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Boyd; Customer Violence and Employee Health and Safety.docx

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Sociology 3308F/G
Kim Shuey

Boyd; "Customer violence and employee health and safety" Sunday, February 02, 2014 3:56 PM Introduction • Sociology has limited writings on occupational health and safety • Fail to recognize role of work processes in illness • Paper seeks to integrate emotional labor in OHS debates • High applicability to women's labor • Work processes in OHSn highly relevant to work-related illness • Work related illness incurs massive personal and organizational costs • Repetitive strain injury is associated with application of information and computing technologies • Job related stress also associated with contemporary work processes • Recent surge of interest in occupational stress • Sparked by cost to businesses and economy • Range of factors perpetuate stress; shift work, high or low work demands, poor social relationships at work, low autonomy, physical danger, conflict between domestic and work roles, etc. • High demands on emotional labor contribute to stress • Postively correlated with stress, negatively correlated with job satisfaction • Emotional labor may have an important influence on work related illness, absence, and lower productivity • Increase in incidence of customer verbal abuse and physical violence in the UK, 1 in 5 workers subject to an attack or abuse at work every year • Increased experience with abusive customers positively correlated with higher absence levels Emotional Labor • 76% of jobs in UK provided by service sector, high demand for emotional labor • Society has come to expect mcdonalds style courtesy and friendliness in service workers • Workers have to display emotions that comply with certain expression norms or rules of organization to satisfy customer • Employees to appear happy, nice, glad to serve customer, in spite of whatever private feelings they have • Not much udnerstood about consequences of constant and sustained demands for emotional labor on employee well being • Disjuncture between employees feelings, and displayed feelings, may be source of anxiety • Commodification of emotional labor • Intensity of emotional labor increases where employees regularly have to deal with customer abuse • Not all employees will use their emotional labor in the same way, some may be resistant of the scripted "please to serve you" attitude • A lot of service workers deploy mechanisms in order to protect the "self", preventing emotional alientation and emotional numbness • Paules noticed waitresses adopted a "waitress as a soldier" attitude, customer hostility matched and surpassed by waitress • Most service workers encourage to diffuse customer hostility through "customer is always right" attitude • This may lead to an acceptance that verbalized customer dissatisfaction, no matter how upsetting, is just part of the job • Acceptance of verbal abuse leads to underreporting • Likely that majority of incidences are not communicated to management • Violence is a serious OHS hazard, paper considers how these events may increase and intensify demands made upon service worker's emotional labor Violence at Work • Violence tends to obscure the even more prevalent and common instances of verbal abuse • Transforming dissatisfaction to satisfaction is an integral part of service workers jobs • Training workers to deal with it doesn’t eradicate the problem Trends in Violence at work • Widespread, but largely unrecognized across all sectors • Women more at risk of abuse and violence • CUPE reports verbal aggression as being the leading form of violence against employees • Many threats of physical violence • Railways and airline passenger violence has been increasing • Remain in contact with customers for longer length of time than most service jobs • Difficult to call immediate outside help • Workplace structure, working environment, can influence risk of violence • Over crowded, poorly ventilated, dirty, noisy premises experience more violent events • Poor organization can lead to excessive workloads, slowed emploee performance, customer hostility Survey Findings: Violence in the airline and railway industries • Airlines have taght cabin crews to be very subservient towards passengers, adopting "passenger is always right attitude" • Customer is aware and takes full advantage • Section discusses data produced in two questionnaire suverys in 1998 and 1999 • Review linkages between passenger violence and cabin crew health • Review types and prevalence of verbal abuse • Explore types and prevalence of physical abuse • Consider respondents perception of violence • Examine causes of passenger violence • Qualitative and quantitative data gathered • Respondents seem to accept regular incidents as part of their job • Under
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