Feb 18

Prison Approaches to Rehabilitation

Since my major is rehabilitation and human services, I thought that the particular topic of prisons approaches to rehabilitation was interesting. In the criminal justice system today, there are many different issues that should be addressed. One that I find to be major is the rehabilitation in prison. Therapeutic communities are very necessary in the society today to assure that everyone gets the help they need no matter the circumstance. People who are convicted often become mad at the system, and do not want to get the help they need through rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation is the action of restoring someone to health or normal life through training and therapy after or during imprisonment, addiction or illness. Simply put, rehabilitation is needed to help people get back on their feet, so that they can live their lives to their full potentials. Therapeutic communities are holistic residential environments that are designed to promote the personal growth and development of the residents (Schneider, 2012, pg 269.) With this being said these communities in prisons provide opportunities for offenders to experience a highly structured setting that models a cooperative prosocial environment. (Schneider, 2012, pg 269.)

Prison therapeutic communities have been implemented into many states, this is good because it gives the offenders the opportunity to get the help they need in the rehabilitation process. “Convicts argue against the rehabilitation effect of incarceration because it is inconceivable that they could do otherwise. Inmates submit to imprisonment unwillingly and they find it unpleasant.” (Tittle, 1974). With this being said, the inmates or people who are convicted to not want to get the rehabilitation that is needed for them to have a better life because they are angry that they were put in jail. Along with not wanting to do the rehabilitation, “inmates manipulate prison staffs by complaining of the contradiction between custodial and rehabilitative functions and by criticizing the failure of prisons to live up to their ideals.” (Tittle, 1974). This simply means that the inmates do not think that the rehabilitation services they are getting meet their standards, and they don’t want to continue with them because of that.

I believe that we as a society need to come up with a solution to this problem. People need rehabilitation for a reason. Even if inmates are fighting to get the help they need, I believe that we need to find a way to get them to participate in the rehabilitation. Doing this will help them in the long run, as when they do get out of prison, it will help them get back to the life they once had.

Tittle, C. R. (1974). Prisons and rehabilitation: The inevitability of disfavor. Social Problems, 385-395.

Schneider, F.W, Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012).  Applied Psychology (2nd ed.).  Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Feb 18

Organizations: Job Satisfaction and Its Impact

The overall performance and productivity of organizations can be affected by different factors, though the most critical one is employees, as they make up the only driving force for fostering positive changes and achieving organizations’ strategic objectives regardless of the industry of operation and the number of people involved. For this reason, it is crucial to understand what affects employees and their performance, and one concept that can be used for assessing it is job satisfaction. What is special about job satisfaction is the fact that it is a multi-dimensional phenomenon influenced by numerous different factors, but it is one of the main determinants of employee productivity.

In general terms, the concept of job satisfaction can be defined as a unique set of attitudes towards and perceptions of one’s workplace including different aspects of the working conditions as well as organizational policies. These aspects include but are not limited to promotion-related opportunities, leadership and management, colleagues, and job duties characteristic of a particular position (Schneider, Gruman, & Couts, 2012). As it has been mentioned, job satisfaction is a multi-dimensional concept, and it is especially true in case of viewing it from the perspective of the facet approach to defining this term. In this way, different facets of job satisfaction are assessed to obtain a clear understanding of employees’ attitude towards their work environment, which is usually measured from dissatisfied to satisfied. As for the facets, the commonly estimated ones are the following: pay, benefits, nature of work, supervision, relations with coworkers, managers, and leaders, and numerous others that are critical for a separately considered organization. Regardless of the intricateness of this approach, organizations are recommended to use it because they might find out what the main concerns experienced by their employees are and address them properly in case the leaders are interested in the continuity of cooperation and employee loyalty and dedication.

