Violence at the workplace is a contemporary social problem, which turned into an epidemic. However, it is not a common issue only at the workplaces where violence can be expected, for example, in the mental health departments or law enforcement agencies. Nowadays, it has prevailed at different workplaces dealing with public affairs. Workplace violence may include physical assault, but it is not limited to it. It entails verbal abuse as well as sexual harassment or physical assault. Women are the major victims of this social problem as compared to men. Therefore, a proponent of conflict theory will consider workplace violence as another practical application of the theory in the society. According to the conflict theory, it is a gender inequality of the working class that stimulates the behaviors like threats, physical assaults, etc. Moreover, it can also be the power difference as the men are usually at higher positions in the hierarchy of the workplace and can negatively use it to harass the women (Tischler 326).
On the other hand, inter-actionists emphasize that social problems are based on human interaction. At the workplace, the conflict of interest may give rise to workplace violence. Everything is based on actions and responses to these actions when human beings interact at the workplace. The meaning for every action is created due to the interaction of people. Everything is based on the cause and effect and inter-actionists may see the problem of violence as a result of conflict between the two employees at the workplace. It may be a reaction to other social problems, including mental problems or any disorder that stimulates violent behavior among individuals. Therefore, statistics that show that women are the major victims of this behavior will be rejected by the proponents of the inter-actionist theory as they consider that the statistics can be prejudiced and cannot be utilized to present the true theories about the social problems. Instead, the unstructured interviews should be used to find out the cause of this deviant behavior on the part of the workers who are involved in workplace violence (Tischler 20).
Culture is not confined to arts but is a framework of life that provides values and shapes attitudes. Universal elements of culture include language, values, symbols, and norms. Language is defined as a collection of symbols with specific as well as arbitrary meanings for the members of the society. Every culture has its own language, and it separates human beings from all other creatures. It is a tool to capture past, discuss present and assess the future of the society. For instance, the English language is the main element of American culture, and the Korean language separates Korean culture from other cultures (Tischler 47-49).
Social norms usually refer to the guidelines or models for the members of the society. For instance, appropriate and inappropriate, good or bad and right or wrong are the guidelines given by the norms. Shaking hands meeting someone and keeping one’s home clean are examples of norms. For instance, it is a norm for doctors to conduct in a particular way while treating their patients, teachers follow norms while teaching, and workers follow norms at the place of work. Any inappropriate action is considered a deviation from the norms and is discouraged by the members of a culture.
Values, as defined by Leung and Bond (1989), are important as a basic element of culture and are made up of dominant ideologies, beliefs, and philosophies of the people. It is a conception that may be implicit or explicit; it is a characteristic of a group that affects the selection of actions taken by individuals (Earley and Ang 66-67). Symbols refer to traditions or national phenomena of the culture. For example, the US flag is a symbol of US culture.
As we socialize, we accept the values of society as individuals, and these norms help us in functioning with society. The major values, which are important for appropriate functioning in the society, including respecting others, patriotism, supporting the family values and bravery. Patriotism is the value characterized by an individual’s devotion to the native country. Some norms also symbolize values. For instance, if I am running and flying the national flag on the national holiday, it shows patriotism and love for my country (Tischler 489-494).
Respect is showing esteem towards other individuals, their traditions or norms and acting in a manner that represents a positive behavior. Respecting the freedom and traditions of other people is also a value, which shows a positive attitude not only towards the society one lives in but also towards other societies. It can help an individual in orientation or socialization in a particular society.
Supporting family values refers to the social belief that family is an essential and fundamental unit of the society, and one must adhere to family values in order to safeguard the unity of the family. Supporting family values brings an appreciation of the society and is warmly welcomed in societies where the family system is endangered.
Bravery or courage refers to the moral power of a person to act right in spite of the popular opposition, discouragement, shame or scandal. I came across accepting these values in the process of socialization and on the basis of the norms learned during the social orientation.
Deviant behavior of George can be explained on the basis of inter-actionist theory, which emphasizes that human behavior and sociological problems are based on some causes or actions. There is a cause and effect or action and reaction phenomenon in the story of George. His deviant behavior is a result of his job loss and inability to find a replacement due to the economic recession. His sociological behaviors were very positive, but economic pressure changed his good behavior and he deviated from the norms of the society.
George was imprisoned for adopting deviant behavior. According to social control theory, society takes informal measures to correct the deviant behavior that includes shame, criticism or ridicule, and it may have unenthusiastic as well as the optimistic impact on the deviant behavior. On the other hand, government actions control and regulate society and discourage deviance. Examples of formal sanctions include fines and imprisonment by law enforcing agencies.
According to the theory of deterrence, it can prevent the offense and deviant behavior if the punishment is made certain while making the punishment long does not affect the rate of offense. George has been imprisoned, and this sanction may not affect his deviance, because the sanction has not discussed his problem of unemployment. On the other hand, it may impact the deviant behavior negatively by making the economic situation of George more critical (Tischler 169).
The social system is the United States is very complex, and there are different models for its classification. The upper class merely makes one percent of the total population and is characterized by large inherited wealth. They have well – known family names and are stratified as individuals with maximum wealth and income. The middle class is the largest social class in the USA with a middle class lifestyle, self-earned money and very low inherited wealth. They make up about 34% of the USA population and are employed on the professional jobs with at least college level education; they are also referred to as the white-collar class of the USA. Working class makes up of 30% of the population with its members working as electricians, carpenters, mechanics, etc. The members of this class are high school qualified and also have some vocational training institute degree. They are known as the blue collar class. The lower class in the USA is characterized by low education, no professional skill or they are jobless. This class includes all the American citizens who are under the poverty line (Ballantine and Roberts 183).