All organizations engage to some degree in finding solutions to organizational problems relating to productivity, employee relations, job satisfaction, and morale. Large or small companies all have the issue to contend with of whether employee behavior is productive or counterproductive. How to continue to motivate employees to their utmost productive capacity is the key to company success. This paper will look at some of the dynamics of employee behavior and the implications of such action whether productive or counterproductive.
The Good and the Bad
Productive employee behavior is beyond a doubt the good outcome of a successful employee employer relationship. The exact degree of what constitutes employee productiveness has a few variables depending on the organization. Productive behavior is an employees behavior that contributes positively to the goals and objectives of the organization and counterproductive behavior is defined as behavior that explicitly runs counter to the goals of an organization. Productive behavior is viewed in financial terms, as the point at which the organization begins to achieve some return on the investment it has made in the new employee. Job performance represents behaviors employees engage in during work that contribute to organizational goals (Jex & Britt, 2008).
An important aspect of this definition is that job performance represents behaviors that are usually evaluated by the organization as part of the employee’s responsibilities and duties. The employee does not work in a vacuum and usually will be part of a team effort. More organizations are making use of teams for projects and even as a basis for organizational structure. Given this greater use of teams, it is not surprising that much recent organizational research has focused on team effectiveness (Jex & Britt, 2008).
An employee’s attitude, productivity and effectiveness are all part of overall job performance evaluations. Another area of behavior closely scrutinized are behaviors that are not part of employees formal job descriptions (e.g., helping a coworker who has been absent; being courteous to others), or behaviors for which employees are not formally rewarded. Even though such behaviors are not formally mandated by organizations, in the aggregate they do indeed enhance the effectiveness of groups and organizations (Jex & Britt,2008).
Rewarding productive behavior is essential if businesses expect to keep employees motivated and satisfied. Studies have indicated a more widening believe that certain indicators can predict behavior. One study took a more behavioral approach, and investigates if besides how one performs (e.g. job performance) what one performs also serves as an indicator of promotion potential.
Specifically, the relationship between employees challenging job experiences and supervisors evaluations of employees promotion potential over and above employees current job performance (Depater, Van Vianen, Bechtoldt & Klehe, 2009).
Being innovative has to be one of the motivating factors companies should consider to help keep employees behavior in the productive vein. The most commonly studied counterproductive behaviors have been ineffective job performance, absenteeism, turnover, accidents, and the more serious would include theft, violence, substance use, and sexual harassment (Jex & Britt, 2008).
A final thought about being innovative and having different approaches to motivating and evaluating employees is a simple one. None of the positive productive behavioral aspects most wanted by employers is possible without employees being able to follow instructions. In group situations, following directions increases the quality of what a group can accomplish. People in authority can more easily work with and better manage the activities of individuals and groups who follow directions (sje.wednet, n.d.).
Jex, S., M., (2008). Organizational Psychology: A scientist-practitioner approach. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.
Depater, I., E., Van Vianen, A., E., M., Bechtoldt, M., N., Klehe, V., C., Personnel Psychology, summer
2009, Vol. 62 Issue 2, p.297-325.
Positive and Productive Behavior, (n.d.) Retrieved on October 19, 2009 from www.sje.wednet.edu.