Due to the multi-dimensional nature of the phenomenon, job satisfaction is as well affected and predetermined by different factors. In order to obtain a better understanding of these factors, they can be divided into several main groups. The first one is a general group consisting of job characteristics. It incorporates five determinants: task identity, skill variety, autonomy, job feedback, and task significance (Schneider et al., 2012). It is usually believed to be the most vital facet of job satisfaction because the nature of the job is more critical than pay-related benefits and communication and relations among colleagues because it determines the opportunities for personal growth and development that commonly keep employees motivated. The second group of factors is labeled as organizational also known as social. These incorporate promotion opportunities, interpersonal relations (including the effectiveness of communication patterns), and social influence process. Finally, personal dispositions make up another group of factors influencing job satisfaction. They include personal traits, such as self-esteem, locus of control, emotional stability, and self-efficacy (Schneider et al., 2012). The impact of these factors on job satisfaction is the least prominent compared to other identified and described.

The criticality of the concept of job satisfaction is associated with its impact on an organization. Specifically, job satisfaction results in positive consequences, while job dissatisfaction is directly connected to negative developments. All of them can be divided into two overarching concepts – employee behaviors and performance. The first one is connected to the likelihood of either avoiding work or increased dedication. In addition, it is related to turnover intentions, with job satisfaction as resulting in lower turnover rates and job dissatisfaction causing more frequent turnover intentions. As for employee performance, higher levels of job satisfaction are generally connected to improved performance.

All in all, the connection between job satisfaction and job performance does exist, though it has not been proven statistically as the universally existing cause-and-effect relation. Nevertheless, the existence of this connection seems logical based on both theoretical information and personal experiences. Before my accident I worked multiple different jobs at different times and I was lucky enough to be able to communicate with people employed by different companies and occupying different positions – from ordinary employees to team leads and senior managers. As I discussed this exact topic in general conversation with some of them, they did support the belief that the overall job satisfaction is connected with the desire to work harder and be a source of benefits for the organization that makes their employees happy. More than that, one of the senior managers even told that he kept changing places until he was totally satisfied with all facets of job satisfaction that were of importance to him – benefits and rewards system, the nature of the job (specifically, the challenging character of all tasks), interpersonal relations and the overall atmosphere in the workplace.

Another point that I found interesting is that job satisfaction is not the only vital factor affecting employees. What was even more significant is the interest of the leadership and senior management to improve the level of employees’ job satisfaction. Specifically, if organizations collected feedback on job satisfaction (surveys developed based on facet approach) and made effort to address the concerns, the overall improvement in employee performance was the consequence of fostering any changes because employees felt that they were valued. Summing up, job satisfaction is one of the vital determinants of high employee performance and their exceptional productivity. Even though this connection is commonly questioned, the conclusion made based on the theory and practice is uniform – this link does exist, and it does benefit organizations if they recognize the how critical job satisfaction really is.



Schneider, F., Gruman, J., & Couts, L. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Feb 18

Juvenile Justice System

There is this perception in our society that those under 18 are under some type of legal protection or exemption. I used to think that if a teenager was tried as an adult then they would be susceptible to an unfair trial and that being sentenced as a juvenile was far better. I certainly do not agree with many ways that our U.S. justice system operates. I strongly believe that young people’s age should be a factor in understanding their motivation and capabilities. Therefore, charging a 16-year-old as an adult seems to be incredibly unjust. However still, juveniles are not awarded many of the same rights as adults and therefore may be getting a fairer trial but certainly not a fairer sentence. It is incredibly unreasonable to hold children to adult expectations; therefore, the juvenile justice system needs to be structured in a way that considers their age, allows them a fair trial and sentence. While also providing consistent and rehabilitative discipline that allows them to succeed as an adult.

Juvenile hearings are quite different than adult hearings, the Juvenile Law Center notes that “juvenile court hearings are often closed to members of the public and records are often confidential…however, despite what many people believe, juvenile records in most jurisdictions are not automatically sealed or expunged” (Juvenile Law Center, 2018). A juvenile record may follow an individual around throughout their life, making it difficult to be successful as an adult. Juveniles are not given the same rights as adults, thus having less protection when being accused or convicted and highly susceptible to manipulation. Furthermore, children are sentenced and tried by a judge, not a jury, which makes them highly vulnerable to discrimination. While also being subject to the judge’s personal opinions of the significance of the crime.

