Workplace violence is a topic in many companies today and at times, can be ignored or not taken so seriously.

“Workplace violence is an extreme manifestation of escalated workplace incivility,” writes Martin B. Kormanik, a consultant and human resources specialist who heads firm O.D. Systems, a management consulting firm.

In a report published in in the journal Advances in Developing Human Resources, Kormanik, says companies need to assess their current status and plan initiatives based on awareness level of workplace violence.

Human resources departments spend a lot of time preparing for violent workplace incidents mirroring what often shows up on in the media. Kormanik questions whether time might be better spent in further investigation.

Kormanik presents a theory called awareness development to assess employees’ responses to situations, which in turn, can help human resource departments better craft their workplace violence policies and procedures.

"The complexity of workplace violence demands a thoughtful diagnosis that provides a clear assessment of the organization's current situation so chosen strategies are appropriate," wrote, Kormanik.

Part of the process is to survey employees to see where they are in one of the five stages of awareness development. These stages of awareness development include:

- ‘Pre-encounter’ stage, having little to no knowledge of workplace violence

- ‘Intellectualization’ stage, having knowledge but no experience with workplace violence

- ‘Encounter’ stage, having experience with workplace violence

- The

- ‘Empowerment’ stage, seeking strategies to adapt or cope after workplace violence

- ‘Integration’ stage, regaining a sense of control after workplace violence.

Kormanik said of the participants in this study fell in the intellectualization stage, having knowledge but no experience with workplace violence.

According to Kormanik, participants said, that the largest percentage of the organization “talks a good game” but has limited awareness of workplace violence.

The data was gathered from 131 people who were colleagues of human resources students at two universities in Washington D.C.

Kormanik said the sample size was small, limiting generalizability to the larger population.

The article title is: Workplace Violence: Assessing Organizational Awareness and Planning Interventions.