SOCIAL INTERACTIONS IN THE WORK PLACE
Can The Social Interactions In The Work Place Be Affected By External Factors?
Social Interactions are the behaviors that two or more people who are mutually exclusive are involved with. Social interactions include intentions and experiences that people express towards each other. Individuals who are mutually exclusive and interacting socially have to be people with knowledge of each other. Two people sitting in a bus traveling somewhere and have just met in the bus cannot be socially interactive. For people to be classified as socially interactive they have to be people who know each other and both of them know each other as mutually oriented. A social interaction does not have to be based on one on one; distance does not limit social interaction. Some social interactions may be structured like in the case of organizations. Social interactions could be classified into the following categories; direct or indirect; long term or short term; between groups or individuals among other classifications. (Donais, 1995).
In the working environment social interaction is mainly the way workers interact with each other, the way managers interact with workers and with each other. These interactions in many organizations are governed by the code of ethics, the mission and vision of the organization and the overall objectives. (Cummins, 1996)
In doing my survey I have chosen the participant observation method where I am required to join in the interaction myself. I have chosen this kind of method because I am currently working in a real estate firm and I see on a daily basis the forms of social interactions, how it helps our industry and the general factors that negatively affect social interaction.
In an organizational setting, managers are involved with many functions in the organization. These managerial functions are Controlling, Staffing, Planning, Directing and Organizing. With
these functions comes ethical responsibilities since the managers have to come up with clear expectations on how the employee should behave for the overall accountability, decision making and goal reaching in the organization. Consequently, organizations are impacted upon by laws and regulations of the area and country in which they are situated. Going against those laws leads to lawsuits and penalties. The linchpin to employee productivity according to a resent survey is social interaction and ethical behavior. These two aspects are built by the overall organizational culture. It is easy to draw a clear cut line on the effects that social interactions have on the overall productivity of a company. Socially interactive employees often lead to improved productivity of an organization. This is because they are zealous and passionate, they are connected to the company, and they have a self drive, are inventive and are eager to go the extra mile for the company. (Donais, 1995).
As much as it is easy to show the effects of engagement to overall productivity, employees that are engaged are not necessarily ethical. Having positive social interactions to the company and other staff members is not evidence of ethical activity and responsibility. Ethical behavior is driven by teamwork, involvement, rewards schemes, honesty, and clear line of goals, enthusiasm, and the influence created by the external factors. The external factors are those factors that relate to political environment such as the government in which the company is operating in, social environment which involves factors such as diversity, personal issues and harassment; economic factors such as recession, competition with other companies; and legal factors affecting the company.
In general managers deal with four main areas in an organization, this areas are employment, performance evaluation, restraint and termination of employment. These four areas influence the aspects of social interactions in an organization because they deal with sincerity, justice and individual decorum. Below are some of the external issues that affect the general aspects of social interaction in the organization and they are experienced by both managers an all the workers during their day to day operations;
Diversity – means being different and unique in aspects that encompass race, customs, masculinity and femininity, sexuality, age, socio-economic status, physical abilities and inabilities, religion and political beliefs. Diversity influences the overall social interactions because the manager ought to have the ability to look at these differences in a secure, optimistic, and cultivating environment; being able to endure, embrace and commemorate the
affluence in the diverse dimensions. If the manager does not have this attributes they will impact on the interactive capacity of the organization in general. (Cummins, 1996)
Job Based Harassment – The term harassment does not only mean sexual harassment. It is a broad term that encompasses all types of prejudice and behavior considered as irksome, intimidating and distractive. It could be in the form of language, actions, and menace and or negative remarks based on a person’s diversity. If an individual in an organization feels harassed they cannot perform effectively and it affects there social interaction with others. (Donais, 1995).
Family and Personal Issues – These in general, are issues that are personal and do not directly involve the organization but affects it because they influence an individual’s performance and the ability to interact with the others. They could be cases of drug addictions, personal illnesses, family conflicts and any other personal aspects that could affect someone’s individual work. These issues affect social interaction because the having personal matters cast an imbalance between individual achievement, social interaction, absenteeism and obligations to their private life and equality.
Technology – Technology has been consistently advancing. Just a decade or so ago the postal system and the fax machine were the fastest ways to get things done. In today’s environment we use emails and scans for the majority of written correspondences. In the days gone by, in-person conferences were a daily ritual but in our fast pace world of cell phones and conference call the slow means have been replaced and it is now possible for people across the United States to purchase, finance and close deals without ever leaving their homes. These aspects of technology affect the social interaction between individuals especially in industries that the change process is properly affected and people tend to be resistant and they start resenting each other and the organization. (Donais, 1995).
According to the above observations it is true that the external factors in the organization can affect the overall social interactions. This is because the external factors affect behavior in a big
way and this in turn affects the interactions of the individuals to it each other and to the organization in general. Therefore it should be in the effort of the managers to ensure that the organizational balance is maintained and the in the event that any changes are to occur they should prepare the staff prior to that date in order to reduce cases of resistance. The organization should also be involved with team building procedures that help in building togetherness in the organization and therefore the overall social interaction and social behavior.
Blaine Donais (1995), Workplaces That Work. Canada, Law book Publishers.
Cummins, J. (1996) Negotiating Identities: Education for empowerment in a Diverse Society.
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