Remember the “kids for cash” scandal in Pennsylvania a few years back? This is a prime example of how the juvenile justice system is vulnerable to manipulation. Judges were found guilty of receiving a monetary commission for sentencing minors to juvenile detention centers (NPR, 2014). Judge Ciavarella took advantage of a system that allowed him to benefit from selling kid’s lives to juvenile detention centers for a profit (NPR, 2014). The juvenile system should not have space for Judge’s to have so much influence in one person’s life. Some of the children in the juvenile justice system lose years from their life based from one person’s sentence. This is different than the Adult justice system where adults are tried in front of a jury.

The article, Mandatory Minimums, Maximum Consequences discusses how federal law is reviving the “tough on crime approach” with juveniles (Steiner, 2017). This requires juveniles to be automatically tried as adults for certain crimes, therefore giving them an adult sentence. Therefore many have spent most, if not all their lives in jail for crimes they committed as teenagers. Steiner notes that a situation where Washington teens faced up to 45 years for stealing candy and cell phones while having a firearm on them (Steiner, 2017). Crimes committed by juveniles certainly need to be addressed and some situations may have more severe consequences on society. However, children should not be held to the same expectations as adults, because they are not mentally mature enough to understand the full consequences of their actions.

There are certainly issues with the juvenile justice system that we could discuss endlessly. The adult justice system in America is certainly no model to strive for. Though, suggesting that juveniles be treated to the same extent and with the same expectations as adults is unreasonable. Duplicating the adult justice system with juveniles, while also giving them less rights and protections is also highly problematic. I am simply suggesting that the juvenile justice system enact changes that truly reflect the child’s needs and ensure fair and ethical discipline. Instead of trying to transfer kids to the adult system or disregard their rights to fair trials and appropriate sentencing.


Juvenile Law Center (2018). Youth in the Justice System: An Overview. Retrieved from: http://jlc.org/news-room/media-resources/youth-justice-system-overview

NPR Staff (2014). ‘Kids For Cash’ Captures A Juvenile Justice Scandal From Two Sides. NPR. Retrieved from: https://www.npr.org/2014/03/08/287286626/kids-for-cash-captures-a-juvenile-justice-scandal-from-two-sides

Steiner, Emily (2017). Mandatory Minimums, Maximum Consequences. Juvenile Law Center. Retrieved from: http://jlc.org/blog/mandatory-minimums-maximum-consequences

Feb 18

The Transformative Power of Millennials in the Workplace

Often characterized as entitled, lazy, and less driven then their parents and their grandparents, millennials (like most incoming generations) have garnered a bad reputation in terms of their workplace conduct. A flood of negative media surrounding how millennials interact with each other, their general attitudes and their affliction with technology exists. However, millennials are slowly shifting the dynamics of the workplace, and it’s arguably for the better.

Millennials are considered one of the most compassionate and ethical generations and by the year 2025, millennials will comprise approximately 75% of the workforce (Pepperdine, 2017). The manner in how Americans conduct their work is about to completely shift with the coming influx of millennial workers. Unlike their baby boomer counterparts, millennials value more flexibility and employability as opposed to job security (Pepperdine, 2017).  Millennials are forecast to change the way we work, allowing for increased worker flexibility in all areas of the workforce.

Not only will millennials change the way we work, they are also going to change the way we perceive and conceptualize the workplace. As millennials infiltrate and dominate the work force, less emphasis will be placed on “brick and mortar” work centers, and more workers will be utilizing off-site work spaces including remote work. NBC News (2017) reports that “optimal engagement boost occurs when employees spend 60 to 80 percent of their time, or 3 to 4 days a week, working remotely”. Not only does this save businesses money on office space, it can also increase productivity.

In addition to transforming where we do work, millennials are also shifting the power structures within organizations. Generationally speaking, millennials are more driven by mentors and coaches than by bosses. This differing expectation in what a boss should be could eventually change how leaders act, emphasizing collaboration instead of an organizational dictatorship.

