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Recruiting & Psychological Testing - Can It Help Prevent or Reduce Workplace Violence?

Recruiting & Psychological Testing - Can It Help Prevent or Reduce Workplace Violence?
In light of all the workplace violence in the workplace would it make sense or is it legal to include psychological testing on potential employees to root out any that might have tendencies for violence at the workplace? Would it be legal to do psychological tests on potential employees as part of a background check, such as credit, criminal, education, drug testing?

In addition to answering the questions above, please include links to peer-reviewed journals or other APA approved sources so that I can do further research, thanks.

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Recruiting & Psychological Testing - Can It Help Prevent or Reduce Workplace Violence? In light of all the workplace violence in the workplace would it make sense or is it legal to include psychological testing on potential employees to root out any that might have tendencies for violence at the workplace? Would it be legal to do psychological tests on potential employees as part of a background check, such as credit, criminal, education, drug testing?

The FBI is nearly breathless as it reports "A Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report [their own] estimated that approximately 1.7 million incidents of workplace violence occurred each year between 1993 and 1999, with simple and aggravated assaults comprising the largest portion." Of course, this can refer to a push, a nasty word (both considered "simple assault"), or spraying the office with machine gun rounds. As the court cases below suggest, all of these are considered aspects of "workplace violence." "Assault" is merely an attempt or intention to push someone or hit them. "Battery" is when you actually do it. "Millions of assaults" are likely in the best of cases, since we all often express our willingness to slap the idiots around us. Few of us ever do it.

The problem is however, that in an economy with mass layoffs, bailouts for the billionaires, endless outsourcing, total job insecurity, almost no unionization, increasingly invasive surveillance programs, extremely high debt and a total lack of confidence in any authority, a rise in workplace violence is both expected and inevitable. Some dare say that, under the right circumstances, "workplace violence" is a scare-term referring to legitimate and rational reactions to blatant injustice and dehumanization. Psychiatrists call this "maladaptation." Others call it justice.

In general, there are three specific traits that typify those prone to workplace violence. First, the concept of fatalism and a loss of control. This is a strange trait for future violence, but it also deals with people who feel hated, persecuted and outside society. All of this might be true, it might be in the imagination. Such people either fell themselves above social laws, or as is often the case, not worthy of social respect at all. Violence, therefore is not a problem for them.

Second, a general sense of cynicism. In short, a general "bad attitude." Noting is worth working for. Whatever I do will be taken from me. The bosses are out to do harm to me and all workers. Of course, if the person has just lost his house on the day he reads in the paper that AIG and Goldman-Sachs received bailouts in the hundreds of billions, he might be justified. Regardless, such contempt can lead to violence.

Finally, those prone to violence in the workplace are those who care little for the feelings of others. Others are merely tools to be used. This is another strange trait since the average boss holds his employees in the same light. Yet, the broader point is those people are not to be trusted in general. Without any real affection for people, they have no moral qualms about inflicting all kinds of pain.

These, of course, can be discerned in any basic personality test. These are symptoms, however, that can be applied to any number of mental illnesses: narcissistic personality disorder, depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, just to name three. The Americans with Disability Act has made its was through the courts and threats or actual violence are not covered by the Act. Discriminating against mentally ill people is illegal. Getting rid of one because they punched the secretary for not getting his faxes quickly enough is not. In these cases, it is the violence and the act, not the condition, which caused the firing.

In the Skarlicki (1999) study, "negative affectivity" was very closely ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses if recruiting and psychological testing can help prevent or reduce workplace violence.

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