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Impact of a Human Service Worker

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Submitted By kmbsfreeman
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The Impact of Job Characteristics on Social and Human Service Workers

Reva I. Allen/Eric G. Lambert/Sudershan Pasupuleti/Terry Cluse-Tolar/Lois A. Ventura, Department of Social Work, University of Toledo

1
In many career fields, there is a tendency to try to find the right person for the job instead of trying to make the job right for the person. Koeske and Kirk (1995) wrote, “Social work administrators presume that there are certain characteristics of human service workers that predispose some of the workers to thrive in a particular job while workers with other characteristics are more likely to dislike the job or do poorly” (p. 15). Additionally, some administrators of social and human service agencies appear to be more concerned with the impact of workers on their agency than the impact of the organization on workers. “Blaming the employee” focuses the attention away from the real causes (Arches 1991).

It is true that social and human service workers can and do have meaningful effects on their employing organizations. It is, however, naive to assume that employees are not affected by the organization. It is reasonable to assume that many employees who have negative or positive impacts on the employing organization do so because of how they were treated at work. The work environment has real and lasting effects on most employees.

It is generally theorized that the work environment influences employees mainly through their attitudinal states, and these attitudinal states in turn shape staff’s intentions and behaviors. Two of the most important employee factors are job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Job satisfaction is generally viewed as the degree to which a person likes his or her job and is frequently studied across a wide array of disciplines (Spector 1996; Cranny/ Smith/ Stone 1992), including social and human service

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