Millennials, the most technologically literate and educated generation thus far, are bound to dynamically shift the work center as we know it; becoming better innovators and equalizing the playing field for all workers.



The Importance of Millennials in the Workplace. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from https://mbaonline.pepperdine.edu/resources/infographics/the-importance-of-millennials-in-the-workplace/

Steinhilber, B. (2017, May 18). 7 ways millennials are changing the workplace for the better. Retrieved February 26, 2018, from https://www.nbcnews.com/better/careers/7-ways-millennials-are-changing-workplace-better-n761021

Feb 18

The Importance of Proper Encoding and Decoding to avoid the Fundamental Attribution Error in the Workplace

A great example of a personal account dealing with this blog topic is when I enrolled in my first semester at Penn State World Campus. This was the fall semester of 2016 and this event actually happened to me right before I started school. I had applied to Penn State World Campus at the end of June. My manager went on maternity leave a week or so before I applied to school. In her mind there was no reason to assume that I would not be a full-time worker by the time she came back in mid-August. This, unfortunately for her was not the case.

I got my acceptance letter very quickly. It was the second week of July, I believe. I immediately let my district manager know that I would only be working part-time once school started. I guess my manager, (actual manager, not district), was never informed of my decision to enroll in school before she came back.

It was now mid-August and school was starting in a week. My manager, Brandi, came back from maternity leave and little did I know but she was upset that I was going to part-time status. She pulled me to the side on her second day back to speak with me. She asked me what was going on. I explained to her that I was going back to school. I explained that this was a big deal for my future and I wanted her to be happy for me. She said that she was happy for me but didn’t understand why I could only work part time since my schooling was online.

Without going into detail I simply told her that school is my priority now and if I work full time then it will have a negative result on my school work. She simply said ok but it was clear that she didn’t understand me or “believe” me. She just didn’t seem satisfied, I could tell from her body language. From our text, we learn that body language is a form of “non-verbal communication” which “refers to all information conveyed by a sender, apart from the words themselves, that plays a role in transmission of meaning.” (Scheider, Gruman, and Coutts. Applied Social Psychlogy: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems, 2012). This affected me afterward because I could tell there was tension at the end of our conversation. It felt like she wasn’t getting my point and I was not getting her point. We just weren’t communicating effectively.

Because of the tension I thought she might want to fire me if I didn’t agree to work full-time. She didn’t understand why I needed to go to part-time and I couldn’t understand why she didn’t see that I needed the extra time to do well in school, to secure my future.

When someone communicates with another person one of them is the sender of information and the other is the receiver of information; the roles may switch multiple times but each party can only be one of the two at a time. The sender is responsible for “encoding” the message; which means that the message is “constructed from the sender’s thoughts, and transformed in to a communicable form.” (Schneider et al., 2012). Once the message is delivered the receiver decodes the message to gain meaning in the sender’s message. If there are breakdowns during either process then miscommunication results. Come to find out, we both weren’t being good encoders or decoders. The whole time I knew I would be taking sixteen credits but she thought that I was just taking one class.

Sixteen credits is a large workload whether you’re online or going to class. She assumed that I was taking one class, maybe two. If we had been better talkers and listeners, one of us would have realized that we are not talking about just one class but a full semester of classes. Not only did I fail to encode my message to her with the information of how many credits I was taking; she did not decode well enough to assume something that should have been obvious (I was talking about more than one class). She also did not properly encode the message with the information that she thought I was only taking one class and my decoding skills failed to recognize that there HAS TO BE a valid reason she did not understand why I needed to go part-time.

I thought she was being irrational and she thought the same about me! Why did we automatically believe the worst about each other? Instead of thinking of external factors to explain each-other’s behaviors (me requesting part-time status and her getting upset about it), we applied the behaviors to the individual personalities’ of the other party (I assumed she was being a selfish boss and she assumed I was being a lazy worker). This is known as the fundamental attribution error; the tendency “to underestimate the influence of external or situational factors and to overestimate the influence of internal or personal factors when we judge the behaviors of other people.” (Schneider, 2012)

I never communicated the details of my situation; she filled in the gaps for herself. Then she never communicated what she thought my situation was. If we had spoken more clearly in our meeting then there never would have been the tension between us. Understanding of my natural “biases in attribution” will help me to avoid situations like this in the future.



