The Experience of Work
Influences on Work Experience
Influenced by a company’s set of
rules and expectations for
employees attitudes and behavior
Employees allow parts of our lives
to be controlled by company
Organizations work to get
employees to coordinate and work
toward its goals
Challenge for employees is to
achieve individuation and
identification simultaneously
though communication
Each person experience of work
and sense making is impacted by
organizational assimilation,
indicators of cooperation and
indicators of resistance
Assimilation – is a process where
people learn the rules, norms and
expectations of a culture over time and
become members of that culture
Assimilation is essential in any culture
and begins at an early age
Organizational assimilation – learning
process has three stages
Anticipatory socialization – learning
about nature of work through
communication with others before job
begins: two ways
Vocational anticipatory socialization –
begins in childhood – learning what is
Organizational anticipatory
socialization – learning that occurs
before first day of work via
organizational literature, interactions
with interviewers and employees
Assimilation Stages Two and Three
Organizational Assimilation – process where
new employees learn about, make sense of
and transition into members of new
organizational situation
Initial part of process involves surprise and
sense making
Newcomers learn the requirements of new
roles and solicit information about
organizational culture
Time needed for newcomers to fully transition
into members varies and not everyo9ne fully
completes assimilation process
During transitional period employees learn to
balance their own satisfaction with their role in
Organizational turning points are critical
moments in workplace that help employees
understand their role
Moments can change relationship between
employee and organization
Turning points alter employees’ perceptions of
identification with company and also structure
their perception of career choices, job
transfers and their purpose in life
Indicators of Cooperation
Job satisfaction – is most common
indicator of the quality of an
employees’ work experiences
– A satisfied employee is said to be
one whose needs are being met
– Employees have three levels of
needs that correlate with degrees
of job satisfaction
• Level 1 needs include safe
working conditions, fair play,
rewards and proper equipment
• Level 2 needs include supportive
interpersonal relationships with
co-workers and supervisors
• Level 3 needs include
opportunities of personal growth
– Challenging work only increases
satisfaction when employees
desire it
– There is little proven correlation
between job satisfaction and
Indicators of Cooperation
Job involvement – degree to which
employees personally involve
themselves in their work
There are extreme levels of job
involvement from person who lives to
work to whose who work to live
Can lead to workaholism
Organizational identification is the
overlap between an employee’s values
and those of the organization
Identification involves the
internalization of company values and
assumptions by employees and can be
essential in crating sense of community
Organization identification exerts
control over decisions and can destroy
employee’s definitions of what is real or
taken for granted
Organizational restructuring can shift
identification from the organization to
teams or work groups.
Indicators of Cooperation
Organizational commitment – is the
amount of dedication and support an
employee has for organization goals
and values
Commitment can be displayed in
attitudes and behaviors
Employees can be highly committed
even with low levels of identification or
job involvement
Commitment usually varies by industry
Employee empowerment – giving
employees control over significant
aspects of their work
High involvement management
assumes people do best work when
they feel ownership of processes and
decision making
Empowerment can be achieved via
compensation including stock
High involvement management is not
easily implemented as it requires
cooperation of both managers and
Indicators of Cooperation
Employee productivity – most
important indicator from organization
Defined as relationship between the
outputs generated by system and the
imports required to create outputs
Productivity linked to efficiency and
Most organizations do poor job
measuring individual productivity except
in routine jobs
Two alternative scenarios relating
communication to productivity
Monologic approach – connects
communication by promoting a work
environment in which simple tasks and
performance measure permit
continuous measurable improvement
» View similar to scientific
management in that
communication comes from
Dialogic approach- emphasizes mutual,
two-way communicating between
managers and employees
Indicators of Resistance
• Stress – marked by
feelings of anxiety,
tension or pressure
– Increased levels of stress
linked to absenteeism,
tardiness, sabotage, poor
quality, turnover and
dysfunctional conflict
– Job stress is a
psychologically disturbed
response to work
– Four areas that are
sources of stress:
organizational, job and
Environmental Stress
Low control over environment
Often generated by national
culture, intercultural difficulties and
physical characteristics of
National culture influences
attitudes about nature of work,
leisure and employment
Intercultural – six sources of
stress of business travelers
Culture shock
Challenge of diversity
Bias, discrimination and prejudice
Language barriers
Customs and taboos
Physical stress
Physical – lighting, noise,
crowding, etc
Stress as Damaging to Employees
• Organizational culture problem
– A mild-mannered person may
work in environment that
creates stress
– Even successful individuals
can find pressure situations
• Organizational norms about
aspects of culture – employees
effected by features such as
– Social support
– Participation in decision
– Diversity
– Expressions of emotion
Job Stressors
• Workload – number of
projects one is
responsible for
completing within a
period of time
• Role uncertainty –
uncertain and
inconsistent job
descriptions – even from
too much information
• Job design –
characteristics of work
Stress Reducers
• Factors creating work
– Job variety
– Task significance
– Autonomy or degree of
freedom in performing own
– Feedback about work from
• Autonomy most important
– use RAA delegation –
responsibility, authority
and accountability
Outside of Work Stressors
• Personality traits
(workaholic, type A
behavior, etc)
• Personal life
• Communication style
New Trends in Work Experience
• Rise in entrepreneurship
• Third sector – soft-money
supported projects
• New career path via
continuing education,
shifting identifications
• New sources of selfemployment
• Outsourcers – specialists
who work for themselves