Workplace aggression: introduction to the special issue and future research directions for scholars

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Publication details

Tummers, L, Brunetto, Y & Teo, STT 2016, 'Workplace aggression: introduction to the special issue and future research directions for scholars', International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 2-10.

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Public employees are often confronted with aggression from citizens, managers and colleagues. This is sometimes a function of having a monopoly position of many public organizations. As a result, citizens cannot opt for alternative providers when not served well. This could give rise to aggression. Furthermore, increased budget cuts might give rise to higher stress, workload and consequential aggression at times. This paper analyzes articles on workplace aggression, both the three articles of this special issue and more broadly. The purpose of this paper is to provide researchers with methodological and theoretical future research suggestions for new studies on workplace aggression. By taking new methodological and theoretical routes, scholars can contribute to the analysis and potential solutions concerning workplace aggression in the public sector. First, the authors advise researchers to move beyond cross-sectional surveys. Instead, diary studies, longitudinal studies and experimental methods (such as randomized control trials) should be increasingly used. Furthermore, scholars can focus more on theory development and testing. Future studies are advised to connect workplace aggression to theoretical models (such as the Job Demands-Resources model), to theories (for instance social learning theory) and to public administration concepts (such as public service motivation and trust in citizens). This is one of the few articles within the public management literature which provides new methodological and theoretical directions for future research on workplace aggression.