Schneider et al., Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. Sage Publications, Inc. 2012

Kruger, Justin et al.. Egocentrism over e-mail: Can we communicate as well as we think? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 89(6). Dec. 2005. pp. 925-936.


Feb 18

A Different Kind of Management

Running a business is hard work.  It involves effective communication, time management, role participation, account management, and group collaboration in order to make it all work.   Not only do these elements describe assets of running a business, they also outline the necessities of managing a successful household.  Contrary to the popular belief that moms can do it all, a successful home takes every member pulling their weight and doing what they can to help balance the everyday needs of the people living within the home, much like a team contributes its individual strengths from each player to succeed in its goals.

One key part of running a household is effective communication.  I think it is safe to say that many of us have heard about or experienced ourselves the text message from someone’s spouse that is misinterpreted.  After all, it is tough to read the voice of a text message if it is not encoded properly. The encoding process of sending a text can mean the difference between an evening of relaxation with the one you love and a rather hefty purchase from the local florist. Encoding is described as the construction of a sender’s thoughts and the transmission of said thoughts to a communicable form (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012).  When text messages are sent, many times they are simple small pieces of the puzzle.  A husband’s simple “yea” in response to a long message from a wife can be perceived as uncaring or nonchalant about the subject at hand, especially if it’s a meaningful subject to her.  Meanwhile, what the original sender does not know is that the responder is sitting in traffic that stretches for 10 miles and is currently at a standstill, late for a meeting with his boss.  This is where the fundamental attribution error rears itself and the wife might credit the “uncaring response” to an internal trait of her husband rather than his situation. The fundamental attribution error is described as “a phenomenon that stems from the fact that it is usually far easier to explain others’ action in terms of their personal dispositions than to be award or and recognize the complex pattern of situational factors that may have affected their actions (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). Ensuring communication is flowing and open is key to making sure there is not room for misinterpretation, and if there is, correcting it as soon as possible.

Another key factor in making a household team work is understanding the hierarchy of the household.  Much like a business, there is a supervisor or two (they could be compared to business partners in the business model).  Typically the supervisor is “mom and dad”.  Mom and dad oversee that directions are followed, tasks are completed, and “company morale” remains high.  After all, people don’t like to work for free so in order to keep that motivation up for completing tasks, there helps to be a little bit of reward for it, such as a “paycheck” or an allowance for completing chores, special dinners for great report cards, and of course every accomplishment such as “student of the week” is celebrated in some way.

Each member in a household typically has their own role.  These roles might be reviewed weekly while gathered around a kitchen table.  The meeting can serve a relationship role as new assignments and weekly schedules are reviewed (Nelson, A. 2018).  Each kiddo might have a new activity going on and its important, especially in larger families, to make sure that each family member, or team member, knows and understands the weeks expectations.  Some kiddos might have large projects to complete for school so again, it’s important to be able to manage time throughout the week and know what the schedule looks like.  This meeting that serves that relationship role can be run by any team member that holds some power over the schedule (i.e. mom or dad).

Sometimes, however within a team or group there is role conflict in which contradictory messages from different people occur (Nelson, A. 2018).  In a business this may look like a team member getting different directions about a project from two different supervisors or higher team members.  With regard to a household team, this could look like mom telling a kiddo one thing, and dad telling them another with regard to the same task or time slot. For instance, if mom tells a kiddo they need to finish their chores, but dad comes in and tells the same kiddo to go outside and play, the child is then faced with making a decision based on two different directions from people of the same amount of power.  Many times this conflict can be quickly resolved with open communication, perhaps the child responds with “mom asked me to finish my chores before I do anything else”.  Dad might respond “oh okay, finish up and then go outside and play.”  This is a very simple example of course, but the main idea here is that every team is susceptible to role conflict in some way.

