Managing People, Relationships and Performance:
A Discussion on Managing Conflict and Emotions in the Workplace
Increasingly there is economic interdependency among nations. A global communications network, like a gigantic central nervous system, links every nation of the earth. As ideas, information, and technology are exchanged, cultures merge and adapt to one another. Throughout the world, people dress more alike than ever before. Cities of the world share much in common—police, luxury hotels, traffic, stores, banks, pollution. Thus, as the peoples of the world come together, we witness what some describe as an emerging world culture. Nevertheless, while peoples and cultures intermingle, clearly not all see one another as brothers. “Everyone’s quick to blame the alien,” wrote a Greek playwright over 2,000 years ago. Sadly, the same is true today. The evidence is no farther away than newspaper reports of bigotry, hatred of foreigners, “ethnic cleansing,” racial strife, religious riots, massacre of civilians, killing fields, rape camps, torture, or genocide. Of course, most of us can do little or nothing to change the course of ethnic conflicts. We may not even be directly affected by them. For many of us, however, problems come from a lack of communication with the foreigners with whom we come into contact—neighbors, workmates, or schoolmates.
Does it not seem odd that people of differing ethnic groups so often find it difficult to trust and appreciate one another? After all, ours is a planet of enormous diversity, endless variety. Most of us appreciate the rich variety of food, music, and color as well as the many kinds of plants, birds, and animals. Somehow, appreciation of variety does not always carry over to people who do not think and act in the same way that we do. Instead of looking at the positive aspects of diversity among peoples, many tend to focus on the differences and make them a point of contention.
The certainties of dealing with diverse people in the workforce are around ninety-nine percent. Considering that we are living in a culturally diverse society, it could be argued that a diverse workforce is indeed a challenge to many business managers today. However, at first, this fact may seem a big problem, on the other hand, if the managers are able to see the common ground of everyone else, which is being human, the said managers would recognize the possibility of making diversity a source of further progress for the company. Mixing up the talents and the abilities of the employees for the goal of the organization would surely help the company reach its peak potential.
It has been mentioned earlier that there are at least three major factors that contribute to employee satisfaction. These three factors are disciplines that help enhance the capability of the employees to perform well along with the capability of the company to provide the employees with major things that they need. The said disciplines include architecture, psychology and business. Each discipline contributes a certain factor in the satisfaction of the employees with their jobs as well as with their companies. Large companies, especially multinational organizations consider their employees as the main source of strength of the organization. By being so, their needs are addressed to be among the clear focus of the company to be provided. However, because of some circumstantial occurrences, the needs of the employees are at times disregarded because of the fact that the company focuses on serving the clients well to be able to generate high rates of profit for the organization. This is the main reason why in this study, the employees’ demands in terms of working environment and their psychological reaction to the actual job that they are doing. The idea that this study wants to share is that “keeping good employees means keeping good job”. People who have been with an organization for a long time are already treated as major assets of the company. The fact that they are already directly acquainted with the company or organization, the efforts that they have placed forward for the sake of the company’s success determines their loyalty towards the organization. Hence, to be able to have further understanding on the matter, this research would use actual interviews and research processes to be able to acquire the needed informations for this particular study. Along with the said processes, the researcher opted to use some diagrams and table presentations to be able to clarify several issues within the study.
Background of the Study
Keeping good employees is one of the primary goals of any business organization today. It could be observed that one of the basic requirements for a company to exist on the business industry is to have loyal employees who are willing to serve the organization at the best efforts that they could. Consequently, keeping such type of employees is not that easy. The following questions shall give an overview of the guidelines that would be utilized by the researcher for the completion of this paper.
The said questions are as follows:
· What are the actual needs of the employees for satisfaction?
· What are the factors that contribute to their better performance at work?
· How do architecture, business and psychological practices apply together in the situation of the employees’ work habits?
· For further improvement, what do employees actually suggest on the matter for them to be able to perform well at work?
· What are the major elements of work that drives a certain employee to decide on remaining within a certain organization?
These five questions are to be addressed within the context of this study. Through the said queries, the author of this research shall have a basic guideline for the processes needed to complete this study.
Significance of the Study
It is very important that both the old-timers in the business industry as well as the new comers learn of their large responsibility in giving their employees the best treatment that they deserve from the organization. Giving importance to the employees means giving importance to the organization itself. The employees themselves determine the overall reputation of the company in the business industry.
Hence, through this study, the audience or readers at that are expected to come from the business sectors, which include small and large-scale organizations that aim to get the best out of their employees through satisfying them with the job that they are working on in the company.
