Job-fit theory and personal development

 

This blog entry is a personal reflection upon the job-fit theory and the development of peronal skills.

The Job-fit theory states that satisfaction is highest and turnover lowest when personality and occupation are in alignment (Ch5) but isn’t it the case that one’s personality can still change quite a lot? In fact, I hope that I will still change (towards a better self, of course) as I learn and grow in an organization. Meeting different personalities, experiencing work/study programs abroad or discovering a new area of interest has always given me and my values new inputs and reasons to develop into a different direction. Therefore, can’t satisfaction be increased by giving people the opportunity to grow further?

My diverse interests often depend on the input I get from my environment and the people that are currently influencing me the most.Therefore, I believe that an organizational culture and especially supervisors can have a great impact on one’s thoughts and further development. During an internship at a bank, for instance, I experienced an affiliative however demanding leadership style by my boss. She was a very self-confident lady and admired by the people in her department. As we discussed in class as well I was wondering if she had always been able to guide people that well intuitively or whether she actually acquired these skills with experience and self-development. Building good relationships or being able to communicate effectively are certainly skills that can be sharpened and trained with experience and discipline. Since these are key in being a good leader I believe that leaders need a certain set of given things, such as a certain level of IQ, but that most of what makes a good leader is actually acquired. I came across a very interesting book called Leadership Effectiveness Training. The book can be described as an on-going learning experience which helped me acquire a much better understanding and ability to work with people. Thomas Gordon, the author, is a well-known psychologist and recognized as a pioneer in teaching communication skills and conflict resolution. This book supports the view that leaders are not born but rather made and gave me a deeper understanding in how to acquire these skills. It actively teaches how to make use of active listening, I-messages, and no-lose conflict resolution due to a catalogue of examples where I could relate myself to. Each person will find examples they have already experienced or can relate to. Here, a concrete set of tools and skills are introduced that help to succeed in today’s workplace and step up as a leader.

Often, people do not know exactly what they are good at or realize particular strength during projects and tasks. Thus, the Job-fit theory seems to be rather short-term oriented and narrow minded. In my judgement, a Person-Organization fit is a better approach in finding the social capita of one’s organization since it is unlikely to change deep values and one’s cultural view upon situations. Personality, however, can and should be developed further over time.

 

 

References:

http://www.gordontraining.com/workplace-programs/leader-effectiveness-training-l-e-t/

Gordon, T. (2001). Leader effectiveness training, L.E.T: Proven skills for leading today’s business into tomorrow. New York, N.Y: Berkley Pub. Group

Bass, B. M. (2000). The future of leadership in learning organizations. Journal of Leadership Studies, 7(3), 18-40.

Barrick, M. R., Mitchell, T. R., & Stewart, G. L. (2003). Situational and motivational influences on trait–behavior relationships. In M. R. Barrick, & A. M. Ryan (Eds.), Personality and work: Reconsidering the role of personality in organizations (pp. 60–82). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Hofstede, Geert (1980). Motivation, leadership, and organization: Do American theories apply abroad? Organizational Dynamics, 9(1): 42-63.

 

 

Emotional labor

This blog entry is concerned with a reflection upon emotional labor.

As I went to a trip to Cambodia I observed quite a lot of female factory workers all in the same grey outfit rushing to the next food shelter for a small bowl of rice or soup. The factories were shielded with high walls and barbed wire. Here, I could experience the state of emotional dissonance at first hand: Clearly, their faces showed their emotional state of exhaustion and maybe fear but they would not talk to me about it. Instead, when posing them a question, all of the women were extremely polite and displayed some sort of satisfaction. I was wondering how their working conditions would be like and stumbled over a devastating documentation right after I returned from my trip. Jasmin Malik Chua (2015) released an interview to a reality show where three young girls from Norway experienced the everyday life of a garment worker in Cambodia.

http://www.ecouterre.com/reality-show-sends-fashion-bloggers-to-work-in-cambodian-sweatshop/

It appeared to me that Organizational Behavior is thus a “Western comfort” we can afford to think about. None of the women working for a factory in Cambodia will be questioned how they feel and whether they display burnout or depletion. CB here overlaps ethics and responsible behavior of organizations operationg globally. Do the theories we discuss apply to such extreme cases? (e.g. Affective Events Theory or Energy Depletion Theory). Further, the role of culture might also play an important part: their culture seems to induce norms of showing pleasant and nice behavior towards others without complaining about their misery.

 

These impressions made me think back of my work as a volunteer in Madagascar. I thought it might be worth mentioning that social workers have to deal with enormous emotions at work as an additional example to the often mentioned call center employee. We only learn that emotional labor requires good interpersonal skills, in fact, there is much more to think about. I spent four month in Madagascar working with an orphanage to build up a sustainable living for the homeless children there as well as to teach locals English. After completing the first week, I was extremely exhausted and could not bear to think of all the sorrow of the people living there. I had never before seen people living under such conditions and could not help but cry as an emotional reaction to what I had experienced. Similar to the girls’ reactions in the documentary I was overwhelmed with my own emotions and did not want to face the terrible conditions of the Malagasy people anymore. When skyping with my family and friends, however, I would act happy and content with my work. Referring to Anat Rafaeli’s video, I believe that I was confused about which emotions to display when talking to my family back home. I thought that the emotions I was supposed to feel were satisfaction to help people in an underdeveloped country. Instead, I felt shock and helplessness after being confronted with so much pain and poverty. At night, I would be awake for hours to reflect upon peoples life’s and felt that I simply had a too small impact on all the problems that still would remain unsolved. I can imagine that social workers will quickly feel depleted and exhausted as they might be confronted with similar feelings. In such jobs it is impossible not to introduce emotions as Anat Rafaeli suggests in her speech. Further, good interpersonal skills do not seem to help social workers deal with the local people and their work. Therefore, the question remains how workers in these jobs handle their emotions over a longer period of time.

 

Another interesting link:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/dec/19/apple-under-fire-again-for-working-conditions-at-chinese-factories

 

Link to the website of the orphanage I worked for:

http://orphansofmadagascar.org