UN Women reports that globally, about 1 in 3 women aged over 15 experienced IPA at least once in their life, with most of these encounters perpetrated by a current or former intimate partner. While IPA has been a continuing global challenge long before the pandemic, UN Women further confirms that it has become a ‘shadow pandemic’ in recent years. With the upturn of working-from-home arrangements, paying attention to the effects of IPA on a victim’s work life is more crucial than ever. Indeed, IPA is not just a domestic concern but is also a workplace concern.
Understanding the causes and consequences of IPA in relation to work is an important step towards addressing this challenging issue. Against this backdrop, RMIT Centre for People, Organisation and Work (CPOW) researcher Catherine Deen and her collaborators Yaqing He (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Heath Gregg (University of Miami), Simon Lloyd Restubog (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and Anne O'Leary-Kelly (University of Arkansas) reviewed 172 empirical papers that touched on the link between IPA and work. Their goal was to develop an initial nomological network of the causes and consequences of IPA victimization and perpetration in the context of work, thereby bringing the conversation about IPA into the management and organisational behaviour disciplines.
Their findings point towards a myriad of individual (e.g., abuse history, gender-related beliefs, dark traits, alcohol and drug use) and work-related causes of victimization (e.g., employment status) and perpetration (e.g., occupational stress) as well as the consequences of IPA on victims (e.g., stifled performance, quit intentions, heightened anxiety, depression), perpetrators (e.g., absenteeism, errors at work), co-workers (e.g., distress, increased workload) and organisations (e.g., costs, safety issues). Aside from this pioneering nomological network, Deen and colleagues also offered a definition of work-related intimate partner aggression (WIPA) and discussed prevailing theoretical perspectives that have been applied to understand WIPA (e.g., feminist, resource, ecological, social cognitive careers theory).
Academics may be interested in the future research directions presented by the team while practitioners and business leaders are enjoined to reflect upon the emerged framework to help foster a deeper understanding of IPA victimization and perpetration in the context of work. It is the researchers’ hope that this review will provide opportunities for organisations and national institutions to critically reflect on current policies and interventions to address this relevant workplace issue.
The related academic paper is published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior and is available here.
Full citation: Deen, C. M., He, Y., Gregg, H., Restubog, S. L. D., & O'Leary‐Kelly, A. (2022). Intimate partner aggression and work: An interdisciplinary review and agenda for future research. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 43(2), 236-259. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2585
Dr. Catherine Deen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at RMIT’s College of Business and Law. Dr. Deen’s research falls under two key areas: (1) the impact of various forms of control on work and well-being specifically intimate partner aggression and micromanagement, and (2) the vocational experiences of vulnerable workers. Dr. Deen's research has been published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Vocational Behavior, and Journal of Career Assessment.