1. Grant Funds Study Of Domestic Violence In Workplace

From: "Kim Wells" <kwells@caepv.org>


Grant Funds Study Of Domestic Violence In Workplace

Wed, Apr 30, 2003

Grant Funds Study Of Domestic Violence In Workplace

UA Walton College faculty awarded $500,000 from Justice Department

By Dixie Kline

Special To The Morning News/NWAonline.net

FAYETTEVILLE—Two studies examining executives’ beliefs on domestic violence, commissioned by clothier Liz Claiborne, in 1994 and in 2002, found that two-thirds of these executives believed domestic violence was a major societal problem and that their bottom line would be improved if it were addressed.

The 1994 study targeting corporate America found that 86 percent of the chief executive officers interviewed thought that domestic violence affected their bottom line.

Three researchers from the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas have received a three-year $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to study the effects of domestic violence on the workplace. Amy Farmer, associate professor of economics; Anne O’Leary-Kelly, professor of management; and Carol Reeves, associate professor of management, plan to find out how much domestic violence costs businesses and what can be done to address the issue.

The Walton College research team will examine such issues as tardiness, absenteeism, medical expenses, turnover rates, time away from the job to talk to an attorney and the effects on co-workers.

Many of these problems represent a loss of income for the victim. As a result of the violence, victims of domestic abuse tend to be less productive when they are on the job. Victims also may be less likely to be promoted and, ultimately, may lose their jobs.

"We will analyze the impact through surveys taken in corporate America. Then we will look at best practices in dealing with the domestic violence issue and make recommendations on how to intervene," Farmer said. "The third part of our work will be education—how to disseminate the information to corporate leaders."

Two companies have already agreed to allow the team to survey their employees about domestic violence. Those studies are scheduled to begin this summer, O’Leary-Kelly said.

"Many organizations have taken steps to address and prevent workplace violence, but including domestic violence as part of this equation is often overlooked.

"We initially applied for a $1.9 million grant and are hopeful that as we move into the study, the Justice Department will grant us more money. The negative effects of domestic violence on the workplace may be quite widespread.

"Because domestic violence often spills over to the workplace, there can be effects on co-workers of victims in terms of increased fear of being caught up in someone else’s domestic situation or perhaps simply the emotional labor that goes into worrying about a co-worker who is victimized. These costs currently are invisible, but we expect them to be significant."

The researchers will look at the results of the study from different perspectives. For instance, O’Leary-Kelly and Reeves will focus on the management point of view.

"Up until now, the data on domestic violence in the workplace has been very poor," Reeves said. "Our goal is to be able to expand our study to include all types of companies from all areas of the country. We want a broad and accurate look at the problem. Some progressive companies have undertaken pioneering efforts to address the effects of domestic violence in their workplaces, and we are excited to have the opportunity to work with some of these companies."

Other research team members are economist Jill Tiefenthaler of Colgate University and graduate student Emily Rothman of Harvard University. Rothman, a public policy major, will study the perpetrators.

Farmer and Tiefenthaler began researching the economics of domestic violence in the early 1990s.

"It is the women with the lower incomes or no incomes and little education that seem to be mostly affected by this violence. These women are particularly vulnerable. And now with budgets being cut and people losing their jobs, many women are in bad situations," Farmer explained. "We feel if a company can be educated on how to deal with this issue, it can complement what the government is doing to address it. It can be a win-win situation."

Farmer and Tiefenthaler recently published a study that indicates that domestic abuse may result in almost 7 million lost work days annually, reduce workplace productivity, increase insurance costs and lower profits. Their results were presented at the Academy of Management annual meeting last August and will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Labor Research.

The researchers found that victims of domestic violence are actually over-represented in the workforce.

Researchers looked at data sets from publicly available U.S. studies on domestic violence, including the annual National Crime Victimization Surveys, two Physical Violence in American Families studies and seven studies in The National Violence Against Women Survey.

The Liz Claiborne survey in 1994 and 2002 polled 100 senior executives in Fortune 1000 companies. Ninety-one percent of executives believed that domestic violence affected victims in both their private lives and their work lives. The percentage of executives who thought domestic violence was both a major societal problem and a problem for their organizations increased from 1994 to 2002, but one perception did not change—the percentage of executives who thought organizations had a major role to play in addressing it remained steady, at 12 percent.

W. Barry Nixon

Executive Director

National Institute for the

Prevention of Workplace Violence, Inc.

Phone: 949-770-5264

Fax: 949-597-0977

email: wbnixon@aol.com

URL: www.workplaceviolence911.com

"Visit the #1 site on the web for information on Workplace Violence -