Monday, June 3, 2013

The Influence of Organizational Socialization

Socialization in the work place is one of the most interesting concepts I have learned this term because it happens in the everyday workplace. When new people or coworkers meet, there is always a level of uncertainty. For me I had no idea there were so many forms of uncertainty. Lets first start with Referent uncertainty. Referent uncertainty is wondering what are my tasks. Now hopefully this step is avoided and you should know what you're doing before you even have an interview, but some jobs are more complicated and more guidance is needed. Another uncertainty is appraisal uncertainty. Appraisal uncertainty is gaging your ability to perform the required tasks. Again hopefully you decided this before you applied but some employees get way in over their head once they start a job. They get a job because they need it and realize that they suck at the job and it is not for them.

One of my favorite and most applicable uncertainties is relational uncertainty: How do I negotiate the various relationships with my new boss and coworkers. When starting out at a new workplace you always are unsure of the type of people you are going to be around and the type of workers they are. Every boss has a different personality and management style and every worker likes to be managed differently. Some work environments will work when others won't, even with similar companies due to difference in culture and personality. That's why big time jobs invite people in to talk and meet with current employees.

So how do we manage these uncertainties. I personally learned a lot from this and will use it when I become a new member of an organization. One way is by information seeking. We do this through overt questions, indirect questions (making it seem like you know how to do something but you want to "check" if you are doing it right), third parties, testing the limits (not my favorite personal method, as certain employees really mess things up this way), observing, and surveillance. Questioning and observation are the most used in my opinion. Observing a veteran employee is very beneficial, seems how they have been at the company a long while. Questions are obviously the most effective when allowed. Some bosses who say they love questions may get annoyed or really just don't care. You really have to get to know your boss, to feel them out in order to find what they like, and how comfortable they are going to be with helping you.

The cool thing is that even though you have uncertainties, the veteran employees do too. This allows you both to work through your uncertainties together and can hopefully help strengthen the bond.
It takes a long time to work through uncertainties. Some people get over them quicker and the working environment also makes a difference in how quick workers can adapt. When first on the job I would ask alot of questions and really get to know your management. Learning their style will help you gain their trust and could help you in future advancement. Dave Ledings lecture had a lot of these examples. His workers took awhile to become comfortable with his style because they were so used to a different style. Some people were weeded out and fired while others adapted and gained a friendship with Dave. His employees even played practical jokes on him cause they were comfortable with him and knew his tendencies.

Here is a little clip from the office when it comes to relational uncertainty. Through out most of seasons 1-6 everyone is fun and relaxed. But the introduction of Gabe lewis the Sabre representative has lowered the mood. Gabe is very uptight and doesn't like the practical jokes. This is where as a coworker you need to recognize this and leav an employee like this out of the jokes.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dave Leding, WAR Stories

I loved Dave's lecture. It wasn't even a lecture really. It was a compilation of stories and applicable experiences to what we have been studying for communication in organization. I like his balance of totalitarianism and letting the workers figure things out for themselves. Like Dave said at some point as the boss you have to be the one to make a decision for your workers rather than letting them have a say. But typically he let them figure things out for themselves. I can't remember where it is that he worked but he said it took 3 and a half years to get employees at the plant he was managing to actually get his employees to believe in the workers having a voice philosophy. Some people didn't like it but at the same time it made workers happier and more efficient. Didn't always provide more profit but it did provide satisfaction and they got paid for their skills rather than position.

I was impressed with Dave's knowledge of workplace relationships. He has a plethora of experience and I think that made it much easier to convey relevant communication topics . Lean Manufacturing was kind of eye opening. I know we have heard team approach but to hear about it first hand and actually see the results was exciting.

Dave had a very vibrant personality and I love that. He enjoyed public speaking and I would love to have his confidence when speaking to groups. Over all his confidence was extremely high and it helped him gain approval with his employees. His employees felt comfortable enough with him to play practical jokes which really enhanced the atmosphere and allowed for a great team working environment.      

I learned that you need to have a balance between letting your employees make decisions, and when to step in and be the boss. When it comes to safety, as a boss you need to be straight forward and strict. Safety should never be taken lightly.

I found the lean manufacturing quite interesting and so here is an example of lean manufacturing in a Kentucky plant.                                     

