Applied social psychology and the work environment

Employee satisfaction is the product of many factors, some directly related to the work situation and some related to the individual’s personal qualities or characteristics. This week, you examine social cognitive theory and social identity theory as applied to the work environment and employee satisfaction. For this Discussion, review the media titled: The Virtual Office and then consider the social cognitive factors that might affect their job satisfaction. Provide a brief description of social cognitive theory and social identity theoryThen provide a brief description of the employees with high job satisfaction and employees with low job satisfaction. Explain the reasons for their satisfaction beyond the score. Explain how non–work-related social cognitive factors might have influenced employee satisfaction for two of the employees. Explain two areas in which a consultant might use social psychology to maintain or improve work satisfaction.

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PSYC 6245 PSYC 8247 CPSY 6245
Social Psychology
Week 11: The Virtual Office
“The time has come once again for the annual job satisfaction assessment at the United
Cardboard Company. The human resources department has brought in an external
consultant to interview the employees and learn what is making the office a satisfying or
not satisfying place to work and why. Click on the avatar of each employee to view the
consultant’s notes on that employee’s job satisfaction level. After reviewing the notes
for each employee, consider what changes could be made to create a more satisfying
job environment.”
Overall Job Satisfaction Score: 9 out of 10
Work Related Notes: Kathy expresses an overall very high job satisfaction level. Kathy
feels very capable of doing her job and made a strong point to mention that she feels
particularly well trained for the job by saying, “The training process that we go through
here is extremely helpful. The instructors have always been fantastic and attentive
whenever we’ve had training courses. Our managers have also been really good about
following up to make sure the training sticks and that we have the resources we need.
All in all, I feel strongly that I have what I need to do the job that is expected of me and
more importantly – to do it well!”
Personal Notes: Kathy commented in the course of our meeting that not only is her
work life going well, but things are also going well at home. She expressed happiness
that she and her husband just bought a new home, which will be closer to their
children’s school and give them a lot more room to play.
Overall Job Satisfaction Score: 4 out of 10
Work Related Notes: Teresa displays a relatively low job satisfaction level that stems
mostly dissatisfaction with the nature of teams here at United Cardboard. While feeling
reasonably happy with other aspects of the office, her scores significantly declined
whenever teams were mentioned. In her own words: “There is absolutely no stability
here when it comes to teams! We are constantly being put on them for new projects which is great – but there is no consistency! Members of different teams are always
being shuffled around and replaced so there is no cohesion for anyone. This is especially
hard when group leaders change and leave everyone hanging. There is most definitely a
group leadership void.”
Personal Notes: Teresa notes a fairly steady life outside of work with little to no
complaints. In fact, she revealed that she and her partner have begun discussing
adopting another child.
Overall Job Satisfaction Score: 2 out of 10
Work Related Notes: Jeannette has what is easily the lowest level of job satisfaction in
the company. Her complaints about work conditions essentially spanned the entire
spectrum of categories in some very concerning ways. With dissatisfaction on
everything from having too many projects at once to the physical temperature climate
of her cubicle, Jeannette is a highly unhappy employee. When I asked what her biggest
concern was though, this was her response: “It’s so hard to pick just one thing that isn’t
working around here but if I have to I’d say the technology. It seems like we are always
being asked to download new software systems but our computers are so old that the
software rarely works properly. My computer is constantly freezing, crashing, and in
need of IT help. I can’t tell you how many projects I’ve had to start over from scratch
because of lost data. It’s extremely frustrating to say the least.”
Personal Notes: As with her work life, things aren’t very happy at home either for
Jeannette. Her divorce was recently finalized and she was forced to move into a studio
apartment not being able to pay her old house payment on her own. On top of that, she
also ended her relationship with the man she was seeing following the separation from
her husband.
Overall Job Satisfaction Score: 8 out of 10
Work Related Notes: Ken expressed a very high level of job satisfaction and had some
really great things to say about his manager’s management style as well. In his own
words: “One thing that really blew me away this year was working on a team where my
manager encouraged divergent thinking and dissent. There was absolutely no pressure
or need to be nervous if you ever had doubts about something and wanted to express
that. We got into a lot of really productive discussions about strategy this way and
ultimately it led to a much better product with much happier clients. I honestly wish
every work situation in my life was like this!”
Personal Notes: Ken has had a rough year with the death of both of his parents but has
been seeing a counselor and focusing his energy into his surviving family and work,
which has had a very positive effect on his mood and overall outlook on life.
Overall Job Satisfaction Score: 5 out of 10
Work Related Notes: My interview with Brian did not yield a satisfaction survey result
on either extreme of the spectrum but I would ultimately classify his satisfaction level as
low due to his overwhelming focus on how changes are affecting his productivity. He
says, “There have been so many changes in the past year that it’s getting really hard to
keep up. Team members, leaders, processes, and rules are almost always being
revamped or changed. And sometimes it feels like it’s just being done for the sake of
changing something! At first I was able to roll with it but I’ve noticed that lately it’s been
affecting our productivity. We spend so much time double-checking who is doing what
and with whom on which process, that we never get a chance to do the actual work
properly. I know if this isn’t corrected soon we’re going to be in major trouble.”
Personal Notes: Brian was very closed off regarding his personal life and didn’t share
many details beyond the fact that he is single and still lives in his parents’ house. In
general he seems to have a positive attitude about life and strives to improve upon his
current situation.
©2012 Laureate Education, Inc.

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