Rather than focusing on the supposedly "lethal" or dysfunctional employee as the source of danger, Denenberg and Braverman point to the dysfunctional workplace as the problem. They describe underlying factors in the workplace which can foster extreme behavior and prevent an effective response. Calling for early intervention in situations that could result in violence, the authors suggest specific techniques for reducing the risk that an office, plant, or school will suffer crises arising from threats or a climate of hostility.
At the heart of the book are fourteen vivid examples of real-life incidents involving violence, a threat of violence, or a perception that such a threat was made. They include instances in which domestic violence spilled over into the workplace, difficulties caused by racial and ethnic tension, and explosive behavior in response to common workplace occurrences such as downsizing or a change in corporate culture. Each example is followed by an analysis of the response to the actual or potential danger, indicating where mistakes were made because of poor information, bad judgment, absence of a clear policy, lack of consensus, or even irrational fear.
An extensive appendix provides government guidelines and sample policies intended to serve as templates for violence-prevention plans. Both the examples and sample policies allow organizations to benefit from the experience of others and avoid common mistakes.
About the Authors:
Richard V. Denenberg is Codirector of Workplace Solutions, a nonprofit organization that creates model violence-prevention programs. His writings have appeared frequently in Dispute Resolution Journal, and he is the coauthor of Alcohol and Other Drugs: Issues in Arbitration. A former editor at the New York Times, he lives in New York's Hudson River Valley.
Mark Braverman is a principal of Workplace Solutions and a founder of CMG Associates in Newton, Massachusetts. A psychologist and organizational consultant, he is a pioneer in the field of workplace violence and has written and lectured internationally on violence prevention, crisis intervention, and occupational mental health.