Week 3: Discussion Narratives
1. Livingston (2003). Pygmalion in Management.
The concept of
Pygmalion present in management and the workplace fascinating. What a manager expects of his or her
subordinates will directly shape the effectiveness of work they receive. The way they treat their subordinates, and
what to expect from them, will either mirror a high or low level of
performance. Livingston (2003)
indicates that “a unique characteristic of a superior manager is the ability to
create high-performance expectations that subordinates fulfill”. The opposite can be said for less effective
managers, in that they will set the bar low, and subsequently receive inept
productivity levels with little outcome to show.
similarities between myself and the experiment that was conducted in a summer
Head-start program for 60 preschoolers.
In this program, teachers were divided into two groups: (1) taught a
group of children led to expect a slow learning process, and (2) teachers led
to believe their children were excellent, fast-paced learners. Just as you would expect, the first group
learned at a slower pace, and the second group exceeded their learning
expectations. Was the first group not
being pushed to reach their limits? Think outside the box? Lack of persistence
in studying and mastering the content?
a young child in elementary school, I was diagnosed with, among other learning
disabilities, dyslexia. Once this
information was passed on to my teachers, I immediately fell behind the rest of
my peers. I always struggled with
certain things, such as reading, but I felt that after I was diagnosed, and the
teachers were aware, there was less focus on me because there was a “reason”
behind why I wasn’t picking up the content as fast as everyone around me. Eventually, the teachers and other administrators
suggested to my parents that I repeat the grade I was in. Not only did my parents follow suit, but they
moved me from a public school to a private school. I was NOT happy about this move; I felt
dumbed down and different from everyone else.
This turned out to be the BEST move for me because, in a private school,
the teachers were working with fewer students and could focus much more
attention on my needs.
school teachers had low expectations for me, in a way, damaged my ego and made
me feel inadequate. There was a constant pattern of failure, and my lack of
productivity was evident. This article
states that if you strive for goals that are too high, you will eventually
settle for what one see’s as “attainable”.
The private school teachers did not settle for results lower than what
they knew I was capable of. For this, I
am forever grateful because I ended up skipping one grade year, which put me
back on my original educational path.
2. Thomas (2000). Intrinsic Motivation and How
extrinsic motivation are always present in our lives. What matters the most is how often we tap
into these silent incentives.
Personally, I go back and forth with my day to day motions in my office
environment. Some days, I’m on top of
the world tackling every single problem with much ease. Other days, it’s a struggle to overcome what
is generally seen as a simple task.
After reading this article, I realize now that the effort (or lack of)
that I’m putting forth is mirrored in my level of intrinsic motivation.
people, extrinsic motivations are really the big picture of their job. For someone who is unhappy, or just there to
do the daily motions and meet the quota, all they focus on are the tangible
perks, such as a raise, rewards or additional benefits. However, I think the difference between efforts
put forth in a job is much different from the effort put forth in a career. When you’re building a career in the
industry in which you have a deep connection with, or you truly enjoy working in,
tasks are just considered “work”. They
are much more meaningful to you, and the level of commitment is much higher to
Of the four
important lessons mentioned in this article, I align myself best with the first
lesson: Today’s work is about self-management
– directing your activities toward a meaningful purpose. In my current position, I create projects for
myself. One project in particular
includes a follow up system. For example
in the oil and gas industry, when an owner passes away, their heir(s) or
devisee(s) are entitled to their royalty interest. Upon notification of the death of the owner,
I set up a file and request the appropriate documentation to change title. I set the file aside for 90 days. If I do not hear anything from the family
representative, I follow up and resend all the documentation again, kindly
marking the paper work with a “second notice” stamp. This is not in my job description, it is
something I created myself for a couple of reasons: (1) it helps me to stay
involved with each account, and become familiar with what I should be
expecting, (2) I have a deep connection with these families on a basic level of
human need, as they have just lost a loved one, and I would want someone to
have the same understanding for me if I were in their position, (3) I can
successfully start and finish something with no loose ends. After I resend the second notice paperwork, I
set the file aside for another 90 days.
If nothing has come through, I simply note the account as inactive, and
I electronically file the paperwork until I hear from them in the future.
As noted by
Thomas (2000), “people are asked to take responsibility for a wider range of
tasks and are given more autonomy to choose the activities that will accomplish
the purposes of those tasks”. This
statement aligns with my thoughts of working on a task, start to finish. If I never follow up with these people, I
personally feel like the task was not completed. If I go out my way to make an attempt to
contact them and obtain the appropriate paperwork, I can complete the task by
making an ownership change. I do not
receive any incentives for doing this every 90 days, it’s simply my intrinsic
3. Ordonez, et al. (2009) Goals Gone
Wild: The Systematic Side Effects.
As an inducted
member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, I have attended
several live speaker broadcasts of top presenters from around the world. A couple of years ago, one of our speakers
was Janice Bryant Howroyd, a well-known entrepreneur, founder, and CEO of a
Workforce Solutions Company. Her speech
consisted of personal, inspiring stores that led her to create the largest
privately held, woman-owned company in the United States. I was so motivated by her speech, but what impacted
me the most was a piece of advice she gave to the group: “Goals without timelines are just wishes.”
