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Workplace Violence in Human Service Organizations: A Qualitative Inquiry of Team-Level Dynamics

Author: AARON TURPIN, MICHEAL L. SHIER, DAVID B. NICHOLAS and JOHN R. GRAHAM
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 42 No. 3

The concept of workplace violence and its relation to health and safety regimes in human service organizations is currently experiencing a conceptual renaissance. These terms are now broadly encompassing various intra- and inter-personal factors within the workplace. This study explores how staff in publicly-administered human services experience and perceive workplace violence between staff and health and safety at a team level, and how it can be prevented within these contexts. Semi- structured qualitative interviews were conducted with staff (n=85) in various publicly-administered human service departments across one province in Canada. Data were analyzed following a qualitative approach to conceptualize violence prevention at a team level. Respondents provide insights that help to develop a conceptual representation of positive intra-personal team dynamics and positive inter-personal team dynamics, which are elaborated to include specific factors under each of these themes. Findings support a model for building effective health and safety regimes that consider the influence of team-level dynamics in human service organizations. These findings support the development of highly effective and safe human service organizations.
Key words: human services; prevention; teams; workplace safety; workplace violence

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