2019KOEPPENBCPhD.pdf (3.18 MB)
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Retail Security Guards’ Experiences of, and Reactions to, Workplace Violence

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posted on 19.02.2019, 12:04 authored by Benjamin C. Koeppen
Retail security guards (RSGs) are at particular risk of being assaulted at work. Even though incidents of workplace violence (WV) and the security industry are growing, little is known about how RSGs experience and react to assault. Consequently, this qualitatively-driven mixed-method research focuses on what the experience of WV and organisational support networks means for RSGs’ emotional well-being, on RSGs’ reactions to support and on how RSGs avoid future victimisation. To gain further insights into these phenomena, 488 questionnaires and 20 interviews were completed with a sample of contracted RSGs. Firstly, cognitive appraisal theory shows that differences in RSGs’ appraisals of both violent acts and a number of contextual factors contribute to the differences in RSGs’ emotional reactions to WV events. Secondly, drawing on elements of social exchange theory and organisational support theory reveals that the support source and the support action have a significant impact on RSGs’ emotional well-being and on the levels of loyalty and work motivation they feel towards the security company and the retail client. Thirdly, by applying the concept of functional and dysfunctional worry of crime, it is shown that different forms of worry can simultaneously facilitate and inhibit RSGs’ decisions to make use of proactive and inactive self-protection measures. Finally, this study uncovers that providing RSGs with appropriate support networks enhances their emotional well-being and their organisational commitment, whereas an absence of networks increases their desire to leave their jobs. It reveals that the provision of equipment, training and manpower increase RSGs’ feelings of safety which helps to decrease their need for undesirable self-protection measures. Ultimately, exploring RSGs’ emotional responses to WV and organisational support produced valuable insights into their occupational and behavioural reactions. This in turn might help to reduce WV-related turnover rates within the industry, improve training for RSGs and promote their protection.



Hopkins, Matt; Beck, Adrian; Barnes, Rebecca

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Department of Criminology

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University of Leicester

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