Monday, May 20, 2013

Supervisors vs. Subordinates and Workplace Relationships

The first component of Supervisor vs. subordinate that I would like to go over is semantic information distance. All this is saying is that there is a gap in understanding between the boss and the subordinate in job duties or knowledge. I among many have run into this problem. For my situation it was a problem with how little the boss knew about the job and that I was much more knowledgeable about the position. My manager was very new to the field and had no prior experience involving fundraising and communication over the phone. It was a little frustrating trying to get him up to speed and allow him to be the boss at the same time. Occasionally he would try and take on too much, and would then tell subordinates things that weren't correct. After bridging that gap it was easier to focus on my own tasks knowing he was more affluent in the system and able to fully help the other subordinates.

Communication. communication, communication. Communication is extremely important for both sup-sub interaction and work place relationships. in sup-sub interaction you need to be able to communicate and listen while receiving feedback and using that feedback. Same goes for work place relationships. Coworkers need help occasionally and also give help. Sometimes there are projects in which myself and another coworker were teaming up on. This project had a timeline and he was the one who started it. He didn't let me know what he had accomplished or where he had saved it. Due to his lack of communication the project was late and the boss was not happy. Effective and timely communication helps everything go smoothly and keeps everyone on the same page. This in a way provides satisfaction as a team member and can help social bonds as well.

One of my biggest pet peeves pertains to office gossip. Right now I work with a supervisor team of 4 girls and then myself. I'm not saying guys gossip less, but in this case that is true. On a daily basis one of the girls comes up to me and complains about another one. Its frustrating and really makes for an awkward atmosphere at work. Repeatedly they bicker and fight and then complain without working it out themselves. After a couple weeks we had to have a supervisor meeting just to get out some of the tension and work things out. The gossip really took a toll on some of the girls and it was something that needed to be stopped. Here is an example from the office of workplace gossip and how it can effect people. The gossip can get skewed and it can be hurtful and plain stupid.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Socialization and uncertainty in the work place.

For me jobs have been portrayed in many different ways. On TV you have the typical desk jobs that work long hours, and those people typically have low satisfaction and no advancement. My parents always talk about working hard and giving 110%. Not only working one job, but maybe two, or even three! If you aren't busy then you are lazy. So growing up I have had many different points of view. So what is work really like for a college student?

College students typically work in very classical type jobs that can high turnover due to a high labor pool. Some though don't follow the classical approach and require skill. Sometimes it can be a skill that you are unsure of, or even an atmosphere that takes getting used to, or that you really are not sure about.

I joined the OSU Telefund back in August of 2010. I became a student caller. When I first walked in I saw about 20 people and several calling stations like what telemarketers use. I was a little spooked the first time I saw this. I thought to my self. "is this really something I want to do for 10-12 hours a week?" So I went through training and began calling asking alumni and trying to raise funds for the school. when I was going through training I had some referent uncertainty. I wasn't really sure what i would be doing and how I would be calling. As I began calling I realized that it was a very hard job. Not a lot of people like you calling them and asking for  money. It was very stressful. I started going through appraisal uncertainty. I wasn't sure if I was cut out for this. I'm mostly an extrovert and very friendly, but something about talking on the phone made me squeamish. But after a couple months on the job I really fell into my own. How did I overcome this uncertainty? I observed, third parties, and asked questions. I asked not only supervisors but fellow callers who had been here a little longer than I had. I observed them and listened to their calls to make myself better and pick up a few tips.

At my job I worked with several different people. I had fellow callers, 5 supervisors and a manager. All the supervisors were much different and the manager was fire cracker. She was very knowledgeable about the job and very personable, but not necessarily the best manager. Dealing with all these personalities gave me a little relational uncertainty. How I overcame some of this relational uncertainty was plain old conversation. I tried to connect with everyone and get to know how they worked and their experiences on the job. This gave me a feel for how they managed and what they liked to see out of me and the other callers. This helped with my job as well because the whole point of calling alumni is to build that connection with a friendly conversation and asking for money at the end.

After about 7 months of calling I became a supervisor. I have been a supervisor for over two years now. Being here for a long time, I have seen lots of turnover and a few new fellow supervisors. As new supervisors come in you I have a bit of newcomer appraisal uncertainty and even transformational uncertainty. Some of the supervisors you aren't sure of their skills and what they can bring to the table. I swear I can show some of them how to do something and they can never remember. I even have them do it while I watch so I know they can do it. For transformational uncertainty I always wonder how this will effect my tasks and whether I will still get first priority for scheduling and what not. It all works out in the end and it all takes time.

What I have here is a link of what I think is an example of relational uncertainty. Its a scene in dodgeball where they meet there new coach. He throws wrnches at them and you can tell no one knows how to act or think of him.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Role of Empowerment

For this blog post I interviewed the Senior Director of Annual Giving at the OSU Foundation, Lacie LaRue. Lacie has been my boss and mentor for the last three years. Through her and my other managers I have learned the art of philanthropy and personal relationships. I have learned how to manage student employees. Lacie pointed out that managing students vs. Adult staff is much different and the role of empowerment changes as well.