I related this
statement to the assigned article, as Ordonez, et al (2009) states “there is a
positive, linear relationship between goal difficulty and task
performance.” If a goal is set with no
timeline, or plausible path to attempt to reach, how is one supposed to make it
to the finish line? The time line should
be structured, so as to not apply the wrong course of action, or encounter
unethical behavior. The article states
that goals should be challenging enough that there is an effort to reach it,
but not so challenging that one gives up, or does not even try. I suppose my question is: How do you know
when a goal is too challenging? At what
point do you say, “This is too hard, I’ll never be able to reach that goal” and
you dial back the goal? Is that giving
up? Can you actually achieve the goal;
will just take more time, persistence, effort and commitment?
interesting aspect of this article is the understanding the difference between
a positive goal and one that can be detrimental to an organization. For example, the article references Enron as
implementing “systematic and predicable ways in which goal setting harms
organizations” (Ordonez, et al, 2009).
As a way to move ahead, Enron focused on revenue, rather than
profit. When I read this, I honestly did
not see the difference in focusing on one over the other. After dissecting this statement, it’s clear
that Enron was creating goals based on all the money that was coming in
(revenue), rather than considering the payout expenses and costs of goods
sold. Rewarding executives based goals
relating to revenue sale was damaging to the business as a whole. Such reinforcement of these narrow goals led
to unethical behavior, and one of the biggest and demoralized scandals this
world has ever witnessed.
4. Wrzesniewski, et al. (2010). Turn the Job
You Have into the Job You Want.
this article, I immediately relate the feeling of a stagnant job to the
sunk-cost trap. The article states that
a stationary presence is often fueled by “tension between day-to-day demands”
and what one really wants to be doing (Wrzesniewski, et al. 2010). When falling into the hidden trap of
“sunk-cost”, individuals often avoid making changes to their future because
they feel too far invested in their current role.
article, Fatima seems to be experiencing this sunken feeling. In the article, she states to a friend, “I’m
stuck. Every week, I feel less motivated. I’m beginning to wonder why I wanted
this position in the first place”. This
lack of motivation aligns with a previous assigned, “Thomas (2000). Intrinsic
Motivation and How it Works”. When
feeling a lack of motivation in your job, it’s important to practice intrinsic
motivation activities to put a spark back into your work, or a “pep in your
step”, if you will. This article
provides exercises that do just that when it comes to the core aspects of work:
tasks, relationships, and perceptions.
Putting each unit under a microscope and altering the way you approach
each responsibility could possibly set you on a path of enjoyable success.
Of the three
aspects, I’d like to focus on relationships.
Wrzesniewski, et al (2010) notes that changing “the nature or extent of
your interactions with other people” could blossom prosperous relationships
with your colleagues and the company itself.
The example used in the article is mentoring relationships with young
associates. However, when do you know it
is time to cut off a relationship with a coworker? Could negative relationships affect your job just
as much as positive ones? I believe
so. I think some relationships can drag
you into a certain area of office politics that you do not want to get tangled
in, as it could be a detriment to your position with the company. It could also
cause great distractions between you and your projects. Organizing the building blocks of your current
role with a company could be helpful in deciphering where your energy is being
spent and create a fresh, positive outlook for the future.
Groysberg, & Lee (2008). Employee Motivation: A Powerful New Model
workplace indicators that measure motivation mentioned in this article,
engagement, satisfaction, commitment, and intention to quit, are important to
comprehend because they are the drive to reaching ultimate fulfillment in your
workplace. What I find very interesting
are the four drivers used to reach the level of motivation one is seeking: the drive to acquire, the drive to bond, the
drive to comprehend, and the drive to defend.
Personally, I relate most to the
drive to comprehend and the drive to defend, especially in the work place.
I often find
myself motivated to learn different areas of my industry, oil and gas. The exploration and production aspects of
drilling for oil is fascinating, and the industry as a whole motivates me to
learn more, even if it is not related to my specific job title/role! Because I have mastered what I do in my
current position, I feel like a robot at work. As Nohria, et al (2008) state in
the article, I feel “demoralized by monotonous work”. I think my supervisor may have picked up on
this because I recently was pulled aside and blatantly told that there is
nowhere else for me to go in my department; there is nothing challenging that
comes in anymore, and no room for growth.
For this reason, coupled with my persistence to move work towards a
higher level of education, he offered me a part-time role in a different
department. Was this because he can
recognize that I’m hungry for knowledge?
That I’m interested in different areas that run a business? That I have a drive to fulfill my days with
something other than what could be considered “data entry” type work? I don’t know what is was, but I am forever
grateful that he picked me out of the group to learn a few things in a
With that being
said, I often struggle with the drive to defend myself and my work. I get very frustrated when I learn something
new, but I do not pick it up as quickly as I wanted to. I am very tough on myself, and I battle with
myself on the basic response of fight or flight. I often say “This is so hard! I can’t do it!
I quit!” It takes someone close to me,
someone I trust, to talk me down out of my anger and give the push, or drive if
you will, to work through the conflict between myself and the activity. I’m still trying to learn what I can do to
get myself to the response of fight before I immediately turn to flight. After reading this article, I do wish that my
company had some sort of mentoring figure that could help guide us into the
direction of these thoughts, and not be so hesitant to change.