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The case study focuses on an employee, Paul Keller, who is being affected by a number of factors. His job performance is hindered by constraints such as his work environment, his home environment, stressors, mood, and the management style of his superior. The case study demonstrates how his job performance is affected and what the consequences could be as a result of his poor job performance and lack of concentration. II. Problems
Paul is not able to perform his job well due to, in his opinion, being tired. The conversations with his wife that replays in his thoughts show how he is conflicted at home. He apparently does not have a strong, supportive home environment. The case study also shows that he does not receive much support from his superior at work either. He possesses many stressors that are affecting his personal and work life. Stressors are any demands, either physical or psychological in nature, that are created by external events encountered during the course of living (Greenberg, 2010).
Stressors can lead to job strains. According to Greenberg in his text Managing Behavior in Organizations, strain is an alteration from normal states of human functioning that results from exposure to stress that can be psychological (e.g., depression), physical (e.g., headache, muscle aches), physiological changes (e.g., increased blood pressure), or behavioral (e.g., smoking or withdrawal from work).
Paul is displaying a dimension of mood known as negative affectivity, which refers to the dispositional tendency to experience a variety of negative mood states. Individuals high in negative affectivity have been characterized as sensitive to minor frustrations and irritations and are more likely to experience negative emotions, such as anxiety, guilt, anger, rejection, sadness, and distress (Greenberg, 2010). This was not always the case with Paul. His memories of when his family first moved to Florida show how exciting his job responsibilities were at first. It now looks as though he experiences more negative emotions because he now views his life more negatively.
Paul sounds as though he is suffering from burnout. Burnout is a syndrome of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion coupled with feelings of low self-esteem or low self-efficacy (Greenberg, 2010). His low self-esteem shows that he does not place a high overall value on himself and his low self-efficacy shows that he does not believe in his ability to perform tasks successfully. According to Greenberg in his text, Managing Behavior in Organizations, the symptoms of burnout include physical exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and feelings of low personal accomplishment. As a result, his negative affectivity is heightening his stressors and that further induces is negative mood, heightened strain, burnout, and poor job performance.
The next constraint to his job performance is the leadership style and characteristics of his superior. His superior sounds as though he does not exhibit interpersonal skills. The case study states that he would call Paul into his office and ask of him what the problem was but he wouldn’t really want to listen. It also states that his superior read weakness into any personal problems so the workers were to keep their personal life separate from their work life. The case study also portrays that the type of rewards or punishment that his superior offers is negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is the process by which people learn to perform acts leading to the avoidance of undesirable actions and avoidance of undesirable consequences, including punishment (Greenberg, 2010).
There are several recommendations to be offered to solve the problems displayed by this case study. The organization should offer programs to help alleviate stressors, strain, negative affectivity, and burnout. These could include employee assistance programs, stress management programs, or wellness programs. The leadership should recognize these factors that are affecting Paul and encourage him to attend these types of programs to promote psychological and physical wellness.
Employees with high self-esteem are more productive (Greenberg, 2010). Paul’s superior should make his workers feel uniquely valuable. He should
make his workers feel competent. He needs to recognize the good things that the workers do and praise them accordingly. He should make his workers feel secure. He needs to clearly define expectations and be straight forward with them.
One of the most important characteristic of leaders should be interpersonal skills. Paul’s superior should learn and display emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to recognize and regulate his/her own emotions as well as the emotions of others (Greenberg, 2010). Emotions play an important part in job performance. Paul’s superior should get messages across without getting workers worried and distressed. Distraught workers will lose the capacity to pay attention and become distracted from work, just as Paul did.
Finally, Paul’s superior should offer positive reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is the process by which people learn to perform acts leading to pleasant and desirable outcomes (Greenberg, 2010). Paul’s superior should offer praise and appreciation when Paul does his job well instead of offering criticism and using disrespectful techniques to punish him. Then, Paul would do his job just because he is interested in it and really wants to get something accomplished rather than out of fear.
Greenberg, J. (2010) Managing Behavior in Organizations. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.