Psychology of Work essay
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Power, in the philosophical perspective, is a measure of person’s control over other entities. Power can be seen as evil or just. The exercise of power has been seen to represent humans as social beings. In the corporate context, power can be expressed upwards or downwards. Leadership entails influence, whereby this influence is power. Power means different aspects to different people. Many see power as a corrupt entity that is used to exploit the minorities. For many others, the more power one has, the more success they bear. However, there are those who disregard power and say that power is nothing at all. John French and Bertram Raven identified five phases of power in the early 1960s. They came up with these bases of power through a study they conducted on leadership roles. Their study findings showed how different forms of power affected leaders’ ability and their success in the various positions they held.
Types of Power
The five broader categories of power can be subdivided into two categories: formal power and personal power. There are three phases of formal power: coercive power, legitimate power and reward power. Coercive power conveyed the fear of losing a job, demotion among other negative feedbacks of leadership. This power is derived from threatening minors and forcing them to achieve the goals set for them. Failure to this, replacement is prompt. Reward power is conveyed through rewarding others for complying with the wishes of the leader. This is usually done through bonuses, promotion and extra off from work. Legitimate power, on the other hand, is derived from having a powerful position in an organization such as being the leader of another leadership team. This power comes when other employees recognize the authority of the individual. Examples of people who hold legitimate power are CEOs of various companies (Greiner 56).
The other category of power is personal power. It manifests itself in two phases: expert power and referent power. Expert power comes from a person’s experiences, knowledge and skills. When a person gains sufficient knowledge in a particular area, he or she becomes acquainted in the area. Leadership in such an area becomes very easy for them. It makes the leader gather expert power, when others develop trust in their deeds and, thus, they utilize the knowledge to achieve organizational goals more effectively. For example, a project manager is usually informed in the type of project he or she is involved in, thus, challenging problems are solved easily and everything stays on track. Referent power comes from trust and respect. Leaders who are trusted and respected are said to possess referent power. A person or leader can gain referent power when others in the organization respect and trust him or her. This may happen from the way a leader handles various situations. Studies have shown that most respect is accorded to those individuals who possess one or both forms of personal power.
The Four-day Workweek
Human beings have always been seen to be very efficient creatures. A four-day workweek makes them very efficient because they have minimal time to do what they have to. However, many people have the habit of letting their work fill their time. Many people have carried the college habit of completing term papers an hour before the deadline. This has been transferred to the workplace. When workers are about to go for holiday, the amount of work doubles or even triples due to the pressure of completing in time. The time constraint exerts pressure on them so that they can complete the work before leaving for a holiday. Otherwise, the poolside cocktails would never taste as sweet as they are intended. Therefore, they sacrifice their time for the future. A four-day workweek does not mean the work is reduced to fit the four days. It is possible to reduce the number of days but still have the work done. It only takes concentration, zero tolerance to distractions and dedication. The four-day workweek has been seen to affect people negatively. Many have suffered from conditions that call for the medical attention (Braccio 13).
Having a four-day workweek can be very advantageous to the environment. This means one day is less spent commuting and the consumption of energy in the office. Greenhouse gas emissions are lowered in the process. Because of the lessening of the days of travel to the workplace, the company and the employees save money. Other costs include those of security at school for school going children. Maintenance costs on the operational activities are reduced and the ultimate result is the reduction of lowering of utility bills.
Studies have revealed that the four-day workweek maximizes productivity because of the pressure exerted on the employees. An extra day at work can be very harmful to employees due to the lessening of their morale. This means a better life with family and friends, which balances the quality of life. This improves workers’ attitude towards work because they do not suffer much fatigue in the process. This reduces the amount of absenteeism that boosts productivity and benefits the whole company or organization.
The four-day workweek offers services to customers in a satisfactory manner. Businesses are likely to be opened earlier than usual because the enterprises have four days of transaction. This ensures all employees are present at their places of work and services are done very quickly and efficiently. Customers may even miss work to access business services such as banking. Therefore, extended working hours during the four days are important in ensuring everyone is served satisfactorily. This also reduces irresponsibility in the workplace by the workers.
A four-day workweek means that working hours are extended by up to even ten hours a day in order to satisfactorily compensate for the lost hours during the long break. This may influence the workers’ safety because most of them will leave the workplace very late and their security might be compromised. Depending on the type of industry, workers may suffer fatigue and may lead to work-related accidents. This is vey risky for heavy machine operators than normal office workers.
The four-day workweek poses another challenge of risking the confidence to the customer sales. One day out of the five normal working and business days can cause distrust to many customers. This depends upon the nature of the industry. Customers may relent that they are unable to access the services they are used to in a particular day. Competitor businesses may take advantage and begin operating on the day that has been lessened by many other companies offering the same service.
A four-day workweek can subject employees to strain. This may greatly affect those employees who have children. Organizing care for the ten-hour day may cost a lot and among may also be very difficult. This also means that workers leave their houses very early. It may be impossible for those who have young and breastfeeding infants. This routine change can create stress to the employees together with their families, which in turn affects the morale of the workforce and may create challenges of punctuality.
Protecting Workers from Violence
Throughout world history, female workers have been subjected to sexual harassment among other forms of harassment. This is often done by their bosses who do it with an intention of gaining pleasure out the oppression. Other workers have been subjected to security risks among other forms of discrimination. However, the expectation in the workplace is that employers are expected to protect the workers from all kinds of abuse and violence. Organizations should take responsibility in ensuring the safety of the workers, regardless of the perpetrators. Therefore, the employers in various organizations should be ready to attend to claims of sexual harassment from coworkers and clients. Forward thinking organizations will always create conditions that are not ideal to sexual harassment. The dangers would be identified and eliminated immediately. By protecting the wellbeing of the employees, a company or organization protects itself (Doherty 64).
However, pre-employment screening is one of the key steps that help in maintaining the safety of the workplace environment. Employees should be screened so that in case of any infections, they are treated in good time. Another step is creating the best security plan for the workers. The amount of security depends on the nature of the organization. Employees and employers should learn the various ways of identifying risk factors that are likely to result in violence. Prompt medical evaluation is among the factors that lead to a healthy work environment. Prevention in itself might not lead to a total reduction of violence in the workplace. A safe environment is a beneficiary for both the employee and the employer. Ultimately, education can help to enlighten the staff on the various ways of conflict resolution. Policies and procedures may assist in maintaining peace in the workplace since every individual is engaged in some kind of work at all times.