I work in the telefund. Lacie did as well for about 8 years before moving up to where she is now. Students at this job get empowered in many ways. We have incentives and friendly fun atmosphere that help create a sense of empowerment. The callers can see how much money they raised and feel accomplished knowing they helped attain part of that total and directly see the benefit of their work. In the professional setting it is much different. Every employee needs to be managed and treated differently based off learning style and personality. As a manager Lacie feels very empowered. She knows her thoughts and ideas are taken into account. She wants the same for here subordinates. Each employee has the ability to approach here and give their opinion. She believes in the hierarchical order but at the same time knows everyone in the professional setting has a level of expertise and need to be motivated as well.

Students are much more replaceable and so motivating is easier. They get excited over small incentives. Adults have different priorities like family and empowerment goes hand in hand with managing that aspect of the job and still being sufficient. Everyone here at the foundation hasa say and all information is shared. Its like a giant brainstorming session, some ideas work and otehres don't.
Many managers have a problem with controller, whether its how to use it or whether its actually obtaining it. Being higher up in the Foundation Lacie has alot more control and power than the average employee. But she also wants to keep everyone empowered and keeping that relationship between conrtol and power becomes very adaptable. Every person has a different job as well and so the idea of empowerment is so important and something taht you have to constantly be learning and adapting for.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What Culture Can do for You!

For my fiance and I, a weekly froyo trip is a must. To be honest before I started dating her I was much more into the real deal and got ice cream. I realized it was time for me to live a healthier life style and so since I still loved ice cream I figured froyo was the best way to go. Over the weekend we went to the very popular Yogurt Extreme ( Now especially here on campus the one on Monroe is very inhabited by college students. If you want a quick easy snack or lunch to meet a friend, Yogurt extreme is the place to go. When you walk in you are plastered with pink. The pink is everywhere. Pink walls, pink spoons, pink bowls, and the workers either wear pink shirts or black shirts with pink in them. Pink is a bright happy color and to me sets the mood of a happy and fun place while it can also be relaxing. Another cool artifact that is impossible to miss is the happy customers on the TV. There are two TVs with a slide show of past customers. Every customer is smiling and clearly living it up at yogurt extreme.

I love the culture their because they are laid back and very friendly. I saw another blog by one of our classmates Michael Beckstead about Jimmy John's ( .

I know Jimmy John's and Yogurt extreme are much different I do believe they have the same positive culture.  Every employee seems genuinely excited to see you and tries to have a rapport with you. They are always willing to talk about their favorite ice cream and toppings and ask us what we like as well. Its an inviting atmosphere. I assume that most of these employees were hired for their peppiness and overall charismatic attitude. You can also get this sense of culture from their motto of "Selling happiness by the ounce!" I love this place and I will always be a repeat visitor.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Zappos! Satisfaction Indeed

Satisfaction, satisfaction, and oh yeah satisfaction. This word is what the company Zappos uses as a gauge for there employees and something to strive for. Zappos likes to consider and see themselves as a "family. " Zappos likes to focus on their ten commandments. The focus is to get through the good times and the bad, kind of like a family.  Here everyone has access to the same files as the executives and everyone is encouraged to present new ideas, and according to CEO Tony Hsieh, most of the ideas come from the bottom up.  If everyone is considered equal and they all hang out together then it creates a bond unlike any other work experience. Hsieh encourages his managers to take his team out to dinner. This allows for close relationships and makes the work environment feel more like home.

Deal and Kennedy talk about successful companies and what they believe is needed: a strong unified culture.  Yes there are many backgrounds and also many cultures within the Zappos family, but they are all working for the same philosophy. That philosophy is to work hard while having fun and being weird. All the employees are given free reign to try new ideas for the company and also when applying themselves to customer service. One customer asked the employee to only speak in third person. This adds satisfaction to the employee and the prospect, which in return gives a positive outlook on the company.

Zappos likes to follow the New science approach to communication in organizations. The New Science theory looks at companies and organizations that are finding new and innovative ways to run an organization. This idea keys in on issues like  participation in organizational processes (having a say in the company), working on personal relationships, and having equal access to information and sharing that with everyone. My teacher in my Population and Environment class is using the SOLE (self organized learning environment) approach. This is a more interactive and actively involved approach with the hope that we enhance our creativity rather than being limited to facts and memorization. I feel the SOLE learning approach and the culture of Zappos can integrate to create a welcoming learning environment that promotes creativity and efficiency.