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Organized Behavior

In: Business and Management

Submitted By Tchristi
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A. This case is about a demeaning and hostile work environment in which several female/male employees verbally abused a co-worker. This work environment takes place in a busy rehabilitation hospital in which the abused co-worker is the assistant of the rehabilitation hospital and the abusers are the Physical Therapists of the hospital. The subject of the attacks included being assigned demeaning tasks and being talked down to. This demeaning and hostile environment was initially created by direct face to face interactions, personal written notes and the manager of the rehabilitation hospital. After nearly 4 years of abuse the co-worker resigned from the position and the abusive co-workers remained at the job despite various reports sent to the manager about the abuse.
B. The assistant of the rehabilitation hospital was in charge of the day to day flow/duties of patient care within the hospital. The day to day flow/ duties consisted of tasks such as: preparing wheelchairs for patients (pts.), putting equipment away, organizing recreational activities for pts., filing various documents on pts. and assisting pts. with various dressing routines in preparation for therapy. Initially, during the first year of being on the job, the assistant was well received by the therapists and commended on several occasions for her willingness to help anyone with anything and for doing an exceptional job at completing her day to day duties. Then a big turnover happened within the hospital in which all the therapists from the assistant’s first year were replaced by all newly graduated therapists. This major turnover also brought about a change within the “thought process” of management. Several of the newly graduates never worked in a hospital setting and began to fall behind with scheduling and accurately treating patients. The manager called a meeting in which she directly informed the physical therapist that the assistant was there to provide additional help as needed. Before the meeting the assistant provided the new therapist with a massive amount of assistance and accommodations to help with the new transition to the hospital setting. This was all done while the assistant maintained her originally assigned duties.

After the meeting, the therapist began to create various ways to enlist the help of the assistant. The assistant started to take on tasks that the therapists didn’t want to do but was considered to be the duties of the therapist. For example, the assistant was giving the task of cleaning pts. that soiled (urine, feces and or other bodily fluids) themselves during therapy, making coffee runs for therapists, and performing therapy with pts. in the place of the therapist. The assistant viewed these tasks as being demeaning due to the fact that the tasks assigned by the therapist were tasks that the therapist didn’t want to do. Another issue in the case was that the therapist began to be verbal abuse to the assistant by yelling and talking down to her. On several occasions the verbal abuse initiated after several therapists began upset after the assistant was available to assist them at a given time.

C. After several months, the assistant and other workers reported these incidents to the manager on several times, citing that there were acts of abuse present. The manager insured everyone that reported the incident that a formal investigation would be initiated, but none of the therapists involved were reprimanded. The assistant became disgruntled about there being no action brought against the reported abuse. She maintained her solid work qualities but was unhappy and lack motivation at times. The lack of motivation and unhappiness was too much at times for the assistant, causing her to call out sick from work several times. Eventually the assistant focused more on starting career and resigned from her position at the hospital.
D. This situation affected the assistant and the rehabilitation hospital. According to Colquitt, Lepine and Wesson (2011), “the personal aggression such as harassment and abuse are counterproductive behaviors, which negatively affect as organization’s ability to meet goals” (Ch. 2 pg. 44). Even through the assistant maintained her same work qualities; she still was unhappy and less motivated. These emotions led to the assistant intentionally calling out of work which hindered the hospital from achieving its daily goals at times. The Hospital was affected by the lost of a good employee that once excelled at her position.
E. The verbal abuse created by the therapists created a loss of organizational commitment and withdrawal behavior (absenteeism) from the assistant. “Organizational commitment is defined as the desire on the part of an employee to remain a member of the organization” (Colquitt, el al., p. 69, 2011). The assistant was less motivated and eventually resigned from her position at the hospital. “Absenteeism occurs when an employee miss an entire day of work” (Colquitt, el al., p. 82, 2011). On various occasions, the assistant called out of work to avoid the verbal abuse by her co-workers.
This case can be used to examine the workplace relationship between and a professional and there assistant. The case shows the various ways of how to not treat a co-worker/an assistant. All co-workers should treat each other with respect and dignity regardless of their job position.
F. Further research into withdrawal behavior (physical) it was likely that the assistant would eventually quit the job. According the Colquitt, Levine and Wesson (2011) “the most serious form of physical withdrawal behavior is quitting” (ch. 3 pg. 82.). I think that this case presents a scenario of verbal abuse that occurs knowingly and unknowingly in some of today’s organizations. Also I think that the presented case would benefit from further research on how to prevent and resolve harassment within an organization.

Colquitt, J., Lepine, J., and Wesson, M. (2011). Organizational Behavior: Improving Performance and Commitment in the Workplace. McGraw-Hill. NY, NY. pg. 34-132.

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