As children get older and are able to take on more responsibility, the formation of a household team really comes together.  Each member is able to understand, embrace, and value their role within the household team.   Not only does it make the everyday tasks run smoother, it helps the “business” to grow and learn about responsibility, communication, and then of course, the absolute fun side of being part of a family.  Not every day is about work or chores though.  Plenty of time should be taken to let loose and have some fun of course.

Schneider, Frank. Gruman, Jaime. Coutts, Larry. Applied Social Psychology. Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. 2012.

Nelson, A. (2018). Lesson 7 Commentary. Organizational Life and Teams. Retrieved 25 February 2018 from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1924488/modules/items/23682604

Feb 18

Levels Upon Levels

This week we took a closer look at power and the different types of power. For my blog this week I want to keep it in the theme of power. More specifically I wanted to look at power in the workplace and the hierarchy that it creates.

Most workplaces have a pyramid hierarchy where there are a few top leaders, then different amounts of mid-level leaders, then a lot of base employees (“How Important is Workplace Hierarchy”). This type of hierarchy has been proven to have many positive effects on businesses. This is because work is performed most efficiently when there are many people who are working towards one common goal. A hierarchy in a work place also employs unity, those at the same level work together at the instruction of the people above them who work together at the instruction at the people above them and so on. This also creates different authority at different levels. The authority, or power, that a person has in their workplace depends on what level of the hierarchy they are at (“How Important is Workplace Hierarchy”).  If a person is at the lowest level of the hierarchy, then their desire for power may influence them to do more efficient work so that they can move further up the hierarchy. Those at the top of the hierarchy are influenced not to abuse their authority because then they might lose their power, so in a way a workplace hierarchy has checks and balances.

An example that shows this type of workplace hierarchy in action is my boyfriend and his job. He has not even been at his job for a year yet and is in one of the base positions you can start out in, or in other words is at the bottom level of the hierarchy. His desire is to move upwards in the hierarchy so that he can make more money, have better health insurance benefits, make more of a difference within the company, and improve his work experience. This desire to move upwards means that he is always working above and beyond so that he will be noticed by his superiors for when a job opening comes up. Now the way his hierarchy works is that he has a supervisor who is directly in charge of him as well as about twenty more employees who are at the same level as my boyfriend. However, although this man is directly in charge of my boyfriend, he is not the one who would be making the recommendation when it comes time for the company to move my boyfriend to a more superior job. This supervisor’s boss who is directly above him and is in charge of about five other supervisors just like him, will be the one who makes the call about moving my boyfriend upward. This shows that even though the supervisor has some power over my boyfriend, the supervisor’s boss has power over him and therefore has even more power over my boyfriend and his future at the company. This example shows how power comes to play in a common workplace hierarchy.




“How Important Is Workplace Hierarchy.” Bright HR, 2018, www.brighthr.com/brightbase/topic/culture-and-performance/corporate-hierarchy/how-important-is-workplace-hierarchy.


Feb 18

Job Satisfaction and What Works Against It

One of the primary focuses of anyone that has ever been a manager of people, or in Human Resources is job satisfaction. Many organizations will survey their employees annually on job satisfaction. If done properly, they will also come up with an action plan post-survey to address the things causing dissatisfaction for employees. It has long been commonly believed that a happy employee is a productive employee. I remember some of my first jobs as a teenager (Dairy Queen and Fleet Farm) where if someone wasn’t happy with the job they were doing, the compensation they were receiving, or with a manager that they reported to they would leave and find another job. These jobs also employed staff that had been there ‘forever’ even though they could probably get a better paying job elsewhere. Did they stay because they were loyal, comfortable, or were they really satisfied with their job?

