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Spotlight on faculty research

Featured: Workplace aggression and violence

Featured: Workplace aggression and violence For the better part of the past two decades, Dr. Joel Neuman, Associate Professor of Management, has conducted research and engaged in consulting related to workplace aggression and violence (i.e., efforts by individuals to harm others in work settings). His work involves behaviors variously described as emotional abuse, psychological aggression, insidious work behavior, incivility, generalized work harassment, bullying, abusive supervision, and social undermining, to name a few. These behaviors range from subtle expressions of hostility to fatal physical assaults.

After instances of workplace violence and workplace bullying, he is frequently contacted by the press to discuss these and related incidents. Over the years, this has included interviews with the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Miami Herald, CNBC, Essence magazine, Conference Board Review and the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health at the American Psychiatric Foundation. Most recently, he was interviewed by Newsweek magazine related to a shooting on August 24th near the Empire State Building (Grove & Signal, 2012).

"Perceived injustice plays a significant role in many, if not most, of these incidents," says management professor Joel Neuman of the State University of New York. "Some of these individuals are described as 'grievance collectors.' They see everything as a slight. They focus on injustice. And because work plays such a central role in one's life, there are significant consequences." – Newsweek, Sept. 6, 2012

After the mass shootings at Virginia Tech, Dr. Neuman was invited by faculty at the university to contribute material on workplace violence to an edited volume (Neuman, 2012d), and his definition and description of workplace violence was recently adopted by, and published in, the Encyclopedia of Trauma (Neuman, 2012c).His work has also included a review of gender and sex differences in workplace aggression (Neuman, 2012b) and a recently published chapter on workplace bullying—from the school yard to the boardroom (Neuman & Keashly, 2012).

Initially, the major focus of Dr. Neuman's research was devoted to understanding the nature, prevalence, causes, and consequences of workplace aggression. In recent years, he has expanded his work to include practical applications derived from research and theory as relates to the prevention and management of disruptive, and occasionally lethal, behavior. Working with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, he and his colleagues have developed interventions that are being implemented in a number of public- and private-sector organizations. In terms of educating the public on these issues, beyond the interviews noted above, Dr. Neuman serves on the Board of Advisors for the New Workplace Institute, a not-for-profit research and education center at Suffolk University Law School promoting healthy, productive, and socially responsible workplaces.

Although academic researchers have played an important role in understanding and dealing with workplace aggression, little research or consulting had been conducted in academic settings. So, for the past five years, Dr. Neuman has attempted to fill this void by exploring these issues in institutions of higher education. This led to interviews with the Chronicle of Higher Education (Fogg, 2008) and a more recent feature article in On Campus, published by the American Federation of Teachers (Myers, 2011). Along with his colleague, Loraleigh Keashly, Wayne State University, he published a seminal article on faculty experiences with workplace bullying (Keashly & Neuman, 2010) and have a forthcoming chapter related to their continuing work in this area (Keashly & Neuman, in press).

As ethics is of importance in the School of Business curriculum, Dr. Neuman has begun to explore the relationship between ethical decision-making and interpersonal aggression. This has resulted in a recently published book chapter (Neuman, 2012a) and another invited chapter, which is currently in progress (Neuman, in progress).

Finally, some of his current work focuses on an area that has received no attention. Specifically, it dawned on him that some people are required, in whole or in part, to employ violence against others as part of their "job." In a recent chapter (Neuman, 2012a), Dr. Neuman discussed the impact of engaging in "government sanctioned" violence by military personnel, peace keepers, and executioners charged with carrying out sentences for capital crimes. His work in this area is in its infancy but has attracted some attention, and he believes that it is an under-explored but important field of research.

Fogg, P. (2008). Academic bullies: The web provides new outlets for combating workplace aggression. Chronicle of Higher Education   Retrieved September 10, 2008, from

Grove, L., & Signal, J. (2012, September 6). How to spot a workplace crazy. Newsweek, 160(10), 5.