Mainly, through this study, they will learn of the key factors that would naturally contribute to the increased performance-level of their people force. This way, they are not only giving favor to their employees but they are also giving favor to the clients in terms of good service and favor to the organization itself in terms of profitable sources of income.
Certainly, living in a world that is governed with diversity, it could be expected that in the workplace, diversity itself is also present and thus cannot be avoided. Many workers refer to this hardship as the common source of many conflicts within the working area. Hence, the performance of the employees is then directly affected. Impossible as it may have seemed, diversity within the workplace has still been referred to by many modern business enthusiasts such as John Riddle in his book “Business Management”. How could this be possible? Before knowing the preferred solution of experts towards the said problem, it is important to take notice of what is really meant by being diverse, and how does it really affect the entire performance of the workforce.
What is Diversity?
Diversity, when referred to in business terms may mean a lot of things. An organization’s workforce may be referred to as diverse for many reasons as well. Diversity may occur because of the differences of opinion because of the differences in personality, in age, in educational attainment, in status in life and even in culture. Mostly, as observed on different business companies, the main reason of such diversity is the existence of a much distinct group of races making up a single workforce for a company.
How could all these happen? As mentioned in the introduction, many people have already transferred from place to place and a lot of those people, the so-called immigrants, have already decided to stay and work on the foreign lands they have gone to. Hence, the main effect of this social move on achieving success on other places, the employment of the multicultural population has been the resort to supporting the lives of the said immigrants. Hence, the workforce of every company making up the business industries are at times having the same worries on how to face the challenge of dealing with and managing people who are widely different from each other.
Getting along with Diversity
As mentioned earlier, management of a diverse workforce has been one of the biggest problems that concern the human resources department of any type of company present in the business industries. Hence, it is just reasonable to say that at some points, some management teams may find it a difficult task as well. However, the author, John riddle says otherwise. According to him, “these are all factors of management that should be considered by good managers even before entering an organization” (113). Hence, this definitely means that avoiding diversity in the workforce may be impossible but giving a resolution to it is not that impossible. After all, there is still a common ground among the working force of each company no matter how diverse they may be it is that they are humans, which makes them capable of being dealt with and managed well.
In this regard, John Riddle has suggested several points of consideration when dealing with such business problems. In general terms, he summarized the ways by which a good manager could handle the difficulties of dealing with a diverse workforce.
The said suggestions are as follows:
· Concentrate on the strengths of the employees. When a manager discovers the tasks where the employees usually excel in, they should be assigned to them as they are expected to be more productive on those fields of the job.
· Understand the abilities and the potential of each employee present in the organization. These potential assets of the employees could as well be used by the company itself in aiming for the goals that it has set up for the future.
· Allow communication lines t be open at all times. It is very important for managers to be good listeners. The ability of hearing what the employees want form the company as well as to how they could be of bigger help to the organization could be used as a resource of ideas for the company as well.
· Make the employees feel that they too have a sense of authority in the company. However, this type of authority should not overstep that of the administration’s. It should be clear that this authority could only be exercised at specific times and places when it is permitted. This may often refer to an ‘open door’ policy that deals with an easier type of agreement between the employees, which could give them a chance to affect how the organization is being managed. They are then allowed to give suggestions; however, no suggestions are implemented unless approved by the administration.
· Make sure that all employees understand the business goals and objectives. It should always be remembered that a well-informed employee, whether young or old, is a productive employee.
· A manager should always remember that he is supervising people with feelings who are valuable members of the organization, hence, treating them with great respect at all times no matter what culture they come from is one of the most important virtue any manager could post as an example for his colleagues.
· Treating everyone fairly and sensitively is the key to creating a fine working environment. It should be remembered that because of the different clutters of the people, they all have different preferences; they have different personal obligations and other more. Considering the fact that dealing with multicultural workforce also involve dealing with their differences of belief, a manager could as well consider fairness at all times to be able to set a common ground for everyone else in the organization.
· Keep everyone else busy and going all the time. Feeling one’s worth is usually measured on the things they are able to do for the organization in a day. In this manner, it could be said that regardless of one’s difference from the others, being able to do something for the company and being of worth to the organization makes an employee feel that even though there are differences, he still belongs to the organization he is working for.
· Keep employees informed of the ins and outs of the organization. Keeping employees in the dark when some changes within the organization arise may give them the notion that they are not given importance by the administration of the company.
· Acknowledge the employees’ efforts, years of work, talent, creativity and good job attributes. Doing so would help everyone else strive for the best while they are working in the company.
It could be noticed that the suggestions listed in here are general. Putting these
suggestions into good use have mostly caused several companies to achieve unity beyond diversity in their own much diverse workforces. Hence, as Jones commented in his book “Contemporary Management”, “diversity is a normal part of modern management. Being globally distinct, it could not be avoided that dealing with different people everyday is a challenge to the modern managers today” (180).
