A qualitative study of the multiple impacts of external workplace violence in two Western Cape communities
South African Journal of Psychology
Department of Psychology, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Programme in Industrial Psychology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Psychology, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
We explore the individual, organisational, familial, and community impacts of external workplace violence in a South African telecommunications company, as perceived and experienced by victims of such violence and the members of management mandated to manage and prevent it. Exposure to violence while working dramatically and directly affected the lives of the individual victims. Moreover, its impacts were felt across and within the organisational, familial, and community settings in which these individuals are located daily. The use of conventional crisis management strategies that are traditionally directed at addressing the individual impacts of trauma through specialised psychological interventions were perceived to be ineffective by all of the research participants. Our findings therefore call into question current understandings of the psychologist's role in managing violence in the workplace. Accordingly, ways of re-conceptualising the role and requisite skill set of psychologists working with or in organisations, where violence while working is an everyday reality, are suggested. © Psychological Society of South Africa. All rights reserved.