Keashly, L., & Neuman, J. H. (2010). Faculty experiences with bullying in higher education: Causes, consequences, and management. Administrative Theory and Praxis, 32, 48-70.

Keashly, L., & Neuman, J. H. (in press). Bullying in higher education: What current research, theorizing, and practice tell us. In Lester, J. (Ed.), Workplace Bullying in Higher Education. New York, NY: Routledge.

Myers, V. (2011, November/December). Confronting campus bullies: How bullying shows up in the halls of academe, and what we can do about it. AFT On Campus, 31(2), 8-10.

Neuman, J. H. (2012a). Aggression, unethical behavior, and employee well-being: An "aggressive" examination of the issues. In Giacalone, R. A. & Promislo, M. D. (Eds.), The handbook of unethical work behavior: Implications for well-being (pp. 89-103). Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.

Neuman, J. H. (2012b). Gender and sex differences in the forms of workplace aggression. In Fox, S. & Lituchy, T. R. (Eds.), Gender and the dysfunctional workplace (pp. 14-28). Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Neuman, J. H. (2012c). Workplace violence. In Figley, C. R. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of trauma: An interdisciplinary guide Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Neuman, J. H. (2012d). Workplace violence and aggression: When you do not want your company on the news. In Reilly, N. P., Sirgy, M. J. & Gorman, C. A. (Eds.), Work and quality of life: Ethical practices in organizations (pp. 343-373). New York: Springer.

Neuman, J. H. (in progress). An action learning approach to ethics training for the prevention and management of workplace aggression. In Sekerka, L. E. (Ed.), Ethics training in action. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Neuman, J. H., & Keashly, L. (2012). Bullies coming out of the schoolyard and into the boardroom: Combating abusive workplace communication. In Wrench, J. S. (Ed.), Workplace communication for the 21st century: Tools and strategies that impact the bottom line (pp. 321-353). New York: Praeger.


Faculty research briefs

Faculty research briefs- Hansen

Dr. Victoria Hansen, Assistant Professor of Accounting, co-authored an article which appeared in the Journal of the American Taxation Association. Her research examined the impact of two significant changes to the tax preparer penalty provisions (enacted as part of Small Business Work Opportunity Act of 2007) – penalty amount and reporting standard required to avoid penalty imposition – on tax preparers' recommendation and signing decisions. Dr. Hansen found that higher penalty amounts have no effect on the aggressiveness of tax preparers' recommendations to clients; however, it reduces their willingness to sign a tax return containing an aggressive position. A higher reporting standard significantly reduces both tax preparers' willingness to recommend an aggressive position and to sign a tax return containing an aggressive position.



Faculty research briefs- Lukaszewski


Dr. Kim Lukaszewski, Associate Professor of Management, collaborated with colleagues to write an article published in the Human Resource Management Review and presented to the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology about factors affecting the effectiveness and acceptance of electronic selection systems. She co-authored a book chapter on recruitment and selection in an Internet context that was included in "Human resource information systems: Basics, applications, and future directions" (2nd edition). Dr. Lukaszewski edited journal articles for the Journal of Managerial Psychology and was a guest editor for a special issue which focused on social issues.




Faculty research briefs- VoraDr. Davina Vora, Associate Professor of International Business, co-authored three papers in 2012. The first was published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Management, which explored internationalization patterns of Indian software. The second, in the International Journal of Human Resource Management, investigated whether subgroups influence the relations between group learning and performance. The third, in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, used case analysis to study how organizational culture influences organizational practices and in turn entrepreneurial orientation. In addition, Dr. Vora presented in-progress research regarding the roles of biculturals (people who identify with two cultures) in organizations at the Academy of Management and Academy of International Business annual meetings, and the causes of subsidiary managers' commitment and identification with their multinational enterprise and subsidiary at the Academy of International Business. Dr. Vora received best reviewer awards for the Academy of International Business and the International Management Division of the Academy of Management in 2012.