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Workplace aggression is a significant and prevalent issue facing organizations. Almost all employees report experiencing workplace incivility: low-intensity deviant behavior with ambiguous intent to harm the target (Andersson & Pearson, 1999). More severe forms of workplace aggression happen at lower but still sizable rates. For example, data from the 2014 Canadian General Social Survey indicates that 27 percent of all physically violent incidents occur in the workplace (Perreault, 2015), with women more than twice as likely to be targets of workplace violence than men after adjusting for work hours (Lanthier, Bielecky, & Smith, 2018). These numbers are even more startling when one considers that employees often fail to report workplace aggression. For example, in the hospital environment – a context with elevated risks of aggression – 88 percent of employees who experienced a violent incident did not formally document the incident (Arnetz et al., 2015).
Workplace aggression is a serious problem for workers and their employers. As such, an improved scientific understanding of workplace aggression has important implications. This volume, which includes chapters written by leading workplace aggression scholars, addresses three primary topics: the measurement, predictors and consequences of workplace aggression; the social context of workplace aggression; and the prevention of workplace aggression. Of note, the book encompasses the various labels used by researchers to refer to workplace aggression, such as 'abusive supervision', 'bullying', 'incivility' and 'interpersonal conflict'. This approach differs from those of previous books on the topic in that it does not focus on a particular type of workplace aggression, but covers an intentionally broad conceptualization of workplace aggression - specifically, it considers aggression from both the aggressors' and the targets' perspectives and includes behaviors enacted by several types of perpetrators, including supervisors, coworkers and customers.