The researcher, as mentioned earlier is going to utilize both research work and actual interview in completing this study. Hence, in this section, the interview process is presented. The interview process is mainly an online-based interview among workers of different companies. They are interviewed through chat by the researcher. The researcher to invite respondents on the matter has created the chat room for the said issue. There were at least 15 people who responded to the request. The chat room’s header was entitled “work satisfaction”.
Among the 15 people who responded, only eight were actually considered by the author to be a part of the interview process, which results are to be presented herein. This is because of the fact that they have the closest age limit ranging from 28-33 years of age and they have the most common situation. They are all working from 91m to 5pm in an office setting. The others are working from home while the others are working on filed. Since one aspect of the study herein concentrates on the architectural designs of the offices and how this factor affects the performance of the employees, the researcher then decided to take the opinion of the first eight employees mentioned earlier.
Although the researcher has prepared a set of questions that were supposed to serve as guidelines during the interview, some side issues were able to rise during the conversation and some of the said conversational sidetracks have also been used by the researcher as they are observed to relevant to the issue as well.
The interview session lasted for about 40 minutes. There were at least 15 questions, which were passed and were responded upon and approximately 5 side topics of which three that were chosen to merge within the study that has been talked about. Through the opinionated comments of the employees, the author was able to derive essential informations that actually contribute to the effectiveness of this particular study.
The informations suspended by this type of conversational interview are considered by the researcher as valid and accurate data. Because of the fact that they are opinionated and are gathered from actual office workers, the researcher sees the informations given by the interviewees to be reliable enough to be believed into. Within the presentation in the following chapter, the balanced view of the employees regarding the matter is indeed eminent in their responds to the interview questions that were asked of them
To ensure that the companies that the employees say they work for are valid, the researcher asked them of the name and the location of their offices. Through this, the researcher is assured that the interviewees are real workers and are not making up the stories or the opinions that they suspend during the interview.
Aside form this, for the sake of privacy and protection of opinions, the researcher agreed to hide the identity of the interviewees as well as the companies that they work for. Their identity and their company’s do not actually affect the validity of the study, so this matter was agreed upon even before the interview commenced.
Control of Method
The application of the methodologies was indeed controlled by the researcher. Both the internal and external influences to the research has been weighed well and was used by the author of this study for the benefit of the clarification of the issue being tackled.
Time and finances were also managed well to be able to meet the qualitative standards of this research. The methodology chosen by the researcher herein appears to be the most practical and most reliable source of information considering the time and the situation of the researcher as it is. The utilization of the innovative design of communication technology has helped a lot in the proceedings of this study.
Results and Presentations
In this chapter, the collected opinions from the employees shall be presented. To leave a better clarified information among the readers, this chapter shall be divided into three parts namely: A) Psychological Aspects;B) Architectural Aspects; C) Business Aspects. The three divisions would be under the topic “Major needs of Employees”. Basing from the experiences of the interviewees, the presentations that are to be found in this chapter shall be made validated, hence, making the informations reliable enough for the different company’s basis of system improvement regarding their human resources’ satisfaction provision.
Major Needs of Employees
Among the questions passed by the researcher to the interviewees are inquiries about their current situation at the offices that they work at. The psychological, the professional [business] and the architectural aspects has been carried through the given interview questions.
A) Psychological Aspects
In this section, the interviewees mainly pointed out that working in the offices from 9am to 5pm gives them stressing situations that at times, even though they are already at home, relaxation does not come easily. As a result, lack of sleep and rest because of the anxieties brought about by the other day is carried on through the next day of work. The presentation that follows is a diagram of psychological factors that the interviewees believe to have a great impact on their performance at work.
Diagram 1: Psychological Factors that Affect the Work Performances of Organizational Companies
In this diagram, it clearly shows that there are three major psychological factors that affect the performance of the employees. Along with these are the three major pressures that bring hard-to-deal-with stress to the workers. The major psychological factors and pressures shall be discussed within the paragraphs that follow.
The psychological factors:
These factors are usually noted to be among the elements that contribute to the disturbance of the employee from concentrating on the job that he or she is appointed to finish.
The said factors are as follows:
· Noise and Clutter
Normally, if the employees are stuffed in a one-level office whereas the tables are situated at a close distance to each other, clutter and noise is most likely to occur. Hence, as a result, some employees who are not used to working in noisy areas loose their concentration on their tasks. Satisfaction of the employees on this aspect falls down.
