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The term workplace violence typically conjures images of disgruntled employees lashing out against supervisors and coworkers in murderous rage. In part, this perception has been perpetuated by a number of highly publicized workplace shootings, especially within the U.S. Postal Service—as captured by the expression “going postal.” Although a large number of such incidents have occurred (and continue to occur) across a variety of organizational settings and business sectors, workplace violence involves much more than workplace homicide.

Definitional and Conceptual Issues

Workplace violence subsumes both fatal and nonfatal forms of aggression—behavior intended to harm others. The literature on workplace violence has always stressed that the phenomenon includes an array of behaviors both overt and covert in form. For example, at one extreme, this would include murder, rape, and ...

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