted, and often becomes belligerent. In turn, the supervisor targets the employee for further disciplinary action, which leads to more negative responses from the worker. …

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