· Gossip at work
As mentioned earlier, if the tables are situated to be close to each other, there is much temptation to talk to each other during work hours. The gossip then again disturbs the focus of the employee with the job that they are commissioned to complete.
· Misbehaved officemates
Gossiping itself is already misbehavior on the part of some employees, however, because of the closeness of the chairs and the designated location of the office workers, it is not impossible for some trouble to occur especially when rush hour or “stress-hours” occur.
Aside from the existing psychological factors that cause the employees to loose their focus on the job are the three major pressures that cause stress on the part of the employees. The said three element of stress are as follows:
· Too Strict policies
Usually, these policies are designed by the administration. They are further implemented to secure the performance level of the employees. However, at some point, some business organizations imply too much strict policies that the employees feel tied to much on the rules and regulations of the organization. The feeling of being watched all the time makes the employee feel uneasy resulting to poor performance.
· Company Pressures
This may include deadlines, and standardized requirements form the final output of the finished tasks of the employees. Once the standards are set at a very high level, at times, the employees loose track on how possible it would be to achieve those standards. The pressures they get at some point drives them to having deep-rooted stress that makes it harder for them to perform well in their duties.
· Personal pressures
Each employee has a personal standard, which he or she follows as a basis of personal excellence. When this is not met because of the impending disturbances, the employee tends to get discouraged in his own work and would later on lack the capability or the encouragement to do better in his job.
The pressures listed herein, if observed closely pertain to normal occasions that govern a certain employment requirement. These pressures, if take positively could be a good source of encouragement for the employees to perform well. However, to realize each pressure’s positive side, the administration should propose a way by which to help their employees thrive with the said pressures.
B) Architectural Aspects
The architectural aspects pertain to the arrangement of the office were the employees work in. It could be noticed that the psychological factors mentioned above could still be regulated or best, eliminated within the work areas of the employees through the application of effective architectural design.
In this section, two major architectural floor plans shall be presented as based from the recommendations of the employees that were interviewed through the Internet.
Since the interviewees claim that there are at least 20-25 people working in their office area everyday, walking to and fro the aisles of tables and chairs that are not separated by anything, the designs herein shall support the need of the employees of privacy and relaxation at work.
Diagram 2: Floor Plan 
In this floor plan, it could be noticed that the employees are situated in a position that their backs are turned against each other and their chairs are separated by personal cubicles. Each cubicle is provided with a personal cabinet where they could place their things and a computer set which is situated below the table whereas the table itself is glass where the monitor of the computer could be seen through. Each space for the employees is given a sense of privacy. The four corners of the area are the General office cabinets where the files of the company are to be kept to avoid clutter in the work area. The center table or the counter table serves as the meeting area during lunch or business meetings. The said area could only be used before, and after the work hours.
In this specific floor plan, it could be noticed that concentration on the job is given a high regard. The disturbances are eliminated through the systematic location where the employees are placed for the completion of their tasks. Since they are separated by cubicles, the work practices could be expected to be free from any gossip or other disturbing movements form other workers in the office. It could also be suggested that to help the workers relax while doing their tasks, playing soothing music, that has no lyrics could accompany the hectic schedule of the workers. It has been observed among may workers that those who are able to work with a soothing music as their background are kept clam and thus are able to perform better at work.
Employees’ Personal Cubicles
Diagram 3: Floor Plan 
In this floor plan, it could be noticed that the office is separated into two floors to allow mobility in the office. The stairs separating the two floors would allow the group of employees separately situated in the different floors of the office gives each group a sense of privacy. As it could be observed, this floor plan is quite identical with the other, only that the filing cabinets are set aside along the walls, and the administrator’s table is also situated between the two floors to allow minimal supervision of the employees.
Through the floor plans presented, it could be observed that the architectural design of the offices directly affects the performance of the employees. If the chairs and the work areas are situated systematically, the enhancement of employee performance could be expected. The policing processes would also be much easier if the administrators are situated in a systematic arrangement in the office. The allowance given to supervision operations would help regulate the situation of the offices as well as the performance applications of the employees. The presence of the administrators usually encourages the employees to focus on their jobs at the allotted time for the job completion.
C. Business Aspects
Once the psychological needs and the architectural arrangements of the office are merged, the occurrence of fine business transactions happens alongside. The effective merging of the first two factors discussed in this chapter obviously contributes to the effectiveness of the performance of the employees in business-based measurements. In the diagram that follows, the chain reaction shall be presented:
Diagram 4: Business Aspect Cycle of Effects
In this diagram, the chain reaction of the effective usage of the practices of psychology, architecture and business in merging them together is shown. The effectiveness of the merging of the three principles in business indeed gives better result on the company administration-employees interaction.
