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

1 comment

  1. You did a great job comparing a family structure to that of a business. I really like how you compared the parents to business partners and how everyone in the the family has a role to play, even the children (workers). Just like workers in a business receive compensation for completing their task and responsibilities it is important to reward the children with a “paycheck or allowance or other things that the child finds value in. I would liken these “other things” to benefits or perks that employees receive at a job. Effective communication is key to running any business and you mentioned how it is vital to run a household as well; “Meetings” at the dinner table can be used to discuss progress in certain things and review how well the childrens responsibilities have been met. This medium to give the children feedback is very important. In my Psychology of Motivation and Attitudes class that I took in a previous semester, feedback was a vital component of most motivational theories in order to increase workers motivation and productivity. I like how you implemented a time to review and give feedback in your explanation of your family “business”.

    In the household the parents are the “bosses” and they have the power. Power is “the ability to influence other people” (PSU, Canvas, Psych 484 Course Modules, L07). There are Five Bases of Power, according to our lesson material: Reward, Cohersive, Expert, Referent, and Legitimate (PSU, Canvas). While parents automatically have legitimate power and can use cohersion (or punishment ) to influence their children, abuses of these power are detrimental to motivating the children (workers) and can hinder productivity. In your example the parents use the bases of reward to influence their children, which is highly motivational. You also mentioned that as the children grow up “they are able to take on more responsibility, the formation of a household team really comes together.” (Your Post). This shows a sign of expert power that parents have garnered from life much longer than their children and are able to influence them and teach them how a household should function. Again you did a great job with your post and it was a pleasure to read.

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