Friday, March 9, 2012

Job Satisfaction and Teamwork

Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. (Ecclesiastes 5:18 NAS)

Job SatisfactionOne of the most well-known theories on motivation relating to productivity in the work environment is the ‘Hawthorne Studies’ by Harvard Business School professor Elton Mayo, founder of the human relations movement. In these studies, Mayo, together with two of his researchers, conducted a series of experiments over several years (from 1927 to 1932), and found that employees’ work performance is dependent on both social relations and job scope.

Mayo began his experiments by first examining the physical and environmental influences of the workplace, such as lightings, illumination, and humidity, before looking into other aspects, such as duration of breaks, group pressure, working hours, and leadership. Results were measured by counting the number of finished relays each worker dropped down a chute, and throughout the experiments, a supervisor was assigned to observe and discuss with the workers on changes required.

During the five years of study and research, different variables were introduced from time to time, and Mayo measured how these changes impacted the group's and individuals' productivity. His conclusion was work satisfaction and teamwork contributes a high cohesion in producing positive results when workers and supervisors develop a sense of participation working together.

Many centuries before the ‘Hawthorne Studies’ observations made by Elton Mayo, the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes wrote about the importance of job satisfaction and team spirit. He said he had observed what is good and fitting—to eat, drink and enjoy oneself in one's labor which he toils—for this is his reward (Ecclesiastes 5:18). He also said, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

Perhaps, to some of us, the thought of eating, drinking, and enjoying the fruit of our labor seem unfitting and wrong. Yet the Bible makes it very clear that to acquire wisdom is to love oneself or one’s own soul (Proverbs 19:8), and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, in which self-love is assumed and implicit (Matthew 22:39). Deriving satisfaction out of work is therefore not wrong, and as workers, we deserve our wages and reward (1 Timothy 5:18; Ecclesiastes 5:18).

Nevertheless, job satisfaction must never be procured solely for our own personal interests at the expense of others (Philippians 2:3-4). We should instead work as a team to achieve the common goal, just as the body of Christ is one with many members, and all the members function together as one body (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12).

If we are supervisors, managers or employers, therefore, let us not coerce those who work for us or under us, for the Bible says, "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing" (1 Timothy 5:18). Instead, we should give attention to our subordinates to listen to their feedback and develop a favorable environment for cooperation and participation working together. If necessary, experiment to find out what are the best ways to help them derive job satisfaction, yet without compromising corporate objectives, that in so doing, both the corporation and the workers may yield better returns.

Thank You dear Lord for rewarding us with guilt-free satisfaction derived from the fruit of our labor. Forgive us Lord for the times we fail to consider the interests of others. Help us to be good team players Lord, always looking out for ways to improve cooperation and participation working together. Direct us and move our hearts Lord that we may not at any time coerce to motivate, but show care and encouragement to guide one another towards achieving the common goal.

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