Through the results presented herein, it could be noted that the needs of the employees and satisfying the said demands are affected by several factors. Through the preservations shown, it could then be observed that the effective merging of the three major practices namely architecture, psychology and principles of business has a great impact on the performance of the employees.
From this presentation, it could be derived that employees does not only get satisfied with the payment that they receive form the company in exchange of the efforts that they put forward for the organization. Their satisfaction is also sourced out from the quality of their work environment and the psychological needs in them that are provided by the company.
Relaxation along with work is one of the outstanding suggestion in this section. To some companies, music may not be that applicable. However, for offices that mainly deals with massive paper works, the soothing sound of instrumental music could contribute to the calmness of the work environment.
This study mainly points out the importance of effective management. Taking care of the company’s human resources is the main responsibility of the management team. Not known to many, it could also be a part of the managers’ duties to govern the office arrangement of the work area.
Through their ability to identify the needs of the company as they are merged with the needs of the employees, they could contribute so much on the effective, and performance centered arrangement of the offices.
In doing so, there are some specific needs as presented by Maslow that should be considered. These are as follows:
According to Maslow, this hierarchy of needs are necessary factors that employers must address every time the issue on employee satisfaction is being discussed. It is the responsibility of every administration that the said needs of individuals are duly provided to their employees. By doing so, the company administration ensures their company of an excellent service from their employees resulting to better reputation of the organization as presented to the society.
When thinking of the architectural set up of the office area, the managers should see to it that the above needs of the individuals are provided well. An article regarding architectural design and psychology suggests an arrangement scheme this way:
Colors have notable psychological effects and can be used to good advantage. “From our work,” notes color expert Faber Bitten, “we have found that people react quite differently in a colorful environment than in a drab one, although they themselves may not be conscious of it.” (Awake, 1997, 13)
The natural condition for the human being is to live in a constantly changing environment—of light, color, forms. There is no such thing as a monotonous environment in nature. Today we know that children’s intelligence actually degenerates in a monotonous environment.” What, then, are the effects of basic colors?
Among the “warm” colors are red and orange. These are lively and tend to excite emotions and stimulate certain bodily functions. According to the book The Art of Color and Design, red light “accelerates the pulse and raises blood pressure.” Persons who prefer red are often impulsive and energetic, with strong personalities and a craving for action and success. Properly used, red and orange can be stimulating, but overuse produces tension.
Another warm color is yellow. Bright, clear yellow reminds one of the sun and is cheerful, gay and lively. On the other hand, the darker yellows and greenish yellows are not popular. In the minds of many they suggest things such as sickness, cowardice, envy and treachery. But when properly related to other colors, these yellows contribute to a delightful overall effect. The “cool” colors, including violets, blues and greens, are tranquil and serene. They have a calming effect upon people. In contrast to the results of red light upon humans, blue light has been found to retard the pulse rate and lower blood pressure. Light blue is soothing, suggesting blue skies and the waters of rivers and lakes. Light green is another restful color, reminding one of the outdoors. If your needs are in the direction of a calm, tension-free life, these may be your color preference. As to choosing wall colors, Florence Byerly advises: “When choosing a wall color, get the largest paint samples available. Tape several on a wall near your draperies. Look at them by both daylight and lamplight. Remember that a color is influenced by its surroundings. A subtle, dull sample will show in its true color when placed beside white paper.”
Color is among the special blessings that mankind enjoys because of God’s gift of light. “Color is one of the natural delights of this world,” remarks Faber Birren. “It is the rule of nature, not the exception, and much of the good life depends on it.” (Awake! 1997, 12) Hence, from this, relaxation could be possibly applied at work while the work hour is running. Through the wise arrangement of the company’s environmental presentation, the stimuli of the employees that suggests that they work well in their jobs is encouraged well. Yes, it is through the effective use of the principles of Psychology, architecture and business that the success of an office-based organization could be identified.
This study clearly showed the importance of knowing how several elements of different practices in the society could contribute to a certain goal. In this regard, it has been discovered that the principles applied in architecture, psychology and business itself could be applied in a single goal of keeping good employees to remain loyal in certain organization. It is through careful application of the principles to meet the embedded goals of a certain organization that the said procedure of merging works. In this study, the evidence to the effectiveness of the said procedural approach has been proven through the interview process. It has been through the performance of this procedure that the importance of the merging process of the principles of Architecture, Psychology and Business have been presented well. Through the presentation of the diagrams the insights of the practices within the process of keeping good employees have been established hence, making this research an applicable source of knowledge for business entrepreneurs who are aiming to build up the loyalty of their employees to their organization.
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