There are many dynamics to job satisfaction and different aspects to measure: pay, benefits, relationship with supervisor or manager, ability to grow within the company, work environment and conditions, and connection with coworkers. The impact that a job has on the organization is one of the more important aspects of job satisfaction. If the role is meaningful and impactful then and it is challenging and allows the employee to grow personally, they are more likely to be satisfied with their job. Social factors are also a contributing factor to satisfaction. Just like the power of attraction, if an employee is continuously exposed to negative opinions they are more likely to feel negatively, and if they are surrounded by positive comments they are more likely to be satisfied (Schneider, Gruman, Coutts, 2012).  Misery loves company, and positivity attracts positivity. As stated above however, a commonly believed thought was that happy employees are productive employees. Though easy to believe, this is actually not accurate. Studies were unable to conclusively show causation between satisfaction and productivity (Judge, Thoresen, Bono, Patton, 2001).

In Human Resources, we often hear and read that an employee doesn’t leave an organization, they leave their supervisor. Though I don’t believe this is always the case, it is a highly impactful relationship that is a deciding factor on whether someone chooses to stay at an organization or not. I’ve received several resignation notices in my time as an HR Manager – most say something along the lines of…I appreciate the opportunity I had to work for the organization but have accepted a job elsewhere. When we complete an exit survey the reason stated in the notice is rarely the real reason they are choosing to leave.

In the cases where the employee is choosing to leave the organization because of the manager or supervisor there are a few different possibilities. One, the manager or supervisor could just be a jerk. I always hope this is not the case. We put a lot of faith in our managers and expect them to be respectful, fair, appropriate and effective. As discussed in the lesson however, power has a tendency to alter a person into thinking that they are superior to others, and disparage their employees. Therefore, this is always a possibility.  Another possibility is conceptual filters and communication barriers. Conceptual filters are “attitudes, cognitions, and perceptions that may distort information exchange (Schneider, et al., 2012). In order to not be overwhelmed by all incoming information, our mind has learned to decide what is important to us and disregard the rest. This can cause problems in the interactions and communication between managers and supervisors and their employees. Assessment of performance is also not accurate due to the human nature of superiours putting too much weight on internal factors of their employees affecting work versus external factors. If an employee was not able to complete all of their tasks prior to the end of their shift – a common response is that the employee is not working fast or efficiently enough to be able to complete the task, even though it may have been a particularly busy shift and there just wasn’t enough time to do everything. Where the manager believes the employee is unable to do the job effectively, the employee also tends to place more weight on external factors when receiving criticism. Not only can this cause a wedge, but there is also the possibility that the employee does not understand the full expectations of the manager.

Trying to balance the expectations of the manager and the perceptions of employees is a full-time job. The best approach in both situations is to look at it with a positive attitude. Too often people look at a situation thinking that something was done on purpose or maliciously, when a majority of people are reasonable and just trying to do their best. Everyone makes mistakes. When managers and employees are able to have a common performance language and clear expectations and communication – There will not be perceptual biases in the workplace. This would contribute to a more satisfactory environment for all involved.


Judge, T.A., Thoresen, C.J., Bono, J.E., & Patton, G.K. (2001). The job satisfaction-job performance relationship: A qualitative and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 127(3), 376-407.

Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2018). PSYCH 424 Lesson 7: Organizational Life and Teams. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1924488/modules/items/23682601

Schneider, F., Gruman, J., Coutts, L. (2012). Applied Social Psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Feb 18

Thriving at Work

The workplace dynamic has changed dramatically over the years and can vary depending on the field. One thing that remains constant across all fields and time is the level of productivity of employees within an organization. As with parenting, many individuals have various ideas about what effective management is and how to boost productivity. One major consensus of professionals in business and organisational psychology is that a happy worker is, in most cases, a productive one. This emphasis of happiness in the workplace is still a work in progress but there is much evidence to support its methods.

In a 2011 issue of Leader to Leader, an article discusses Shawn Achor the CEO and founder of Good Think, Inc. and his efforts in researching what makes a happy work environment. Many people enter the workforce believing that in order to be happy, they must first be successful. However, Achor believes that it is actually the inverse (“Leader to Leader”, 2011). This suggests that many people might be chasing their tails in their current jobs by seeking the wrong results. This could explain why many who seek success over happiness in an effort to gain happiness cannot find it. According to Achor, “Thgreatest competitive advantage in the modern economis a positive and engaged workforce.” He suggests that creating a sense of “rational optimism”, meaning seeing the good and the bad and building a healthy sense of optimism off of the whole picture will help a team overcome big challenges. 

