Savoie, Valerie (2014) Workplace Violence: Interpersonal Tendencies, Victimisation and Disclosure. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Research on workplace violence has mostly studied organisational and personal consequences of the phenomenon, and has focussed on specific “at risk” occupations (e.g. A&E), offering very little data on other elements such as disclosure, victims’ individual characteristics, the range of violence involved, and victimisation in ‘low risk’ occupations. This research examines a new perspective of the nature of violence in the context of home-visit settings by looking at victimisation in a “low risk” occupation: loan sellers. It offers a more in-depth definition of workplace victimisation “outside office” settings by studying violence experienced by taxi drivers.

Based on the Interpersonal Transaction model of offending put forward by Canter (1989) suggesting a certain degree of interpersonal interaction between the offender and the victim, the present study investigates the possible relationship between victims’ interpersonal tendencies and victimisation and crime disclosure. By using the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior (FIRO-B) scale (Schutz, 1958) analyses were conducted to look at relationships between victims’ interpersonal tendencies and victimisation (types of incident experienced) and crime disclosure.

Two samples were recruited: 1) 1,868 Polish home-visit loan sellers, 2) 47 British taxi drivers. All participants completed a questionnaire with the FIRO-B scale and two British taxi drivers were interviewed for case studies.

Quantitative analyses revealed that victims scored significantly higher on Received Control and Socio-Emotional Affect than non-victims. Significant relationships were found between certain types of incidents and interpersonal tendencies: Expressed Control and physical threat from an intoxicated customer (Kendall’s tau b=.237, p<.05), actual violence from an intoxicated customer (Kendall’s tau b=.279, p<.05), and multiple victimisations (Kendall’s tau b=.227, p<.05).

Differences were observed between samples. Loan sellers were more frequently victimised by customers who did not appear intoxicated compared to taxi drivers who were more likely to be victimised by inebriated customers. The latter also seemed to be more at risk of more serious forms of violence.

As to disclosure, loan sellers who reported an incident obtained significant higher scores on Received Control and lower scores on Socio-Emotional Affect and Expressed Control than those who did not report an incident. Taxi drivers obtained a significant Kendall tau correlation between reporting and Expressed Control (Kendall’s tau b=.283, p<.05), which is opposing results from the loan sellers sample.

Qualitative analyses revealed “inaction from the police” and “waste of time” as the two main reasons for not reporting an incident. Interactions with the offender and behaviours leading to escalation were also dominant themes within the two case studies.

By examining the relationship between victims’ interpersonal tendencies and workplace victimisation and disclosure, the current study offers a foundation for the development of an Interpersonal Transaction model of Victimisation and opens new research avenues on personality correlates of crime disclosure.

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