Posted by: healingtheworkplace | May 28, 2009

Dignity AND Respect In The Workplace

Hello again,

Before I get started I would like to thank my friend Alpha for being my Muse this week. In a recent email Alpha asked me what people are looking for…what key words are they using to find my blog? She suggested the following:

  • inspiration
  • hope
  • restoring meaning
  • inner peace
  • growth

These words are quite different in fact from the key words that usually bring people to my blog. We’ll come back to this in a minute.

At the same time that Alpha and I were emailing back and forth I was searching the www for something else and I came across a reference to DIGNITY in the workplace.

Used in this context the word DIGNITY intrigued me so I decided to dig a bit deeper.

As is the way of the web my search took me first to Ohio State University where Sociology Professor Randy Hodson has done research on Dignity at Work.

Dr. Hodson’s motivation in doing this research was to “look at the deeper meaning of work in our lives”.  One of the key findings of this research will probably not surprise you:

“…mismanagement may be the biggest threat to working with dignity. The thing that undermines dignity more than anything is incompetence and mismanagement.”

In my rambling I also found another university that is supporting research into DIGNITY at work. This research is being conducted at the Strathclyde University Business School and the researcher’s name is Sharon C. Bolton.

Dr. Bolton is suggesting that we need to consider the bigger picture. In fact she argues that,

“work quality must be put into the Dignity at Work agenda and suggests an holistic framework that incorporates pressing workplace concerns, including work life balance, pay and conditions, learning and development.”

Now, getting back to my earlier emails with Alpha and her question about key words.

The typical key words that people are using for find HEALING THE WORKPLACE are bullying, harsssment, abuse, and stress…words that lead me to believe that people are hurting in the workplace.

On the work and society website Dr. Bolton has put into words something that I have been thinking for some time:

“Dignity at work has become dominated by the issue of bullying and harassment and that although these are important issues and must be addressed…they draw attention away from a much broader set of issues.”

What do you think? Let’s continue this discussion next week!

Cheers, Lesley


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