Most people, after reading the title of this post, may say “well…of course they do.” However, given the fact that so many American workers are unsatisfied with their work, it’s a wonder why so many organizational decision-makers focus on either monetary or punishment tactics to motivate their workforce. All the while, these same decision-makers fail to consider the impact of their organization’s culture on employee productivity.

First, let me start off by saying the following very important thing: (a) organizational culture is entirely communicative and (b) organizational culture is regularly changing (there are multiple sources to support those two assertions). Therefore, with those two things in mind, the culture of an organization can be changed with the implementation of proper communicative elements among the members of the organization. In this sense, one way to improve an organization is to improve the way that social support is communicated (see my dissertation for a very long and boring explanation on this topic).

I was excited when I saw the a post at UPI.com, which reported the findings of a research study on this very topic. Here is the article in its entirety (note that this is a direct quote):

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Happy EmployeesSo, imagine that you are an employee at a large corporation. You come in to work each day and you dread being there. You have a sordid relationship with your coworkers. That relationship manifests itself in a variety of ways, especially in how you and your co-workers treat each other. You and your co-workers seldom laugh, you regularly quarrel, and your communication is almost always task-related. You would never say that you have “friends” at your office; rather, you simply have co-workers. The culture of the organization where you work is negative, antagonistic, and pessimistic. You like the work that you do, but you hate the people that you have to work with.

Sound familiar? For many Americans, this is daily life in the workplace.

Guess what?? This regular struggle to create positive relationships with your coworkers may be slowly killing you.

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RosieOn our nation’s birth date, I thought it would be appropriate to post a brief story about my thoughts on our nation’s history, especially our working history. This idea was predicated on an article that I read this morning in the Arizona Republic on how our economy “stacks up” to other countries. While I am sure that the author of the story cites appropriate and accurate statistics, I do want to take him to task on one important issue. He says the following:

“Average U.S. household income of $37,690 (in 2008) was well above the OECD average of $22,284. Two-thirds of teens and adults here have a job, including 73 percent of mothers – a sign of positive work/life balance for women.”

While I am happy to see that earnings are higher-than-projected in 2008, I am quite concerned that the author of this article equates work with positive work/life balance. I am not entirely certain what the author of this article is speaking to, but I can assume that there is a specific reason why he uses this language.

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Mother working from home Today, I read an online article about some of the “unique problems” that stay-at-home workers face over their face-to-face working counterparts. I know that these unique problems have been reported in countless research articles, but I think its worth a quick re-post of some of the primary problems (especially those reported in the news story):

1. People working at home must be self-motivated enough to accomplish all of their tasks in a timely fashion.
2. At-home workers are entirely responsible for their own image and cannot rely on their coworkers to help bolster their image at work.
3. At-home workers have fewer opportunities for social connectivity, especially as being engaged in their organizational culture.
4. Lack of face-to-face communication with supervisors, customers, vendors, employees, and co-workers can lead to a whole host of problems, since there are fewer nonverbal channels in which to communicate. I just LOVE it when people try to communicate sarcasm through text (pun intended)
5. Conflict and crises can become incredibly difficult to manage when working from home.

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A friend of mine forwarded me a link to an NPR article about a new study published by The Families and Work Institutes as part of the on-going National Study of the Changing Workforce. I have been following much of the research coming out of this group for some time now, especially since these particular researchers have a rather large Sloan Family Foundation grant for their research.

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