The author also stresses the importance of social support in the workplace. Achor makes a very poignant point in that “In an era of domorewithlesswe need to stop lamenting how little social support we feel from managers, coworkers and friends, and start focusing our brain’s resources upon how we can increase the amount of social support we provide to the people in our lives. The greatest predictor of success and happiness at work is social support. Anthe greatest way to increase social support is to provide it to others.” It is almost as common sense as the golden rule and yet a commonly overlooked simple technique to create a more supportive work environment.

These beliefs play into the concept of social/organisational factors that affect job satisfaction. Per the textbook, “employees develop their levels of job satisfaction based on the information available to them, including the immediate social environment,” (Schneider, et. al., 2012). Fostering an optimistic and socially supportive work environment can aid in reducing turnover and increasing overall employee retention rates.

The importance of happiness in the workplace. (2011). Leader to Leader, 2012(63), 62-63. doi:10.1002/ltl.20012

Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (2017). Applied social psychology: understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles: SAGE.


Feb 18

Is Having More Women in Leadership Positions the Answer to a Better Workplace Culture?

In 2017, I read about the toxic workplace culture of Uber. Stories of sexual harassment and aggressive leadership style of the company were all over the major media outlets. Personally, I really enjoy using Uber ever since I discovered it. Because every driver is rated by his or her customers, the service quality is much better compared to regular yellow and green cab services in the city. The pricing is much cheaper too. With all the benefits of Uber, after reading about this scandal, I started trying out other apps, such as Juno or Lift. After using them, I went back to using Uber because the app is just so much less glitchy than other apps. But every time I use it, I feel guilty for supporting a company which is essentially built by a jerk and run by a group of jerks.

After reading this article, I could not help but wonder, if the bro-ish toxic culture of Uber and a lot of other corporations with bad workplace culture is caused by too much testosterone in the management? So I did some research and unsurprisingly, most corporations nowadays are run by men. According to Center for American Progress, while women earn 60 percent of college degrees and master’s degrees, only 6% of the CEOs are women. When there is a lack of female voices in the leadership, no surprise that companies like Uber are being run like a frat house.

According to market research firm Gallup, women are better managers because they are better at engaging employees and encouraging employees to explore their potentials. Also, a Harvard Business Review survey shows that women demonstrate more effective leadership. So is hiring more women to the leadership position the answer to better workplace culture and leadership? I believe the answer is yes. I believe balanced power dynamics can’t be achieved without gender balance in the workplace.

I really enjoyed listening to the podcast of Professor Sutton talking about the No Asshole Rule in the workplace. In a New York Magazine article published in 2017, Professor Sutton stated that 2017 is a year of assholes, with news about certified assholes such as Uber, Martin Shkreli, Fox News, Steve Bannon rising to the public’s attention. He also said that unfortunately nasty behaviors spread more quickly than nice behaviors in the workplace. With all the wife beaters and pussy grabbers in the current administration, we should be cautious about the trickle down effect of asshole culture into the workplaces all over the United States.


  1. Isaac, M. (2017, February 22). Inside Uber’s Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/technology/uber-workplace-culture.html
  2. Corley, J. W. (n.d.). The Women’s Leadership Gap. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2017/05/21/432758/womens-leadership-gap/
  3. Smith, J. (2015, April 03). Study finds women are better bosses than men – here’s why. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/why-women-are-better-managers-than-men-2015-4
  4. Folkman, J. Z. (2014, July 23). Are Women Better Leaders than Men? Retrieved February 25, 2018, from https://hbr.org/2012/03/a-study-in-leadership-women-do
  5. Images, D. A. (2017, September 20). This Stanford Professor Has a Theory on Why 2017 Is Filled With Jerks. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/09/robert-sutton-asshole-survival-guide.html


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