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Title: Evolving understanding of work-related hostility : a biopsychosocial exploration
Author: Cooper, Paul
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This theoretical (non-empirical) thesis presents a new conceptual framework for studying behaviour in organizations. This is synthesized from the theory of evolution and commensurate concepts (the biopsychosocial approach to behaviour and human ethology) and is offered as a meta-theory. This accommodates in pluralist, trans-disciplinary manner diverse (i.e. biological, psychological and social) research streams. I argue it avoids the super-organicism inherent in the standard social science model, and offers opportunity for a more comprehensive understanding of behaviour, e.g. by incorporating biological issues into study. The conceptual framework is applied to an exemplum behaviour - work-related hostility (WRH) - to demonstrate its relevance. Hostility (and its associated stress and emotion) are presented as evolved biopsychosocial behaviours conferring survival benefit. They are located in a specific context – service work. I explore numerous aspects of service-based WRH – the dynamics, impacts, effects and outcomes of hostile customer-worker service interactions. My analysis goes beyond current thinking and theorizing in the field, e.g. by considering complex intra- and interpersonal reactions and responses; recognizing behaviour and experiences of same are biopsychosocial and add to workers’ inner conflict and stress; proposing WRH comprises ritualized behaviours having powerful effect through biopsychosocial impact. The conceptual framework adopted offers insights into WRH the current literature has not, e.g. helping explain issues such as why WRH is so effecting even when it is nonviolent; why parties retain their relative status; why staff’s counter-aggression seems rare; why WRH continues to occur despite efforts to manage it. I claim the conceptual framework and my analysis considers more facets of WRH than past studies have, e.g. what happens in interactions; what mechanisms/systems/complexes function; why; how; who is effected; and what the results are. I conclude by discussing limitations of the thesis, suggesting empirical study using the framework and indicating other potential applications of it.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor